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

Updated on December 16, 2017
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 a 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.
  • There are people you are legally permitted to discuss your case with, and others you cannot. Ask clarifying questions if the company tells you to keep your matter confidential.
  • 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.

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.

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.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 days 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 4 days 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?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 days 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 6 days 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 days 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 8 days 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 days ago from USA

      Heartbroken C - Anyone can anonymously report an issue.

    • profile image

      Heartbroken C 10 days 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

      Sharon - You spoke your mind.

    • profile image

      Sharon Suppa 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 weeks 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 3 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 weeks 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 5 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 weeks 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 5 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

      anonymous54321 - I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      anonymous54321 6 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks 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 6 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks 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 7 weeks 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 2 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 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 3 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 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 4 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 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 4 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 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 5 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 image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      mia - Can you give more context?

    • profile image

      mia 5 months ago

      want to know what to do when your HR manager brings up to your face about a passed EEOC complaint. and then also bring it up to someone else.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      All Smilles - A lot of that depends of how recent your termination is and what your company's complaint process is. Nothing prevents you from writing a letter to the executives of the company protesting your termination or calling their 1-800 complaint line if they have one.

      You may also choose the following tactics: http://hubpages.com/finding-job/12-Action-Steps-to... By filing for state unemployment, that will trigger a brief review process of your termination (reasons they state v. what you state). If your statement significantly varies from the company, there may be a hearing before an administrative law judge on whether to award you unemployment benefits. Note that any complaint letter you write can potentially compromise this process, as you're bound to statements you make so watch out.

    • profile image

      AllSmilles 5 months ago

      Do I have the right to file a complaint to HR after being terminated I the state of Texas or should I file a greveinice letter instead?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      "Unanimous" - I have a number of other articles that describe how to complain.

    • profile image

      Unanimous 6 months ago

      HR is for the company how do i get justice from these situations and we are an employee owned company now

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      Anonymous456987 - First, don’t throw yourself into the pool. Your family and many others would surely miss you, and neither they nor you deserve that tragic end. If you truly feel you’re in immediate danger, do not wait. Get yourself to an emergency room right now.

      Second, not all HR investigations result in the mess that you have to deal with. I am sorry this is your experience. I indeed have seen this in Fortune 500 companies as well as in government. It’s not right and does not feel fair, but right now you must decide how you will respond. Will you allow this to suck your soul out? (Because if that’s the answer, then these people win.) Or instead, will you somehow gather every fiber in your being and come back better, stronger, and flourish anyway in spite of them?

      Third, the fact that you have a severance agreement likely limits you in a number of ways, so re-read it. Regardless, your prior employer and its employees should NOT be disparaging your reputation when called for a reference. Most companies decline to provide any information to those checking references other than confirming an ex-employee’s dates of employment, job title, and other brief factual information. To disparage an ex-employee and prevent a former employee from securing gainful employment potentially sets them up for a possible defamation suit. Of course, much depends on the facts of your circumstances and your state law.

      Figure out where you’re going from here. It won’t be with your old employer so stop applying for jobs with them. You can do this. Regroup and come back stronger.

    • profile image

      Anonymous456987 7 months ago

      I would recommend to never file an HR complaint. I was pushed to "stand up for myself" by my spouse. I was passed over for a "friend" of my supervisor, despite a couple of dozen years more experience. This is a Fortune 500 company. I was/am a great worker accounting for a very high percentage of the unit's accomplishments. They met at an alumni event (young and older) as I found out. Complaint dismissed. At team happy hours, colleagues would scatter from my table (I was always considered a great person to work on projects with). New employee was plastered all over department updates, literally at least 15, while I was on one. The person was in training learning most basic software skills for half a year. I have a disability that causes pain and was given things impossible to do at home. Intense deadline pressure meant I had to come in to the office on the weekend and lie on the floor like an animal (no heat/ac). One day I was waiting at the elevator and heard loud giggling. The door opened and there they were. I got a new boss interposed between my and former supervisor. He gave me my first ever negative review (retaliation?). I complained again (big mistake) and was the only person laid-off (at exit interview he and HR said 10 people were being laid-off), despite my disability. I had a great interview right before my layoff and I followed up the day of my layoff, the new manager replied: "I am on vacation today, but I will follow-up with you as soon as I get back." I received an email a week later saying "we have decided to pursue other candidates." I talked to a lawyer who said I have no evidence and no case. After a couple of months, I applied back to company and had a great interview. It appeared job was made for me only. Recruiter said they just want to check reference with last supervisor. I was crestfallen and my spouse said call him. I did and he was angry and said: "No, I am going to have to tell them things about your performance." I'm on severance and I went in for medication today due to disability. My insurance has been terminated as of this morning. My spouse is out of work right now and I have 3 children and 2 of spouses family and another couple of months' severance. I'm not expecting to hear back from my perfect job. I was incredibly naive in retrospect. I'm going back to pharmacy now to pay full price, whatever that may be. The pain is picking up. Just giving you my experience. This all did and really is happening. I'm thinking of jumping in my pool (I am very fortunate to have one, at least for the balance of this month), probably would, except for my kids. Hope this helps someone contemplating a complaint. I have a strong sense of fairness and right vs. wrong, which was apparently my downfall.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      L. Johnson - I'm not an attorney so I cannot advise you, however based on my HR experience I can say that from the information you present, it seems to be a one-off situation. Moving forward, pay attention to how this worker "jokes" -- to whom, what about, etc. If you are offended, say so then and there and tell him to stop it.

    • profile image

      L. Johnson 7 months ago

      I overheard a coworker say something bad which I inferred the coworker said about me because of the context. This coworker "jokes" a lot, but this was a put down. After thinking it through, I opted to tell a higher up. The coworker denied even saying it , then told the higher up that I was sexually coming on to him. My higher up stated that this coworker is weird and has a sick sense of humor. Please advise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      Laurie Davis - I'm sorry that happened. I typically do not recommend exit interviews: https://hubpages.com/business/Why-You-Should-Say-N...

      If the staff members filed complaints and they were fired as a result, they might consider filing retaliation complaints with the company's executives or compliance department if the company has one. Each of them should do so and coordinate their efforts. Send the complaint certified mail. You didn't say how large the employer was; be aware that very small employers have leeway with employment law that larger employes, participarly federal contractors, do not. Additionally, the terminated employees should each file for unemployment and give the reason for their termination as "retaliation for filing a complaint of workplace misconduct." If there was a small group of them fired, they might also contact the local newspaper or a local advocacy group. Depending on the demographics of these workers, that might be a local chapter of the NAACP or Urban League, local women's groups, veterans groups, etc. The last thing an HR rep wants is a call from the local NAACP or other type of group about workers' terminations. They might also consider filing a complaint with the EEOC or state human rights board (provided the workplace is covered by such employment laws).

    • profile image

      LaurieDavis 7 months ago

      My daughter just left a job because of management was very unprofessional! Yelling and belittling staff in front of other staff ! She was left out of key meetings and left to fail at her job ! Other staff went to HR and nothing was done ! She did an exit interview and basically told all ! She was told an investigation would be launched ! Instead many staff was fired ! They were told their positions were being limited . HR had no plans on helping the staff with their complaints! Instead they were fired for going to HR for their complaints. What can the staff do about HR not being there for them when the work place is a hostile investment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      wizard - It's a shame that you quit your job on a threat. It would be best if you could positively focus on finding another job and separate yourself mentally and emotionally from old contacts, especially those that push your buttons and blackmail you like this. If you share a child with him, keep the contact to just what is needed in order to care best for your child. Although the issue isn't fair, I'm betting his HR would deem it inappropriate that they investigate. I could be wrong, but I imagine they'd see it as not their jurisdiction. I'm sorry about that. Take care of yourself and don't go off your meds. Your health is too important.

    • profile image

      wizard 7 months ago

      An employee that worked in the medical field of one of the biggest medical hospital in our state and is my Xs boyfriendand text me and threat to write to my company because he knows that I can't drive a commercial vehicle bc of the prescription drugs that I am on. He even went to the police bc I was harassing him for entering my son life so early after my X left and we were still married. A detective called me and told me to stop texting him but he never reported me for being on prescription drugs that would prevent me from driving a commercial vehicle. However, I quite my job after 25 yrs bc I didn't want to be fired. now, I want to write to his company that he works for and tell them that bc he in the medical field and knew that the prescription drugs I was on are very strong and I should never been driving. I feel that bc he suppose to protect the public and he should have bc i even needed also to be on Xanax bc of the stress of the divorce. He should have done the right thing and reported me for the safety of the public. I would believe he told his coworkers that I have bipolar disorder 1 and was on medication that I would lose my job. So I think HR would investigate this and talk to his coworkers about knowing I was on prescription drugs or that I was bipolar disorder 1, which they would know I was on strong medication. I don't want to do this to him. However, i told my Xs if he going to report me that I will write to his company. She and him may never of thought about his wrong doing and I could possible get him fired. I'm wondering if I can report him for him knowing and instead of threatening me. He should of reported me? I really think he only threaten me bc of showing to my Xs how smart he is. But he never thought i would quite. I feel this could of back fired on him and he has many years to in the medical field as a helicopter pilot for emergency trauma. If anyone he should have know to repoted me bc he knows the severity i was putting the public in. I'm also wondering if I can go about this alone matter of writing or should I obtain a lawyer? thx u for responding to help ppl like me

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      broken - Why is this person targeting you? Can you think of any reason? Is she doing this to others, or has she in the past? Is there someone who can back up your claim that it's all made up? Do NOT back down. The one thing bullies hate is apathy. They love to get reactions from their targets (e.g., tears, anger, revenge). They hate when they get no attention from their target. It'll get worse before it gets better, but apathy does work. Sometimes people are simply jealous, mentally ill, or carrying around a lot of personal baggage. This is no excuse to treat others abusively. Name her behaviors and call her out in public but don't let her know that she is getting to you.

      If you have a solid record of achievement for 6 years and are a high performing employee with otherwise good relationships in the workplace, let your record speak for itself. Do not allow her to drag you down into the mud. Taping someone without their permission? Depending on the situation, that could be against the LAW. Your company may also have a policy against it if it was on company property. Check your policy manual and look up your state law on taping another person without their permission.

      I've personally worked with an Office Mean Girl who was in HR (!) and made it to the other side. I later investigated many cases of bullying in the workplace. You are not alone. https://toughnickel.com/business/Office-Mean-Girl-... Stay strong. Bullies do what they do because management allows it to happen. Remember that.

    • profile image

      broken 8 months ago

      What if someone is falsifying incidents. I work at this company for 6 years with no write ups no coaching etc. This new co-worker comes in and is basically sabotaging me. She has been reporting me to management about anything and everything. We basically have to walk on eggshells around her. She has in the past latch out on other employees. This co-worker had another person video tape me. I am scared that I am going to loose my job over all this, She stating that I am racist, stalking her. The list goes on. None of this is even true. I am on a LOA for stress reason. Sad part I thought she was my friend. Should I just walk away from the job?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      oscar - I don't understand what you are asking.

    • profile image

      oscar 8 months ago

      what if there was no investigation and no i never met one in regards to my complain .

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Jayne owens - Yes, anonymous complaints can result in discharge after an investigation substantiates allegations.

    • profile image

      Jayne owens 8 months ago

      Can I be fired because of an anonymous call

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Anna - Required? Not really. Employers can earnestly attempt to contact previous employees (two to three inquiries max). The more egregious the alleged wrongdoing, the more an investigator should carefully consider reaching out and documenting for the file these communication attempts. Ex-employees' willingness to cooperate, however, is their decision entirely unless there was some kind of exit agreement. If the ex-employee left with bad feelings, they typically ignore these calls from the company.

    • profile image

      Anna 9 months ago

      I was wondering if employers have an obligation to contact previous employees who were witnesses to the incident if no current employees were witnesses.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      MFlowers - I agree there's something funny going on. You were treated disrespectfully during the interview by the Exec Director, and I wonder whether their interview documentation and rationale for promotion is in compliance with the company's HR guidelines. You need a private conversation, not to one that is overheard by others. Email the HR rep who is requesting the meeting that you want to talk with them, but explain that it's important that you discuss the matter privately as you're in a cubicle environment where others can hear you. A professional HR rep will suggest one or more of a couple options: a face to face interview, go to an empty office or conference room, talk during off-hours, or discuss the matter on your cell phone. Be prepared to offer an explanation as to why you think they are behaving like this towards you (e.g., personal animosity which is not against the law, race, gender, religion, etc.). I'm sorry this happened to you.

    • profile image

      MFlowers 10 months ago

      About a month ago I interviewed for an internal position. I've been with the company for a little over three years. I met more than 90% of the qualifications and felt very confident that I would be a great fit. The interview was conducted by my current manager's boss who is the executive director and another team manager at another office location. The team manager was very professional throughout the interview process. She greeted me upon arrival, provided a copy of the job listing for review, informed me to wait in the lobby , they'd be with me in ten minutes. They both came out to escort me to the office we'd be using for the interview. The E.D. barely acknowledged me, to the extreme of the team manger taping her on the shoulder while pointing to me, I was then greeted with an"Oh, hi" as she started at her phone. Admittedly, this behavior through me off. My current manager had encouraged me to apply. I took it in stride as we don't always know what's on another's plate. We took an elevator up four floors, walked across an expansive office to our meeting room... E.D. looking down at her phone the whole way. The team manner begins the interview, while the E.D. guffawed at her phone. I was asked about my background, what I thought the position entailed and what I could bring to the table... E.D. phone in her face, half paying attention. TM and I spoke for newly twenty minutes, then silence, I asked several questions regarding the position, then silence. The TM was visibly uncomfortable. I asked if they had any more questions... crickets... I provided a professional list of references and waited. The E.D. thanks me and began asking interview questions. The interview was Friday, Monday evening, I receive a voicemail from the TM, thanking me for the interview, they felt I had some really strong ideas that would benefit or team, they had chosen a different candidate, hoped I would stay on board and work with my manager on implementing some those ideas. I emailed them both that evening thanking them in return, letting them know I was happy in my current role and would continue working hard to improve our processes for the success of the team. Thursday a coworker tells me that my current manager was all for me being promoted until said coworker submitted her resignation as my manager intended to promote my coworker to my position. My coworker felt strongly that my manager diminished my candidacy and kaboshed my interview. About a week later I met with my manager for my three months over dye annual performance review, a less than stellar review. When I questioned comments in the evaluation that were erroneous my manager either could not or would not respond. I requested documentation to back up the evaluation, none. I asked for revisions of statements after I provided proof contrary to statements made in the evaluation, none were made so I filed a formal response and subsequently resigned. My manager began reviewing work from more than threee months ago. Had issued new rules just for me, no one else on my team had received revised reporting rules. I began receiving back to back emails, all within minutes of each other about one task, I'd barely read the first email. I reported this behavior to HR . I received a calendar invite from HR for a phone interview, if accepted they'll call my desk phone. I'm in an open cubicle with my manager's office directly behind me?? Please advise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      spent - Often companies don't press noncompetes with low level employees in these situations. You might consider giving your reason for leaving as you filed a complaint with HR about being scared of your supervisor's inappropriate behavior, and it was summarily dismissed. Do this in writing when you turn in your notice. Keep a copy of your resignation letter obviously. Then file for unemployment. This could help you get unemployment while you look for another position.

    • profile image

      spent 10 months ago

      Thank you for that...I really needed to hear it today and thank you for all your advice. I have decided to hand in notice, and I hopefully have some other options as long as my non compete does not get in my way. If it does, I guess I take a year off somehow and do something else. I will try to be as strong as all of you have been :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      spent - Do not lose confidence in your abilities or let this situation impact your health or mental state. If you do, then your supervisor wins. Also know that job hopping is more common than you think these days and doesn't have quite the stigma it once did. Take what you've learned from this situation and start anew somewhere else. Don't allow one bad experience to destroy you. You're stronger than this. Many of us have had terrible bosses (or worked in terrible work groups) and we've made it out to the other side. You will too. I have confidence in you. HR is often the puppet or even enablers of management, although sometimes they are reasonable business people who counsel managers on their options and administer company policies within constraints of the law. HR should never be looked at as employee advocates, in my view. That is a lawyer or union's role. I wish you the best. Make it your mission to succeed regardless of this jerk and his flying monkeys. An internet hug to you, dear.

    • profile image

      spent 10 months ago

      Thank you very much for your advice. My contract states that if I want to leave before a certain period of time I will have to pay the expenses. As far as going up the ladder to complain, I am not sure it would help from the sounds of speaking to other people on my team. It seems that the company doesn't really care. I am now on PIP too, so I really wonder if they will take me seriously or think that I am complaining because I've been placed on PIP. When I expressed to HR that up until I was placed on PIP I had spoken to my manager often about my performance and been told I am fine, he simply said that my manger probably didn't have the feedback from other members that he needed. I feel HR was essentially making excuses for the manager. A similar thing happened to someone I know on a different team, with different HR reps in the same company, and when that person expressed concern too, it was dismissed. In that person's case, they were fired, so they had no expenses to incur, but I am afraid of sticking it out that long and then having to explain to another company why I was let go. Hopefully I can find a job elsewhere that will be better. As of right now, I have lost confidence in my abilities and my health and mental state are in the trashcan. This is only my second job after I finished my degree (I was at another place which was great for 3 years but it was contract based) and I don't want to seem like job hopper since I didn't stay long (the only reason I stuck it out this far). I am now afraid to trust another company, it seems such a risk. I do wonder if I have been naive in thinking that HR is there in part to help employees, when it seems more like they are there to serve the company.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      spent - They didn't do the right thing. You have the option of going higher in the company or to their corporate office. Are you sure you have to take on the expense? I'd fight it myself or quit immediately since safety is an issue, but that's just me. Best of luck in finding a better supervisor. Not all of them are jerks like this guy. Line your references up and tell them what happened with this job.

    • profile image

      spent 10 months ago

      Thank you very much for your reply. I did try speaking to HR, gave examples, told them specifically and said I could provide a witness. my HR rep told me that if I felt uncomfortable with my manager, I need to directly address it with him(manager) and confront him about it. He said that I should focus instead on improving my performance and deal with this issue later. He also said that he doubts my manger is being malicious. I'm thinking about just leaving and taking on the expense.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      spent - For now, let's skip the fact that they don't seem to be adequately training you. I'm primarily concerned for you because of your description of his behavior as "creepy" and because you say it makes you feel afraid to be alone with him. I would hate to see this escalate. This guy probably has some history with HR if he is as bad as you describe. Many harassers have had prior complaints that were unsubstantiated because they were walking a fine line as this guy likely does. However, where there is smoke there is often fire, and both HR and the Legal department takes note of patterns.

      Don't mince words when talking to HR. There is no "sort of." You are afraid because of your supervisor's inappropriate attention. You dread going to work because of his inappropriate behavior. Period. Consider doing what is right to protect your safety in the workplace and that of others by reporting this individual immediately.

      When/if you do report him, be sure to have a well organized list of reasons for feeling the way you do. Describe his behaviors precisely (e.g., he stands less than an arm's length away and looks me up and down). Include times, dates, witnesses, any inappropriate comments, people who have experienced similar issues that you know about, etc. Know the dates that you have discussed your performance (you were trying to solicit performance feedback as a new employee). Document his responses. Document when and how his behavior changed. Know the resolution you seek (e.g., a transfer? training? for him to stop calling your contacts?).

      Consider warning references that he may be reaching back out to them and to let you know if he does. You might even let them know that you may need their help in the near future if things don't improve.

      Seriously consider giving your company a chance to do the right thing.

    • profile image

      spent 10 months ago

      Hi I really do wonder if HR is a possibility for me. I am new at a company and I am wondering what I can do about my manager. I have asked on every occasion that we speak if my performance is acceptable and if there is anything I can be doing to improve. I have repeatedly expressed that I felt a little concerned about how long my work was taking me and that there seems to be very little in the way of training outside of getting help all the time from others, who are also very busy. I also mentioned that my strengths lay in other areas and while I was eager to learn, I was afraid I was taking too long in my work. I was told each time that everything was fine and I was worrying too much. I was asked recently if I felt that there was enough support (by my manager) when I expressed that I felt that sometimes it took a long time for someone to approve work so that I could move on my manager became defensive and belligerent. He then asked me if I felt it obstructed my productivity to which I said yes, and that my productivity has been something I have been concerned with for a while. He got angry, said this is the first he has heard of this and left. He told me the next day that he tried to track down a friend of mine (who he has never met, never conversed with, only knows of because this person appears as my recommendation) and ask this friend what is "wrong" with me. It freaked me out because, tracking down a personal correspondance of mine seems creepy and invasive, why would someone do this? He now follows me when I leave my desk, asks me where I am going when I leave for lunch and watches me every time I speak to collegues. He watched me before this as well, but its all becoming creepier after the entire I tried to track down your friend thing. Now he is stating that my productivity is low and that they may have to let me go if things don't improve. There are other things, such as he tries to manipulate me into working more hours, coming in over weekends to work, asking invasive personal questions (he does this to everyone) he actively puts down other managers when speaking to me, gets hung up on having to listen to anyone younger than himself, constantly telling me I don't smile enough (i work in front of a computer all day). Since everything is verbal, I have absolutely no proof of any of this, but with all the watching me, following me, asking other people what we talk about, I've become really uncomfortable and sort of afraid to be alone with him. I don't want to go to HR and then have it go back to him in case he confronts me, and I am seriously considering just leaving. I would have to pay the company a lot of expenses back, but I literally dread going to work every day. I also do not want for him to fire me and that be an issue later down the line. From everything I read in your article, it would be pointless for me to go to HR, since there is no proof, do I really have no other choice than to just run away?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      Sarah - Sorry to hear that you are treated this way. There's not enough information to respond to your question, although I recommend generally that it is critical to unerstand the difference between bullying and illegal harassment (from whatever country you are posting from -- I noticed from your vernacular that you may be a British or Canadian reader??). I review key information in this article on telling the difference: https://toughnickel.com/business/Tough-Manager-or-... .

      Regardless, if your manager is this unprofessional, consider letting upper management and/or HR know. The response will tell you volumes about whether management endorses such behavior or not and thus whether this is where you need to continue to work.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      HR not HR - What a terrible position to be in, especially 7 months in. You are working for a very unethical organization and bullying obviously is a part of the culture which I would guess goes right to the top. I assume that managers are not professionally trained in investigating complaints, and they don't realize the implications of investigating employees in their own chain of command (rather than having an independent investigator). Secure other employment now.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Sonny - Was your assessment that you were doing a good job was based on performance conversations with your manager ? If so, I can see why you would be confused. If you are instead basing your assessment of "doing a good job" on your own perceptions, it may be time for a performance conversation with your manager, particularly since you are fairly new in your job, have been written up several times, and don't feel good about the environment. You may want to revisit the most recent incident and say what needed to be said; having a second layer of management likely meant the stakes just got higher. If you want to tough this job out, ask for performance feedback and specific advice on how to improve. It's very possible, however, that this isn't the job for you. Don't feel bad about that. This is just a job in the grand scheme of things, and it's not worth tearing yourself up over.

    • profile image

      HR not HR 11 months ago

      I too work for a hospital. I was hired approx 7 months ago as the HR Manager. There have been numerous employee complaints of bullying and harassment from senior managers; however I have been completely blocked and removed from investigating any complaints.

      Most recently, I was instructed by the CEO to forward complaints to him or the appropriate senior leader. He also attempted to clarify that my position does not handle internal investigations and therefore employees need to be redirected.

      From the get go, I advised the senior managers this practice seemed misleading and was very ambiguous for me and for the staff.

      Last conversation held was this week, and I was advised that my title will be changed…but no definite decision. I was also told that each senior manager is responsible to act as their own HR Generalist as it relates to their respective department's internal concerns.

      Sounds like they want the wolf to watch over the chicken coop.

      So there you have it…HR that's not really HR.

      There are approximately 250 employees…and I am a one stop HR Department.

      I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    • profile image

      Sonny 11 months ago

      Hi , I am so confused i thought I was doing a good job and my manager just wrote me up for a third time about a poor customer servey. We deal with many customers and I feel like I am being singled out and ridiculted. I was completely embarassed in the meeting as a manager was present and I was not given the opportunity to defend myself until the very end when I chocked on my words because I had gotten tense from the dissertation of my poor result. There has been constant office politics and they seem to go in favor of the person who complains first. Initiating text complaining to management when you almost don't know its happening. and nothing is said to your face. I've been here a year and not sure if I have any security or if I am ignorant to stay in an environment like this one.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Carol - Have there been any specific comments that make you think it's age? If, so document them (who said it/witnessed it, what, when, where, context). Are other nurses older than 40 being treated like this? Even if it's just you being treated in this way, document your pattern of age-based evidence. Companies sometimes play dirty because they can hire young employees for a cheaper rate; the bigger insult is that oftentimes the older workers end up training them. I completely understand where you are coming from, being someone better than 40 myself.

      If you don't want to complain to HR about age discrimination and don't want to seek a transfer or go the disability/leave of absence route to take care of your health concerns, consider taking a look at the policies of the hospital regarding job posting and see if they followed them in this case. My former employer routinely did not, even though it was a Fortune 500 company; they brazenly believed they didn't have to.

      Although certainly weakened by the election of Donald Trump, there may be federal policies that govern your employer as well, depending on its nature and where your employer gets its funding). For example, if they are federal contractors (e.g., "a teaching hospital doing research for a university that has a contract with the Federal government," one providing health care to active or retired military under a contract with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the Department of Defense, etc.) your employer may be a covered OFCCP federal contractor and may have to post (i.e., advertise) the job. Oftentimes, supervisors think they can just go through word-of-mouth and bypass policies and legal requirements. It takes people who have been harmed in some way to call them on it.

    • profile image

      Carol 11 months ago

      I work for a major hospital in my city and is having a serious problem in workplace harassment. It has been going on about 4 years and I have been there for about 9 years. I am 59 years old and I am seriously starting to think that I am being discriminated against because of my age. I work 32 hours so when a 40 hour position became available I sent my supervisor a email and ask her if I could be moved into that 40 hour. She sent me a email stating we can talk about it. When we talked she said she was not going to give me the 1 day because I did not speak to her one day when she walked in the room. Then she hired a 20 year old from outside of the hospital for that position. This is one of the many harassments I have encounter since I have been there. I have tried everything I know to get out of the situation but I have so much to loose if I leave...like my retirement since I am now vested. I have thought about going to HR but afraid of retailation. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make this harassment stop It is starting to affect my health. My blood pressure goes high when I am in this stressful environment at work and now have to take medication

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Ashley - That's challenging. The weird relationship you indicate that she has with the owner may be a sexual relationship. Depending on how small your company is, it may not be bound by a lot of the federal workplace laws (generally 15+ employees), which is one reason why many people gravitate away from such small organizations. Also, the woman has threatened your job, acting like a jerk, but her actions may simply be that rather than illegal harassment, etc. The owner seems absolutely impotent and unwilling to do anything to set the situation straight, and I am afraid that your peers who jumped ship probably did the right thing. I hope they were honest in saying why they were leaving, and when you leave, I hope you will do the same. I am truly sorry this has happened to you. There are rude and angry people in the world who take their lives out on others just because they can. Stand up for yourself the best way you know how.

    • profile image

      Ashley 11 months ago

      I work with a senior manager who harasses multiple people in the comp nay all the time. She has threatened my job as well as others. I am a manager. She has made other employees leave the company. Some people are afraid to do anything with the risk of loosing their jobs. She has a weird relationship with the owner and everyone has went to HR to file complains on her and his hands are tied because the owner just gives her a slap on the wrist. It will be good for a month then she will go back to treated people horribly. She never gets disciplined and people she targets usually just end up quitting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Need to know - If you've talked to your manager and your manager's manager and you are still not satisfied, you should go to HR. They will likely indicate something along the lines that you need more time in your role working on a specific skill, for example. It would be helpful to know what that is and what you can do to make you promotion-ready. In addition, it would be helpful to know a time horizon. The explanation will all likely be couched on a lot of contingencies such as the needs of the business, etc. Approaching it in a problem-solving "I'm concerned" and "how can I" rather than an angry complaint might yield the best long-term results for you.

    • profile image

      Need to know 11 months ago

      Hello, I was promised a promotion last year and did not receive. I have documentation as proof as well as great performance. Should I contact HR? I was given an excuse why the manager now say he cannot which I felt heshould have known before promising me the job. Please note I did the work as promised to fulfill my end of the bargain. He promoted a coworker but did not promote me to another level saying I was not ready.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Url - I don't know if it's unethical, but it's inflammatory and unnecessary. Apparently they place a huge value on that discount; most people don't work at an employer just for one reason, especially an employee discount.

    • profile image

      Url 12 months ago

      I work in a retail environment. I was recently called into my store managers office with third in command manager as witness. As part of the conversation the store manager said that SHE thinks that I am only there for the discount. Isn't that unethical?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

      Surely Unsure - Yours is an unfortunate situation of what can sometimes happen when personal and business worlds collide with technology. I don't doubt you are a good worker, and you have every right to take whatever photos you want to of yourself on your own phone. (You may want to keep them in a separate folder or something, however.) Unfortunately, you also indicate that it's a small business; depending on how small they may not even be subject to federal laws again sexual harassment (15 or more employees). See the EEOC website for more information. If you cannot move on or somehow figure out how to have a conversation with him about the photos he saw, perhaps it would be best to change jobs.

    • profile image

      Surely Unsure 12 months ago

      Hi, I work for a small business and work directly with all three of the owners. I was initially hired to work with specifically one for a particular department, but I've been working back and forth in between departments as needed, and just had an incident with one of the owners. While I was helping outside of my department, I took pictures on my personal phone of inventory reference since I didnt have a pen or anything else on me at the moment. As I was using that reference one of the owners was standing behind me looking over my shoulder while I had my phone open to that reference, but my personal photos were also visible and I realized I had VERY personal photos and closed my phone immediately but it was too late he already had that pervy smirk on his face. I've never been so uncomfortable at this workplace and I've never had trouble with anyone here either. He has been a bit sarcastic and intrusive around me since and I don't really know who to talk to. I'm 1 out of three girls that work there.

      We are not issued company phones, so I don't feel it's my fault, I'm a very dynamic employee, always willing to help and learn every aspect of the business I'm working for but I'm also a very private person, I go to work to work. I keep my personal life to myself in general. I feel like he has absolutely no business looking over my or anyone's phone like that.

      Can anyone give me advice on what to do or who to talk to? I am thinking of asking my previous HR manager from my last job as well but want some insight before I can reach her.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

      TalktoHRorWaittoGetFired - Either your boss is really inexperienced/unprofessional, there are some key details missing, or both. Consult your employee policy manual (or union contract) and see what policies are being violated. There has to be something outlining vacation requests, for example.

      You say that you work for an airline. If you are unionized, by all means take it to your union rep, end of story. If not, then why not notify HR? Make them officially aware that you 1) filed a rebuttal to the previous discipline and want to ensure that it was in fact placed in your personnel file; 2) are being subjected to manufactured rules that only apply to you (supplying examples and print outs of emails that show you are being made to jump through hoops they don't have to); and 3) her application of rules are inconsistently applied throughout the department. Consider your total work history and demographic background. Why do you think your boss would be seemingly out to get you? Are you someone with a history of good or poor work performance, a stellar record or a spotty history? Is she perhaps attempting to discriminate based on an illegal factor (e.g., race, religion, disability, national origin, etc.)? Have you been hurt on the job perhaps? Was this supervisor a former work peer of yours whom you didn't get along with? (FYI, it's not necessarily discrimination just to dislike someone based on personal distaste for them.)

      If you have a good record and are a good employee, don't go down easily. Take your situation to upper management. If you are fired, file for unemployment and claim wrongful discharge. If there is an EEO issue involved, complain to the appropriate government agencies (EEOC or state human rights board, OFCCP, etc.). I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      TalktoHRorJustWaitToGetFired? 13 months ago

      I am in a situation where I am being singled out and treated blatantly unfairly by my boss. She has written me up twice and the last letter said final warning. Now the background. I was written up for a list of seven "infractions" of which only one was true and it was minor. I responded to the write up with documentation that disproved the infractions and asked that my response be placed in my file with the original write up. My manager didn't talk to me for 2 weeks and then called me in for a meeting and said that she received my response and it was "water under the bridge". I felt like my side of the story was included in my file so it would be best to just try and move forward. Prior to my write up however, my manager informed me that i had a one hour response time to her emails, this rule only applied to me and none of my 10 coworkers and that in order to take vacation of more than a few days, one months notice was required. Again, this policy only applied to me and was not conveyed to the rest of the staff. I told her i had never planned a vacation that far in advance in my life and aside from that, we work for an airline and a months notice to take vacation when flying standby is kind of unreasonable and makes it difficult to take advantage of the benefit. Anyway, our department is closed the last two weeks of December and I have 3 weeks of vacation left. I emailed my boss and notified her that in order to use up my vacation, i would have to take off from December 10-31. I emailed her on the 28th of November (Monday) and didn't receive a response by that Friday so I followed up to ask if she received my request. She scheduled a meeting for December 7th and said we'd discuss it then. I went into the meeting and she didnt say anything other than how selfish it was to expect my coworkers to cover for me on short notice and that she had informed me that a months notice was required to take that much vacation, then she handed me a "final warning" letter. No discussion, just handed me the letter which was dated December 1st so it was obvious that there was nothing i was going to say to change her mind so i refused to sign it. She said to enjoy my vacation (yeah right) and I told her that had she not made it difficult for me to take time off, i would have used more of my vacation by now. Additionally, I told her that not everyone else gave a months notice, in fact they have never been told of this policy that applies only to me. I also told her that i had coordinated with my coworkers to make sure everything was covered in my absence. My question is can a manager make rules that apply to only one person? I am the only one that has been written up for anything and it is painfully obvious that others are not held to the same standard as me. I get along really well with all of my coworkers and they have all said that if necessary they would testify on my behalf because it is so blatantly obvious that it is upsetting to them. Since the first write up was 90% untrue can this be my final write up? And I got written up for simply asking to use my vacation which is 3 weeks, but our department is closed for 2 of the 3 weeks. Should I talk to HR or just let her fire me when I return from vacation for not replying to an email she sent within one hour? That's where this seems to be headed, but I dont think I should have to leave a job I have had for 7 years without a single issue just because a new boss comes in and doesnt like me. Its more about principle and not letting her get away with false allegations that are now in my employee file and not letting her make rules that apply only to me. That's the definition of discrimination. Talk to HR or not?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

      Rozee - I've run into cases similar to this, disgusting as it is. I'm sorry that you encountered it. You said that the company was UK-owned. Even foreign owned companies based in the United States must comply with US civil rights laws.

      You might think back about whether there were magazines or other "props" that were present or if he was just using his own imagination. Management took photos because there may have been "something" on the carpet. Typically, the photos and any notes management takes are considered company confidential and only the rare inexperienced or foolhardy HR person would hand those over willingly -- but it's worth asking for.

      As for the hours you lost, I would point out that you are 1) a good worker (if that's true), 2) you did nothing to bring this on yourself, 3) the man was having sex with himself on company property which cannot possibly be something that they approve of, 4) if he says he didn't do it, then one of you is obviously lying and you have no motivation to do so, 5) and you want to be MADE WHOLE for reporting his sexual act. Describe to them the hours that you have lost in this process.

      They shouldn't tell one employee about another's impending discipline but if you don't see him around the factory anymore, you'll know he was fired. Best of luck. I hope management steps up and does the right thing. No one needs to encounter this disgusting stuff while they are trying to earn a living for themselves and their families. All the best to you.

    • profile image

      Rozeee 13 months ago

      Hi FlourishAnyway, I have filed a report to my manager against my co-worker last Thursday. My complain is based on seeing him masturbating at our stockroom, (I work for a UK's clothing company.) My manager connected HR and today I had my formal investigation interview with the area manager of our store. As my management decided since yesterday me and my co-worker can not work at the same shift anymore because of the seriousness of my complaint. The investigation is still in process but I have already lost hours that I supposed to work. I needed to stay at home today because of the interview, and as I have just an 8 hours weekly contract I am not sure I can make complaint against the company reducing my hours. I feel there is no-one who can protect my rights in this situation. The area manager promised me that I will not loose my job but she can not say anything about what is going to happy to my co-worker after the investigation process.

      My management also require me taking this case very confindential. However after me discovering my co-worker disguasting and abnormal behaviour – that I immediately shared with my manager; I won't be adviced furthurmore in this situation. As an interesting fact added to this case: after I reported my colleague; my manager took pictures about our stockroom carpet – as proof.

      I asked her yesterday before my formal interview to send me the pictures. After my request she phoned our area manager and they decided to refuse to share the pictures with me. Do they have this right, or are they just trying to cover my co-worker?

      Please if you have any advice share it with me, I would be very grateful.

      Kind regards, J.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

      kansas - You need to be much more specific in naming the suspicious incidents when you go to HR. Also, what is the possible motive? If you are being photographed, followed by a specific person, or if threats have been made that's one thing, but it's hard to look into a person's "sinking feeling" where there is no evidence. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      kansas 13 months ago

      What I do when I feel like I'm being watched and followed at work? Also, you know the manager is behind this

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

      I'm sorry this happened to you. As a disclaimer let me first reiterate I'm an I/O Psychologist and HR professional, not a lawyer and you should consult an attorney in your area on legal matters. That said, however, if it were me, I would organize all my materials (because time is money when talking with lawyers especially). I'd organize a one-paged cover sheet, bullet pointing key facts, names and titles of witnesses or other involved employees and dates. Do not provide this to the company or communicate with your attorney via company email. Beware what you share with coworkers, too.

      I'd personally engage the best employment attorney I could afford before closure of the investigation. This is in case you get a bad result, the investigation dies or takes an unreasonable amount or time, there's retaliation, or negotiations arise regarding your exit or a new job elsewhere in the company. An attorney on your side makes them listen much better. Leaving makes the most sense if your job is not too specialized, you're under 40, you're well-networked, not the primary family breadwinner and/or you feel good about the economy and job opportunities in the area where you seek work. It can take a very long time to find a job. (Don't forget to file for unemployment if you are severed from the company.)

      I'd also know the exact solution I seek. Is it to transfer to a new role? To have the PIP go away? To receive an apology? To have company benefits continued for 6 or more months after leaving, at company expense? Severance and a positive or neutral (confirmation of dates of employment and title) job recommendation? A combination of these things? People who go in wishy washy get what they ask for -- not much. Don't let them tell you "it can't be done." IF your case is egregious enough, then all kinds of things can be negotiated. Even so, don't be surprised if the investigation does NOT go your way. That's when you probably need to consider severance with your attorney's assistance. My big warning is to keep a copy of all your evidence and printed copies of emails and relevant policies (like EEO Policy, Anti-Harassment Policy, Performance Management Policy) at HOME. The company owns your work equipment and your workspace so don't expect much privacy. Important documents in the workplace do go missing. Also, Don't talk with your lawyer where you can be overheard.

      I hope this helps you in moving forward, whatever that involves. You have ONE life and in the end there are so many different jobs out there, some good and others not so good. Don't be miserable. Call ugly behavior what it is (racism, discrimination, or harassment) and take care of yourself.