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

Updated on May 16, 2017
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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?

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

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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.

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

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 hours ago from USA

      mia - Can you give more context?

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      mia 4 hours 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
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      FlourishAnyway 16 hours 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.

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      AllSmilles 21 hours 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
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      FlourishAnyway 7 days ago from USA

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

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      Unanimous 7 days 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
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      FlourishAnyway 4 weeks 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.

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      Anonymous456987 4 weeks 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
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      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks 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.

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      L. Johnson 6 weeks 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

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      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

      Laurie Davis - I'm sorry that happened. I typically do not recommend exit interviews: http://hubpages.com/business/Why-You-Should-Say-No...

      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).

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      LaurieDavis 6 weeks 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
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      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks 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.

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      wizard 7 weeks 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
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      FlourishAnyway 2 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.

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      broken 2 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
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      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

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

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      oscar 2 months ago

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

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

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

    • profile image

      Jayne owens 2 months ago

      Can I be fired because of an anonymous call

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 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.

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      Anna 3 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
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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      MFlowers 4 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

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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      spent 4 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 :)

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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      spent 4 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      spent 4 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      spent 4 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?

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      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 5 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 5 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.

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      HR not HR 5 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.

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      Sonny 5 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 5 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.

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      Carol 5 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

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      FlourishAnyway 5 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.

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      Ashley 5 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 6 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.

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      Need to know 6 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 6 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.

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      Url 6 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?

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      FlourishAnyway 6 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.

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      Surely Unsure 6 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 7 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.

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      TalktoHRorJustWaitToGetFired? 7 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?

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      FlourishAnyway 7 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.

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      Rozeee 7 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 7 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.

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      kansas 7 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

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      FlourishAnyway 8 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.

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      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Beverly - Wow, that is some story. First, I agree that you should have immediately disclosed the pre-existing relationship and the incident in which you were inappropriately touched by your client (just to protect yourself from this type of situation). However, that assumes that there are well-established, publicized and understood procedures for doing so. But that's water under the bridge now, and you've learned from it.

      Now that the disciplinary matter against you is resolved, it seems that your need is 1) to restore the Reiki sessions and 2) get some of your questions answered (perhaps about the process and why they have such a hang-up about the Reiki sessions after 2.5 years if the sexual harassment claim was unsubstantiated).

      Your HR Rep should give you the courtesy of returning your emails. If you feel passionately about the resolution you seek, go higher, including up the HR chain and outside of HR. Your attorney should be able to help you get the attention you need. I highly recommend his/her involvement. Be succinct and know what you are seeking in your request to the hospital. Have your attorney help you draft the email. In it, tell who are briefly (a 30 year retired Veteran with 44 years nursing experience and x years of excellent service to the hospital). Say that a patient's false allegation against you was recently dismissed, and even though you are upset by the experience you want to get back to the business of helping your clients. Describe the trust and admiration your coworkers and others have expressed in you and say that they are increasingly asking about the your Reiki sessions but you've been left hanging by HR.

      Unfortunately, because Reiki involves touch and there has been an unsubstantiated complaint against you as well as the unreported pre-existing relationship with an employee, don't be too surprised if the hospital takes the conservative route and says no more sessions. The explanation they give you will be interesting to hear, but it's basically about protecting themselves legally. That doesn't mean you cannot offer Reiki outside of work on a consulting basis. It seems like you are very good at this popular service. Sorry that sometimes it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. Don't let it sour your spirit. You seem to have a good reputation among your colleagues.

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      BEVERLY M BRIGGS 8 months ago

      I was recently charged for having a pre-existing relationship with an employee. I am a hospital admin , but I also do Reiki as a volunteer . After one of my Reiki sessions, I interviewed a new patient referred to me by his Psych MD. During this interview, he touched me inappropriately/ When he came for a second session I spoke with him told him that his behavior would not be tolerated and that our relationship is patient and practitioner. He left and never returned . I wrote a not in his chart. I wrote that he groped me and what I did. Three months later he finds out about the note goes to the patient advocate ( who he knows, he made complaints often about his care) he states that he touched me intimately , he had feeling for me, and wanted to go out on a date and that we had a make out session. He also stated that I kissed him. I retrieved a phone call from my Chief Nurse informed me that I had to write out exactly what happen. I did and I was interviewed by the hospital detective. The final conclusion came to a possible 5-day suspension for allowing a patient to touch my thighs, hips, and breasts and haveing a pre-existing relationship. I am a 30 year retired Veteran with 44 years experience has a nurse. I have worked at this hospital for 11 years has a hospital admin. I had given Reiki sessions to the staff/ patients and family members for 2.5 years with no complaints. excellent reviews and I am a senior citizen in my 60,s . Of course, I was devastated and angry. Not only was I traumatized by the sexual assault , but also by the assault on my integrity, character and lack of emotional support. I immediately hired an attorney . The charge was changed to a reprimand because I did not notify my supervisor and my Reiki sessions were suspended . My patients and the MD I worked with all gave me character references. My patients and the employees ask about the continuation of the Reiki sessions. The finally investigated the alleged sexual harassment. They did not find enough evidence to prove the allegation. Now I have requested to speak with HR because I have some questions , but the HR rep is ignoring my emails for a meeting. What should I do about this?

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      Gsc224 8 months ago

      Flourish, can you advise? I have been a part of the same team for nearly six years with outstanding performance reviews. Earlier this year, a new manager came on board and from the beginning, it was clear that she had something against me. I will mention that I am the only ethnic minority on the team and she treats me noticeably worse then my white teammates. A couple of weeks ago, my manager initiated and unfair performance Improvement plan in an effort to build a paper trail to get me terminated. I prepared an extensive rebuttal document with 30 pages of evidence refuting every point of criticism. It was completely disregarded and ignored by human resources and I was told that I had to go along with the PIP. I am in complete agony. I'm actively interviewing for a new position both internally at my current firm and externally at outside companies. A couple of days ago I sent a formal complaint of racial discrimination to the head of human resources and my company's general counsel. I received a reply back that they will investigate the matter. Right now I'm trying to decide how to move forward. I am hopeful that the company will do the right thing and remove this unfair pip and maybe even help me transition into a new role, but the company has shown me before that I have no reason to trust them to do the right thing. Ive consulted several employment lawyers and many are eager to help me negotiate a severance package. However if I get a lawyer, I will be Burning Bridges and saying goodbye to those potential internal job opportunities. I'm not sure what to do but it's such a difficult situation and I just want it resolved quickly. Do you have any insight into how the company will react now that I've made a formal complaint of racial discrimination? Do you have any advice about what I should do next? Get a lawyer to help me get a severance package or hold on to hope that an internal job transfer will work out? Thank you.

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      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      CivicEmployee - There are so many ethical and compliance issues in this story you relay. Regarding the hammer incident, report it as your supervisor has directed you to do, describing it factually and cite both the safety concerns and ongoing and persistent nature of her disruptive behavior that makes it hard for you (and others?) to execute work duties. Name names. Remember that you are creating a pattern for the record for HR.

      Since it seems like she is already on HR's radar, there are likely other complaints regarding this out-of-control woman. When HR interviews you, be prepared with a non-emotional verbal account of this woman's background and how she got to where she is (in case the investigator is new, it's not in the record, or the investigator was rushed and didn't review the record). You might even have a one-pager of bullet pointed talking points which you hand over at the end of the HR interview.

      Express your concerns to your supervisor regarding filing the report so that someone has your back. The inappropriate relationship and fraudulent hiring of this woman is jeopardizing your productivity and your safety if she is tossing hammers. Sooner or later this dangerous lady could cause huge trouble for your employer. You might also consider a well-placed anonymous letter to a high up government official. For example, when I worked for a state agency, sometimes dissatisfied employees would write the Governor about employee matters and their complaints would come down to the Agency that way. You better believe there was follow up on those cases. They would sometimes also leak issues to the press if they wanted to cause a real nightmare. I'm not recommending these hail Mary options, but they do exist for government employees. Line up your evidence: who said/did/can verify what allegedly happened, when, why they happened, and how things went down.

      Good luck. There was corruption in her hiring, but may the right thing now happen!

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      CivicEmployee 8 months ago

      I am not sure how to proceed with my situation and any information would help. I started at my current job on 10/31/16 as a Admin Tech for a government building. Since day one a part time maintenance worker has given me additive and has been extremely disrespectful in various ways. To keep this in perspective we are both very young, 21. The instances have been small but they make it extremely hard to do my job effectively and for the team to reach our goal on time. Recently there was an incident where she "tossed" a hammer at me but I was below her and I feared it would him me with the amount of force that was put into the motion. I told my supervisor and she immediately told me to write a report and we would send everything to HR to be handled because I am not the only employee having issues with this worker.

      Now here is where it gets tricky.

      This girl was hired at another city location by a man who she was in a prior relationship with (he is married) . He coached her on what to say in the interview and even taught her things she would need to know to make sure she would be able to work there with him. His wife found pictures she had sent her now boss and boyfriend and the wife sent the to HR. Now HR has no idea about the prior relationship for the coaching he gave her for the job and interview. These are all things the girl in question told my supervisor trying to get closer to her on a personnel level. HR sent her to work at the building she is currently at and now she is doing something similar, flirting with all management and seeing co workers after work or on days off. She is extremely entitled, sassy and hard to work with.

      My question is how do I even write a formal complaint letter about small issues or disrespect and this hammer incident? And what do I do, if anything with this HR information? We are both very new and still on probation and this job is a great career starter for me and I would hate to possibly loose it or be marked as a problem employee so soon.

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      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      phyllis - Print out the email(s) first, if you did not already. Keep them at home, and have a copy at work.

      One big thing jumped out to me with your additional information: You say you are a 30+ year employee and this was the "last straw," suggesting it's been going on awhile. Do you think that their treatment of you is motivated by age-based bias (and perhaps bias based on any other protected factor, such as sex, national origin, race, religion, color, disability, veteran status?) I don't know your personal situation so I'm just asking. If it's personal bias (they just don't like you), then it's simply inappropriate behavior and bad management. If it's based on some protected factor such as age, then that's a different story. Just saying.

      You also indicate that you've reported the issue to HR and it was handled. After doing so, does the mistreatment still continue? Is there evidence of retaliation for reporting the behavior?

      Talk to your attorney about the issue. Have all your ducks in a row when you discuss (names, dates, titles, departments, copies, who said what, witnessed what and when). Is there other evidence of potential age-based (and other possible) bias, such as name calling (even if in jest), inappropriate jokes or comments around the office, excluding you from meetings/key conversation based on age)? How are others who are in your category (e.g., age) treated on these same factors? The law sees "older" employees as 40+, by the way.

      Lastly, know what you are seeking. Is it to retire ASAP, with a nice "$weetener"? To be transferred? To hear an apology? To have them shamed within the company or damage their careers? Some are more reasonable than others. I've seen ALL of these things happen, but the process was long and painful on everyone. Your attorney can discuss the specifics of your case and tell you where to head from here.

      Take care of yourself. Don't let this overcome you. You are strong. You didn't bring this on.

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      phyllis 8 months ago

      Thank you, FlourishAnyway, for your response and advice. The written document was an attachment sent to me by my supervisor by mistake. She meant to send me copies of work related documents but instead sent me a screenshot of her computer monitor which included a chat between her and a co-worker in my peer group. The chat between them contained inappropriate and hurtful comments about me and they're opinions on my quality of work. Which is unethical on my supervisor's part since she as a supervisor should not be discussing with a subordinate. This is just a tiny snippet of their conversation but enough to show that my supervisor is not professional and how she feels about me. They were even laughing about it, saying "hahahahaha" in their chat and my supervisor commenting that i sabotage my computer so that i dont have to work. All lies. I have been with that company for over 30 years and have gone through so many bad experiences but i have children so i just sweep them under the rug or at times have contacted the union about but our union is pretty weak. They have helped sometimes, but most of. the time i feel they will not be of help or not be effective enough, i dont follow through with my grievance. But this was the last straw. I refuse to be bullied anymore. I consulted with a labor attorney and saw a company appointed psychologist and the psychologist agreed that my anxiety and stress were caused my a work related matter. Hopefully, the labor attorney finds my case strong enough and decides to represent me. Once again, thank you.

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      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Phyllis - I don't know what type of written proof it was, but I hope you kept a copy. You never know when it might come in handy in the future. Because the matter was dealt with as an HR investigation, all parties were likely told not to discuss the confidential matter further with others, and that includes requesting or offering any apology. Would you really want a forced apology anyhow? Just try to move on.

      Don't let this bog you down. Use the situation to become strong, resilient and confident about who you are. Your manager and coworker are the idiots resorting to petty, back-biting insults. If they had problems with your work, there are professional and appropriate ways to deal with them. They are cowards ... attacking you personally?! Seriously, that's so middle school.

      I used to work with a manager and his 30-year employee whom he let get away with anything. Her cussing and screaming went unnoticed right outside his door, her political backbiting and name calling of other employees was overlooked or even found humorous, intentional exclusion of me or other employees who objected to her behavior was permitted, and my manager even joined in as she insulted my immediate family (she thought I was gone).

      Some people are just mean. Others make mistakes. Either way, be vigilant, take care of yourself, develop a network of people who care about you, and don't cave to their mistreatment because then they win. Good luck.

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      phyllis 8 months ago

      Hi. I had an incident at work whereas i "stumbled" on written proof that my supervisor and an employee in my peer group was talking badly about me personally and about my work. I have since filed for stress and a complaint against them. HR told me due to confidentiallity they can not tell me if disciplinary actio , if any, were taken. I have come to accept that, but no one had apologized. Need advice and opinions, please. Thank you.

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      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Davana OConnor - It sounds like this comment took place in front of an HR rep, with the three of you there. Are you accusing your manager of a threat against you, sexual advance, or something else? What was the body language and voice inflection involved? The reaction/response of HR? I'm not sure I understand the situation. If the HR rep did not take appropriate action, report the incident to the HR rep's boss. Don't forget you can always call the HR person, too or write a letter to present your side.

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      Davana OConnor 9 months ago

      What should I do when my direct manager tells me The only way I'll speak with H/R alone is if I go home with her? She refused to leave the room after being asked by H/R to exit.

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      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Tired - No, you just better know what you're getting into. Have your facts, a real issue, evidence and go in "guns a blazin'" in the figurative sense of course.

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      Tired 9 months ago

      So, if I read the article correctly, it's best not to file the complaint.....great

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      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      Ashley - If you're talking about how long an investigation should last, there are no clear-cut guidelines, but if it's dragging on and on (especially with no communication back to the accused or complainant), it gives the impression that the issue is not important and has been sidelined. Inquire to the investigator via email where the investigation is in process, reiterate how you are eager to see this important matter resolved, and remind them how long the case has been open by including the date that you initially complained or were interviewed (if a PCA). If you hear nothing back, wait a week and email the director of that person's department. You are creating a "paper" trail so do not do this by phone. Keep going higher until you get an answer. If this is a complaint that involves an EEO or wage and hour matter, for example, and they're not responding, you can always take it to outside agencies. It will help to have this "paper trail" as a part of your complaint. Hopefully, it doesn't come to that, however.

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      Ashley 10 months ago

      how long does a company have to settle a dispute?

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      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      Anonymous - I do think there's more to the story, but with the information I have and what I understand, here's what I'd offer: 1) throwing keys at the desk and almost hitting you must be addressed formally (and certainly documented) from a disciplinary standpoint, if that's not what her suspension was for; 2) if she did not have permission to cancel the Professional Development outing, then treat it as a formal performance issue in consultation with HR and your direct manager; 3) EAP should be offered to her if it has not already been. I don't understand why you would request the transfer. Managers have difficult employees, and often these employees are the ones who stretch and season them as managers. Difficult employees throw up challenges in attitude and motivation, teamwork, performance, and compliance with all types of rules, beginning with just showing up. Why not just brace yourself for the challenge and treat her fairly rather than dump this messy personnel issue on another manager? You can do this with a little coaching from HR and your manager.

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      ANONYMOUS 10 months ago

      I had a issue at work that eventually I decided to file a harassment report. I had an employee throw keys at my desk almost causing them to hit my hand, not to long I'm certain she cancelled a Professional Development outing that was scheduled for our staff. There is more to the story, there was a suspension and I find out that she will be returning back. My question is my plan is to ask for a transfer to a different department. But, if I'm denied that request. What should i do?

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      FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

      Lifeis2good - With few exceptions, you need to file the internal complaint first and let them go through their company process first, then file the EEOC complaint. (Else the EEOC may kick it back.) It's probably going through the motions. With your internal complaint, keep very good records of who you complain to, who you talk to, notes (afterwards on what is said), copies of emails/documents/copies/files, time it takes to respond to your complaint, any material evidence of retaliation such as your reassignment, demotion, salary or job change, explanations thereof, times/dates/of who said what etc. It's possible that the internal complaint may resolve the situation. If not, you'll be well armed for your EEOC complaint. Good luck.

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      Lifeis2good 12 months ago

      Thank you, flourishanyway, for posting this very insightful article. Is it better to file an EEOC complaint when filing an internal complaint with HR? Is it necessary? I'm wondering if HR would be more defensive if an EEOC complaint was filed rather than attempting to handle it internally only? The complaint would be filed by a highly respected (at least so far) company employee in good standing.

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      Burky 12 months ago

      I am having a dilemma about whether it not to go to HR...I'm being told by my boss that I now have to go from being a permanent home based worker to an in the office worker full time. My issue with this is twofold:

      1. There is not a space available with the normal & appropriate accommodations in this office. All the desk/cubes are taken so they are assigning me a "hoteling space". This type of working spot is only intended for visitors & anyone, like my self, a home based worker, that just wants to come in a day or two here & there. It would require me to work strictly off of my laptop without the usual monitor, keyboard, mouse & all the other necessities that make up an ergonomically correct workspace. I was originally asked if I would become a home-based worker because there wasn't space to accommodate me. I have to interactions or clients with the departments that work in this specific office, or anywhere else in my city. I specifically report & work with peers in our home office, which is about 13 driving hours away. So I have become quite comfortable being a virtual employee.

      2. Another really important reason for me working at home instead of using whatever area is available some days in the office, is because I created a work space at home to also accommodate my health conditions. (For example: I hook my laptop up to my company provided monitor reducing stress in my neck/back when working all day. If I were to work off of my laptop only, it would tremendously aggravate my cervical stenosis & spine conditions. Not to mention, being used to having a much bigger screen & easier on my hands/wrists keyboard. I could go on about each of the things I was given to create my home work space, that I'm not being asked to give up since I can't tote everything Bsnk & forth to use this "hoteling" work space.

      So my question is whether or not I should address my concerns with HR noting only the issues mentioned above. Or if I should elaborate as to why I believe I'm being asked to make this change...

      Your advice is GREATLY appreciated!

      Burky

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      FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

      Concerned - I feel your frustration. Your options are varied: 1) accept the situation and do nothing, 2) ask your manager for specific reasons why someone else was selected over you and work with your manager on a professional development plan that can bridge any gaps and make you promotable (documenting everything, of course), 3) file an internal complaint and when that is unsubstantiated then go to the EEOC and the OFCCP if your employer is a federal contractor, and 4) leave for another employer who values your contributions and talents. Don't let this make you bitter. You do have options.

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      Concerned 14 months ago

      So what do you do if you are a woman who keeps having men promoted over her and cant really complain to HR because HR has already made it clear they exist to protect the company?

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      FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

      Reynold Jay - Whew! Glad you weren't winding up. Thanks for the compliment. Have a great week!

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      Reynold Jay 21 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Okay!!!!! I want to complain!!! Naw let's forget it and be friends. Super Duper article.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Busysup - It sounds like he's now on their radar. If he has that much problem with the truth, it's likely that he will continue to trip himself up. Perhaps it would be useful for the appropriate managers in your company (typically HR) to review whether he was entirely truthful on his employment application. Many people embellish. In the mean time, they need to manage his performance (spending more time on-site?) and ensure that they enforce their policies uniformly. Best wishes ...

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      Busysup 2 years ago

      The gun was brought in prepackaged by a customer who was trying to ship it out to California. It wasn't being shipped here. I do know that my manager and security are quiet now. I think they are brainstorming. I have to talk to our security supervisor a lot, and usually, she gets right back to me. When I let her know that I faxed off my clerks statement, I never heard back. I think by now, it's a waiting game. I think if he does get to keep his job, he will only get worse. There is definitely tension in the office after all of this. It is completely awkward every day at work now. I am still treating him with respect and as if I know nothing.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Busysup - Management needs to step up to the plate and manage this supervisor (your peer) rather than expecting you to "keep a watch" on him. Your HR should be engaged, too. Your co-worker has been on the job 6 months, and I'd wonder what type of probationary period or preliminary evaluation he's had or will be having. Sometimes managers are defensive about people they personally hire, but especially if the regional manager works off-site, he may have no idea that your co-worker isn't working out -- especially to this extent. You say you "all" think he is a control freak. You can either talk with management directly, wait until something (??) happens, or hope your co-worker quits/gets fired/management somehow catches on. That's a tough one. It's very curious why a gun would be shipped to your workplace, potentially in violation of shipping/packaging regulations and your company's policy. You don't think it was being shipped to him, do you?

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      Busysup 2 years ago

      I have a predicament at work. Well, it's actually not my predicament, but I'm in the middle of it. I am a supervisor and my coworker is also a supervisor. We are both in lateral positions. I have been with the company for 3 years and him, 6 months. I and the company clerk, who is not in a supervisory position, have had nothing but trouble with this guy. My clerk, who is female, has come to me a few times with complaints about him being very controlling toward her. He even refused to get her access to some programs, citing that since she wasn't management, she couldn't have access and she would have to go through him every time she needed to use the programs. I knew this was wrong, so I contacted security to get clarification on whether or not she was allowed access. Security told me that she should definitely have access. I went ahead and got her access for her. He also has defied instructions from our region manager and instructed a company driver to record his packages as missed and not emergency as upper management directed him to. When confronted the next day by the driver, he denied ever telling him to do so. I was there and heard everything. A red flag went up and I knew that I had just caught him lying to both employees and the manager. I went ahead and let the manager know. Manager wanted to know if he should terminate him. I told manager that I wasn't comfortable making that decision with a lateral coworker. I already make those decisions for non supervisors. Manager informed me that this defiant supervisor is to listen to me and work as I direct him to and explained that he would tell this other supervisor what he said.

      Let's fast forward to a week ago. My clerk opened a suspicious package and found a gun being illegally shipped. I was not due to be in the office for another hour or so. She took package to Mr. Defiant supervisor so that he could call security. Our clerk knows protocol and did what she was supposed to do. Supervisor started to call the police, and clerk tried to tell him that he should call security and get instruction. He snapped and told her that he had everything handled.

      Ok, so after he calls the police, he calls security. He lies and tells security that clerk brought him the package and he opened it. He then told the police that he was the person who opened the package. This prompted the police to focus on him for their police report. The problem here? He did not open the package, the clerk did. The clerk is supposed to open packages. She should have also been the person to give the police report. Now there is a falsified police report in our company's name!

      Our clerk pulled me aside after I arrived at the office and told me what had happened. She told me how he lied to security and the police. She told me that when she asked him why he didn't tell them that she opened the package, he once again pulls the management card and tells her that she isn't supposed to open them, he is. False, false, false! Illegal, illegal, illegal!

      I immediately went to a different office and called the woman who heads secirity for the region, who also happens to be the woman who he lied to. I told her exactly what our clerk told me. I also told my region manager. I stated it as "our clerk just told me this and I thought you both needed to know."

      The next day, security wanted to talk to Mr. Defiant supervisor and then wanted to talk to the clerk. She wanted to hear both stories. She then sent me a text and wanted me to keep an eye on him to make sure that he didn't try to intimidate or coach our clerk. It was too late. He did pull out clerk aside when he got off the phone with security. Our clerk told me that he pulled her to the side and told her what to say. Security emailed me an incident report and asked me to have the clerk fill it out and turn it in.

      There is a lot more to say but I'm sure I've typed a book by now. To conclude, today, my clerk said she saw this supervisor filing a complaint and heard him say loudly, "I hate to do this, but they are misrepresenting me."

      I have a witness to the last time he lied. My witness is the driver that he lied to. The driver almost got a warning letter because he lied and told him to do something differently. In this situation, I clearly stated to upper management and security that I was not there when any of this happened, but was there to see him jump up and head her off before and after she got off the phone with security. I just couldn't hear what he said. I let upper management know that the clerk is telling me what he said and I'm relaying it to them. I believe my clerk. This guy has been caught lying, shows obvious signs of control issues and defiance. Security did say that she was not happy with her conversation with him. I honestly think he filed a report against our clerk and possibly me as a last ditch effort to try to cover his own butt. Do you think I have anything to worry about? I did mention this incident to two other lateral supervisors. One supervisor, I was actually cimmunicating with when I received the news, so I mentioned it to her and mentioned that I thought I should report it. She agreed. The second supervisor has had to try and train this guy and I felt I could get some input from her about his nature. Basically, we all thing he's a bat$*** crazy control freak. Seriously, there is fear that he will just lose it if he loses his job, and if he does lose his job, his sights will be aimed at the clerk and myself.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      aesta1 - Investigations certainly are challenging for not only those investigated but also others who are involved. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Renee - I hope the HR manager can provide an unbiased view of what's going on and provide your husband direction forward. Good luck.

    • Renee Yates Lopez profile image

      Renee Yates Lopez 2 years ago

      Flourish Anyway,

      Thank you so much for your response. This was not a temporary position as he had applied for it a year earlier, and was given it when the person retired who currently had it. Some off the cuff comments from new management has said that my husband is too good of a production employee to have the position that a former manager had bestowed upon him, so they removed him and put him back in a traveling production position, incurring non-reimbursed mileage costs and vehicle maintenance. My only hope is that the HR manager has a somewhat unbiased view on the facts, he told my husband that he couldn't promise him anything, but would let him know what is findings were.

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      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent hub. I have been in the executive position when we have to investigate an employee and it is very difficult. I know that it is very painful for the employee. This makes it harder.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Renee - There's always a chance for a collaborative ending. Although I don't know enough about your husband's particulars, I assume you both believe that his being Hispanic had an important role in his being removed from his job. See the Federal government's EEOC website and your state's human rights website for the employment laws that pertain to employees in your state (or seek advice from an attorney in your state who is familiar with your situation) . The situation you convey does lead to some natural questions, from an HR angle. For example, usually promotions involve actual changes in not only job titles but also responsibilities, pay, etc. (However, you say he's never had a raise.) Was this a job try-out -- i.e., a temporary position of some kind -- or an actual promotion? Oftentimes, people are given a certain period of time (6 months is not uncommon) to prove themselves in the new position. Issues of work performance usually aren't a surprise to the employee -- or let's say they shouldn't be. Whatever the case, I hope the right thing happens.

    • Renee Yates Lopez profile image

      Renee Yates Lopez 2 years ago

      My husband has been working at his current company for 12 years, never had any problems nor has he ever had a raise. We filed a complaint with his HR Dept. after he was removed from a position he was promoted to 6 months earlier with no explanation. He is the only Hispanic that works at this plant and they gave his position to a white guy. He has already been interviewed by the company's HR Manager. Are there any chances of a happy ending?

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      colorfulone - It's not always a walk in the park for the one investigating either. Just when you thought you've heard everything you get that case even you don't quite believe. People never cease to amaze.

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      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Being in HR just might be an interesting job for people who like investigating and solving problems in the work place. But, I can see how and why it would be stressful for anyone filing a complaint.

      Very interesting topic that I knew little about, before.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Joyfulcrown - Thanks for reading and voting. Glad you got something out of it.

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 2 years ago

      I am so glad you wrote this article. I have always wondered what happens in HR, with complaints. I always wondered if making complaint would make any difference at all. Voted up.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      techygran - Shark tank is an apt description! Thank you for reading! Have a great day!

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Wow, this was an excellent article. I am happy not to be working for a bureaucracy any longer where the horrific minutia that you detail actually happens on a daily basis. I hope that this helps others to decide whether to "enter" the shark tank or just deal with the issues. Thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      dhimanreena - I appreciate your reading and commenting.

    • dhimanreena profile image

      Reena Dhiman 2 years ago

      hey thanks for sharing such an informative content.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      grand old lady - Thanks for stopping by and for sharing. Most employees have have no idea about what goes on behind the scenes in other departments.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      This is very interesting. Although I work at home, it is always interesting to know what goes on in the workplace, and how complaints are handled. This is something every employee should know. I'm sharing this.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thank you for pinning! Many employees don't realize what goes on behind the scenes, and I hope this helps them. I appreciate all of your support.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is such excellent advice that it's going to be the very first pin on my new Workplace Bullying board, on my new Pinterest account. This one's going to be a group board, so you're more than welcome to join.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Dennis Wesley - Thanks for reading.

    • Dennis Wesley profile image

      Dennis Morriosn-Wesley II 3 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Very informative article.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your day off. I hope your friend gets the fairness she deserves.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Flourish,

      I missed this one, but glad I found it. This hub is very helpful and I hope all in these type situations read your insightful hub. As always, you cover a topic well. This sounds more geared towards those who work in big corporate companies than in a small office, but I think it provides a lot of insight to help anyone in such an employment issue. We have a state holiday today, so I am enjoying my day off : ) ...

      Voted up and more, pinning (I know of some who this will help), tweeting and sharing

      Have a great rest of the week too.

      Blessings

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Alex - I cannot offer legal advice, so I recommend contacting an attorney for advice specific to your situation and concerns. However based upon my HR background someone in this general situation might need to consider these things:

      1) that some event and someone triggered the complaint investigation (Have you read your sexual harassment policy?)

      2) what your company policies are regarding consensual dating in the office, especially between coworker (and did you in fact break them?)

      3) the investigation has to conclude somehow and your leaving -- especially with limited notice -- may well be considered an admission of guilt. I doubt that a good HR department would just "drop it."

      4) your immediate employability elsewhere.

      One might also consider that a company HR rep would be hard pressed to interview a non-employee, i.e., a member of the public.

      Whatever happens in your situation, I hope it is the *right thing* overall. You might also read these:

      https://toughnickel.com/business/Can-You-Find-Love...

      https://toughnickel.com/business/Accused-of-Wrongd...

      https://hubpages.com/business/The-Inside-Track-Wha...

    • profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Hi Hub, this is very helpful.

      My company is conducting an investigation on me for sexual harassment while it's more of an affair with a coworker With mutual interests. I don't want to be in the being investigated situation. if I leave before HR interview me for that, will it help stoping the investigation ?

      Thanks a lot!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      dragonflycolor - Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed my years as an HR investigator but learned some very valuable lessons about organizational politics and humanity.

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      I used to work HR and it wasn't fun investigating other employees. Most of the 23 listed above happened to a T, and it was nerve-racking. Great hub and voted up!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thanks for spreading the word!

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This one is so useful it's going on my Dealing with Adult Bullies board because the workplace is where so many people encounter the more "mature" bullies.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinqito - Sounds like you've been there or know someone who has. Thanks again for reading. I'll keep writing about these topics to help out employees.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      No, they're not. It's rare that things improve as a result of going to HR. It's an interesting topic, no doubt about it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinqito - Thank you for stopping by. I do hope this helps people as intended. Employees who raise complaints in good faith are doing the right thing, but they are not always treated that way.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is a great article that probably hits many nerves, as corporate bullying is an enormous problem. It's good that you pointed out all the potential pitfalls an employee could face when going to HR, and that someone needs to think long and hard before making such a step.

      I hope you write more articles on this topic, as it has the potential to help a lot of people. Voted up.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Crafty - For all the reasons you are thankful, so too are others! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Excellent information, but now I'm so thankful to be out of corporate America even more! Very informative.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Millionaire Tips - Thank you for reading and commenting. Dealing with HR can be frustrating for some employees, including managers because of the secrecy. Oftentimes just because employees don't see anything happening (e.g., the employee isn't fired, transferred, demoted right away), doesn't mean nothing occurred. For example, even when discipline was not warranted, I've provided some of the most honest, in-your-face documented feedback to employees that they've ever received. It provided them with a wake-up moment they'd never forget -- with the intent of being constructive, of course.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      Being a manger, I have had to discuss and file complaints with the HR department, and you're right, sometimes we just don't know what actions, if any, have been taken against the person I was complaining about. It is helpful in getting this additional insight. Voted up.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Leslie - Thanks for the endorsement. A lot of times people run to HR thinking it's the cure-all. They are not prepared practically or emotionally to deal with filing a complaint. I would feel comfortable going for a specific issue that cannot be resolved otherwise but I'd be prepared, have a desired solution in mind, and I'd certainly want to know this information first. Once you "pull the trigger" with HR in a complaint it cannot be unpulled.

    • LeslieOutlaw profile image

      Leslie 3 years ago from South Carolina

      I have seen the inside of a few HR investigations and I know that these things are true. It is no fun at all and people who are smart avoid these situations. I have seen people go to HR for help only to get fired themselves. Great hub. Voted up and more :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you for the visit and comment, Lisa. HR can definitely add value when investigations are done in full compliance with the law, professional ethics, and company policy. With the constantly changing regulatory landscape, it's hard to imagine how small companies go without this type of expertise very effectively.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

      This hub taught me a lot more about HR than I think I would have ever known otherwise. I actually wish the current company I work for had an HR department!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Kasman. I may just do that!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Wow, talk about credentials. You should tell some of your stories in a book and make some money doing it,

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the comment, vote and share, Kasman. I've been in HR with two different Fortune 500 companies, as well as government and have investigated cases ranging from discrimination and harassment to theft to workplace violence and everything in between. Just when I thought I had seen it all in Investigations, there was always something new.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      An extremely detailed and hard look at the HR industry and how they operate. I love how you hit every nook and cranny in this and then you detail how to deal with each scenario. Good deal all around, voting up and sharing.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I really did not realize this much went on when someone filed a complaint. Of course, at my job we do not even have an HR department.... I just wish we had one! A lot of things would run much smoother if we did. Thanks for sharing this information!

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