I am an attorney the wants to help people use the law to help fight against bad bosses and hostile work environments.
Do Not Turn to Your HR Department for Help With a Hostile Work Environment
In the course of the last year, I have counseled hundreds of employees over the phone and via email who were suffering at their jobs, dreading the act of going into work each day, and panicking that they may soon be fired.
Usually, a supervisor—often a new supervisor—had turned the employee's otherwise likable job into a series of run-ins, each one more humiliating and degrading than the last. As a last resort, many turned to Human Resources to alleviate their situation. However, these employees typically did not find any solace. In fact, turning to HR made many of their situations worse. In this article, I will offer some insight into how HR works, why they may not help you, and what you can do when HR sides with your boss.
Is HR On My Side?
Human Resources shouldn't be considered your enemy, but you shouldn't look at HR as an advocate. At the end of the day, they are part of the company, and they ultimately look out for the company's best interest.
Let's take a look at the history of Human Resources. These departments started out in the 1900s by investigating how to reduce turnover and how to maximize job performances by looking into desired compensation systems. The goal was to keep employees happy so businesses could keep unions out. HR developed a reputation for being advocates for employees.
Things changed by the 1980s. Union memberships started dropping, and new laws were being put in place regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. The purpose of HR was now focused on keeping companies out of trouble rather than helping employees.
Does this mean you can't trust HR? Certainly not. A company that doesn't take claims seriously will take critical damage to its reputation. It is still in your best interest to reach out to HR. Just don't place blind trust in them. HR may not want to take action against someone they consider to be more valuable than you. They may make a bad decision and not take your claim seriously. Mistakes can happen.
What to Do When HR Is Not on Your Side
Here are some steps you should take if you find your HR department to be unhelpful. Even if you are certain that HR won't help you, you should still file a complaint with them. This is simply to show that you have taken appropriate steps and document how HR has refused or failed to help.
- Follow any company protocols. Your company may a procedure in place on how to handle an issue with HR or how to take an issue beyond them. There may be an anonymous hotline you can call. Follow these procedures and keep records of all communication. You may need to show that you made efforts to solve an issue or show that HR did not help solve your issue.
- Report any illegal activity. If you are trying to report any behavior that is illegal, you may need to go to an outside government agency. Any complaints you have previously filed can be used as evidence. You should consult an employment lawyer to see if you have a case against your workplace. While there are no specific laws for workplace bullying, you do have a case if you are discriminated against based on something like your race, gender, or age.
- Find another job. If the behavior you are seeing at work is not illegal, such as your ideas not being considered or your workload being heavy, then you likely don't have a legal case against your employer. As a last resort, you may have to consider finding another place of employment. Keep in mind that if you are planning any type of lawsuit, it is better to be fired than to quit. Your company can claim that you left on your own and that you faced no real mistreatment.
Who Is Above Human Resources?
If your complaint falls on deaf ears with HR, you still have options available. You can contact a government agency, such as the EOCC or OSHA. The EOCC would be contacted in cases of unlawful discrimination, while OSHA would be contacted for dangerous workplaces. If there are more serious cases of illegal activity occurring, such as assault, you should contact an actual law enforcement agency.
Your company also may have measures in place for dealing with unhelpful HR, such as a hotline. You should investigate any of these measures first to see if they are valid options.
How to Handle Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, one of the more common types of workplace harassment. Here are some steps you should take if you are experiencing this. First, determine whether you are being sexually harassed. Sexual harassment has to meet the following criteria for you to bring up a case.
Criteria for Workplace Sexual Harassment
- You must be offended by actions or comments that are unwelcome. This basically means that you have no claim if you find the comments humorous and welcome. It also means you have no claim if there is a sexual relationship between two consenting parties.
- The comment or action has to be offensive to a reasonable person. A person on the outside has to see the offender as being inappropriate. They must take into account the normal relationship between the individuals as well as how the compliment was given. Things can seem different to different people, so what satisfies this criterion is not always cut and dried.
- The behavior needs to be serious or consistent. The behavior needs to create a hostile work environment. A boss telling you on one occasion that you have to sleep with them to keep your job is enough for a sexual harassment claim. Seeing sexual content on their computer once for a second or two is probably not going to meet this criterion. You may have a claim if they make less threatening comments over a longer period of time.
What to Do Once You Have Decided You Are Being Sexually Harassed
- Speak to your harasser. If possible, tell the offending party to stop. You may be able to stop the harassment here, as the person may not have been aware that their actions were inappropriate. At the very least, you will have made it clear that their actions are unwelcome. This will help in future investigations.
- Follow your company's procedures. Follow any steps your company has outlined for sexual harassment claims. You can typically find these in a handbook or website. They will often advise you to report to a manager or HR. You shouldn't wait too long before reporting an incident. Federal law states that you have 180 days from when an incident occurred to report it. State laws may extend this period.
- Write a formal complaint letter. Speaking to someone in person is good, but your complaint should also be in writing. The letter should include a timeline of all events, details on who said what, and whether or not the behavior is ongoing. You should also mention any concerns you have about the situations, such as if turning down your boss will affect you in getting a pay raise.
- Be prepared to take action. Your issue may be settled if your company if HR acts on your complaint. If they don't, you may need to take alternative actions. You can hire an attorney or file a complaint with the EEOC. You should certainly hire an attorney if you suffer any type of retaliation from your complaint.
Read More From Toughnickel
What to Do Before Communicating with HR
Here are some measures you should take before filing a complaint as well as some things to do as you communicate with an HR rep.
- Know your rights and their limitations. Research your local state employment rights. If you feel you are facing any type of discrimination, look up what laws are in place. Keep in mind that if you work for a small company with less than 15 employees, your employer is exempt from federal discrimination laws. You should also look up your employer's policies. This will allow you to be more prepared when talking with HR. Keep in mind that your complaint has to mention actual harassment or discrimination. You don't have a claim if you feel your boss doesn't like you or if you don't like how they micromanage you. These are not illegal actions.
- Talk to your boss. If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, try having a discussion with your boss. They may not realize they have been unreasonable or offensive. You may be able to settle your issue there and then. At the very least, you can show HR that you tried to solve your problem.
- Record any incidents. Build a case by documenting any instances of discrimination, harassment, or bullying. Speak with a coworker to see if they are willing to be a witness. Ideally, you will want at least three incidents to show a pattern. However, if they do something dangerous, like assault, report them immediately.
- Follow complaint procedure. Make sure to follow any and all protocols for filing a complaint to the letter. You don't want your claim to be thrown out on procedural grounds.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Shonda on February 05, 2020:
We had one hr person and she had her nose in everything. She hung out with some of the staff members outside of work and they got all the good positions. If you did not accept her friend request on facebook you were doomed.
Lizz on December 27, 2019:
Ever have two HR reps talking while you are trying to read their notes, one On each side of you.
As you are correcting their notes, they stop talking , read what you are correcting , answer you questions, then pick up talking where they left off.
Also important here, they sat on each side of me
Unknown on October 17, 2019:
The company has H R but who do the workers have , it’s a shame they make all that money and don’t help the workers .
Yousuf hame on September 19, 2019:
This is very true HR are very unprofessional, and they leave you hanging with no solution.
Unknown on September 09, 2019:
I find this article to be truly disappointing as an HR professional myself, I chose to go into this field to help people. It is ignorant to generalize an entire profession and to minimize the work that we do.
Laurie on September 03, 2019:
My HR sent me an insulting email scolding me for problem behavior. A sales assistant filed a complaint against me that she did not like the way I spoke to her, etc. I sent a rebuttal to her complaint explaining that for the 4th time I was asking her to make a revision and she just kept making additional mistakes. This problem has been going on for months. She doesn't understand what she is doing despite the fact that she has been shown numerous times. I am not her supervisor but do have to check the work she submits. The bottom line is that I spend more time retraining the assistants or correcting their work that I can't finish my job.
The real issue here is the email I got back from my HR. It was horrific in nature where she singled me out with a negative attitude and problem behavior. She doesn't even know me. She even said that my boss told her these things and I got even more upset. They are all lies.
I am planning to forward the email from HR to her supervisor. Her email has definitely created a very hostile work environment.
Delle Conner on August 03, 2019:
Hello, I’m the only female that works with a bunch of men. Almost from the moment of working there, I’d felt singled out. My plant manager has consistently singled me out on numerous occasions. He and my immediate supervisor allow my male coworkers to use my locker room. It’s clearly marked “Women.”
My male counterparts have routinely left pubic hairs all over my toilet seat. They’ve urinated on it also. They use it when they know I’ll be in shortly after them. I’ve notified both my union rep that works here, as well as my immediate supervisor. Both reiterated the need for the men to have access to my restroom. This has been very demoralizing to me. If the tables were turned, 30 women wouldn’t ever complain about a solo male having his own restroom. It’s not my fault that there’s not more females in my industry....yet I’m made to feel less than an equal to the same men I work with.
LeVette on August 01, 2019:
Me and my boss are always bumping heads I refuse to allow him to talk any way to me, as if I was a kid, I am a 52 year old women and he said to me to "show me you a grow women". I said to him, do you realize you just insulted me. He hung up the phone on me. I am so upset because I know our HR department will not do anything. I went there on him before and it got turn around like I was the problem. I don't know what to do because I love the company I work for but I cant be in that department anymore.
Sharon on July 19, 2019:
What do you do if HR refuaes to file an incident report for a work place injury? I approached her 3 times while i was in the hospital. I had to have cervical surgery, 2 diaca removed and a fuaion. On my last phone call with her, asking again about makinf an incident report; she responded "im not aware of any incident". She does not know i have a text if me telling my supervisor that i was calling out aick because i hurt myself tranfering the patient in room 470.
Robert Plantinga on June 03, 2019:
I work for a corporation that owns many semi-independent businesses and locations. Headquarters consists of 2 owners and 1 all-purpose office admin. They all share a single email address. The office admin cannot be emailed separately because there is no separate email address for them.
I didn't know that. I asked the office admin a professional question via email. They answered, and asked me a clarifying question. I replied, clearly and professionally. The next email to come was from the same email address, but it was one of the owners responding, bringing in other issues, putting words in my mouth, and passive-aggressively accusing me of being disrespectful.
It's one thing for an office admin to forward an email to an owner. It's another for it to be known that owners have access to and can monitor employee emails for inappropriate use. But it's still another to think you're having a conversation with one person when, in fact, you're sending email to a shared account, with the other account-users being the owners.
What if it had been a health insurance/HIPAA-related issue that I didn't want the owners to know about?
What if it had been an HR complaint about one of the owners?
aaron on May 08, 2019:
I have been dealing with a person who wanted to start fights and intimidate me. HR done nothing and threatened my job.
Vanmeiji on April 27, 2019:
I got hurt at work due to unsafe work environment last year. I finally return to work at this beginning of this year, I rehurt an my prior injury. HR told me I should have know better and know my restrictions. I came back to work on full duty with no issues. During my talk they said I will be written up or fired if I go against my doctor note or company policies. They say it is all my fault and I was doing my job. Now my boss is treating me like a delinquent over things. I don’t know what to do.
Jackie flitney on March 22, 2019:
I sent an email regards my pay to my line manager, who responded I will arrange a meeting. This has gone to her boss and HR and when I asked if I done something wrong she would not answer except I will arrange a meeting.
I feel awful, I have done nothing wrong to my knowledge
Daneen Pray on January 07, 2019:
I am in need of advice for my full rights. I was involved with a union labor claim being filed, I was not union yet, we lost the claim of unfair termination. I gave many emails and communications showibg examples of exclusion and unfair practice but the union lawyer was not inrested. I worked for 17 years for this company and in all that time 4.80 increase. I never broke 17.00 but was billing OHP, my official job description does not reflect my true duties. I feel like they have been able to throw me away despite my loyalty and hard work. I cared about the mission ststement and how we took care of our clients. Because i was a strong voice and was not afraid to ask questions to a bully director who started out as my supervisor, who also broke policies and promoted her best friend to a supervisor and is now manager 3. With no experience that is listed for that postion. I need someone to help me stop thus company from the injust. They have alrwady ruined me.
Hopeso on December 07, 2018:
One must always remember that they are there to protect the company. If they happen to help you that is just a side effect of them protecting the company. Any liabilities for them caused by you makes you the enemy. In basic terms they are there protect the more valuable asset it may be you on occasions or likely will be a big not. But assuming they are there to help will get you fired or be detrimental to you career. they can be a tool for you at times but be very careful they will make sure the company protected first. Every time I went to HR for an issue thing usually worsen or they were purposeful ineffective. They are only concern with liabilities and not people . The answer is in the name people are just a resource to fill a need. That is the primary purpose to fill spots and protect they company from employee related liabilities. That is their jobs anything beyond that is expecting too much
Branden on November 30, 2018:
This very same thing just happened to me. After an investigation I was told that everything was my fault and HR basically lied on me!
HR Manager on October 25, 2018:
I am a HR Manager. I love my job because I like to help people and facilitate fair respectful treatment of people. I was extremely sad to read this article and all the comments.
Some things to consider:
- Human Resources is a support role to encourage/coach managers, supervisors, leaders, and employees to do the right thing. While the company may pay their salary they are there to help the employee and to help the company do the right thing in regards to their human resources. Stating they are paid to keep the company out of trouble is only a byproduct.
- Human Resources can complete a thorough investigation and based on the findings recommend the best course of action in their professional opinion. In most instances the CEO, COO , or President have the final say in the course of action that is carried out. (Note: a professional HR person will not share that with you).
- There is always more than one side to any story
- To expect and HR person to draw a conclusion with no reasonable doubt when it is one person's word against another, with no witnesses and no evidence is not realistic. We do not have a crystal ball, we do not have surveillance. on phones, cameras, emails etc. Sadly people do make false claims for malicious reasons and a lack of evidence and witnesses will tie our hands to reach a conclusion with no proof.
In closing, I do understand there are some people in the human resource profession who are not good at it. I understand that there are times when human resources will mess up. Stereotyping all human resources professionals is unfair, ignorant, and not helpful to anyone.
I am sorry to those of you, your friends and family who have not had a positive experience with human resources. It truly makes me sad to hear. I hope that you can at least know that not all human resource professionals are the same though.
I agree, keep texts, get witnesses, keep a detailed log. If HR doesn't help you then by all means seek alternatives outside the company. No one should be harassed or discriminated against.
Can't Say on September 24, 2018:
This actually happened to me 2 months ago I now finally understand why I was treated like I was the problem. HR is supposed to listen to you and make sure there is no retaliation. They even tell you that there will be no retaliation but is a lie. I am still looking for another job. They treat me like a leper.
Lola on September 17, 2018:
Wow.. this is exactly what happened to my husband. He has been a manager for 12 years and in the new position he is holding now, there is an employee, who is also a manager in his team, that presents some aggresive behavior in the office and recently towards my husband. This employee has some, according to others in the office, as I have heard my husband's conversations, frustration with the company and wants the company to fire him. My husband took the case to HR after an aggresive situation from this employee towards my husband and guess what? My husband is now the guilty one. HR is totally protecting the toxic and aggresive employee. Now I understand the reason. I won't be surprised if the fired one is my husband. I hope not though.
Jennifer on September 05, 2018:
there is something called Contigent Bullying. for instance an employer set up a meeting to bring up my performance however went down a list of social problems and a medical condition to get me to quit. So she Bullied me out of job. In Texas you can file unemployment for this and even EEOC.
cheers to your health,
MARNA HUBLEY on August 16, 2018:
First of all, take a good honest look the situation, is this person really being a bully, or is it possibly a case of the need to grow a thicker skin? If it truly is a case where the boss is essentially crossing the line, document EVERYTHING! It's a pain, it sucks the life right out of you sometimes, and it takes time, BUT it's your protection. Dates, times, names, and summarization of encounter, dicussion
etc. I just started a document on my laptop (Not my company issued) and updated it daily, no matter how much or little information. This person is not a screamer, but is vindictive and incompetent for the job he is in, so he is a dirty player. I met with HR twice once on a "What if there was a problem with a person who..."basis and again naming his name but just a brief venting of frustration while I was there to find out about a problem with my insurance coverage, kind of testing the waters. Nope. So I have enough documentation to take to a good employment law attorney (Do your research, don't just get any one)We all have areas of where we could improve, but there's an EPIDEMIC of managers out there who abuse their positions and power. And by all means, if you know of a effective manager that leads with integrity, buy that person a cup of coffee because they are rare an invaluable! Parts of this obviously won't work for everyone, but some parts will.
Jacob on July 25, 2018:
So where do we go??
Eve on July 25, 2018:
We don’t have an HR department our manager plays that roll putting us in an unbiased situation. She will side with owner and lie on documentation
Sarah on July 12, 2018:
Can anyone tell me how they resolved their problem with the human resource person being "the problem"? I would like to quit but am not willing to let them bully me into quitting.
Em on June 17, 2018:
I didn't go to HR when my boss continually bullied me - we were HR and she was the HR manager. I eventually resigned to avoid a complete breakdown after she papered my file with complete falsehoods and sent me a performance management letter with not only false allegations but things she had messed up were blamed on me. I never want to work in HR again. It was the most toxic environment I have ever worked in.
Speechless on June 15, 2018:
Wow... this is exactly what happened to me when I filed a hostile work environment..,
Dave on June 14, 2018:
I couldn’t agree more with this article, I was screwed over by HR, they are not there to help you as an employee.
Jimmy on June 12, 2018:
I just work for a major medical company. My supervisor calls me into his office everyday to lay into me for nothing I've done, just cussing me out about everything. I just keep quiet and say nothing and it gets worse. I am don't feel that I can got to HR because I am a new hire. He adjusted my shift so I can be with him all day and it goes on and on. Please can someone advise me? thank you
Kailie on May 30, 2018:
I used to go to Hr alot about all the favouritism in our Department, they of course bring you in, and have a little talk, smile at you and blame you for everything. Now i go about their heads when i want action taken, they go ballistic, and i just sit back and smile....
Ant on May 09, 2018:
I had to go to HR for something my boss and another employee were lying about something and the associate put her two cents in my evaluation. After HR dealt with it, I was ostracized and ignored by everyone at work. It’s a terrible feeling
unhappy on April 19, 2018:
I've had this happen to me as well right after I took a couple of FMLA disability leave of absence for surgery a while ago. I was being targeted and work sabotaged. HR did nothing but tell my manager. Before I went out another leave for another surgery recently, I emailed HR and expressed concerns for going on leave due to the other malicious activities that took place when I was out the last time. She again did nothing. Low and behold I went on leave and came back to my manager fabricating allegations of unprofessionalism and for me supposedly creating a hostile work environment for delegating work to others, when I followed his email and verbal instruction to delegate work to others. Two weeks after my return from the leave, I was fired. Although before I went on leave, I was a star performer. He and HR removed all positive things from my files and left only negative hand written comments. Surprise on them! I started recording my meetings with my manager a couple weeks before I notified him of my upcoming leave and also started forwarding emails of his positive comments just prior and hundreds of kudos to my personal account just in case. I now have a solid case and an attorney! DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!
Dina on March 30, 2018:
Tanya below says that this is 100% b.s-ofcourse she says that, she is H.R.this happens! this is real, I experienced this identical situation at work, it was horrible, I did not deserve it, no one does, it takes a pretty bad situation to contact H.R.,in the 1st place, and it only got worse after that, I was lucky and already had another job set up, so I quit the horrible place, told my co-workers before I left to never go to H.R. for help when it is a harassment situation, only for help with non-complaints. my last meeting with H.R. was also with the manager (supvsr's boss) and they accused me of saying things that I didn't say and turned everything around on me & made me appear to be the harasser!, I had been at that company a lot of years-but I am so glad that I am gone! I wish I would have set my phone to record the meetings, it would have been a law suite! But, I am just glad i'm not there anymore!
Janet on March 21, 2018:
Why do you think being yelled at is illegal in the work place?
Hopeless on March 19, 2018:
It's hard to understand what I did to my boss I am always the first one to volunteer for any task that need to be done. I try and do my job as best as possible. I am her assistant manager but she hates me..I know people think im over exaggerating but she has spread so many rumors about me. I am HR for our store but whenever I have a concern about someone she tells them what I have shared with her. I feel like I am going crazy she does so many little thing that are building up. I can't do my job properly because I can't tell her anything and it sucks.it took me 3 years to go from associate to manager and I feel like she is slowly taking all my hard work away. What do I do? He is a joke I have called before and nothing. It is 2am where I am now and can't sleep because of all the stress and anxiety I have. I feel so beaten down and disappointed.
Sent this to HR person completing an investigation on March 14, 2018:
Can someone explain to me why ************* keeps showing up to a meeting I host that does not involve his operations or employees. I know in the past my manager asked me to invite him, he has never actually showed up until after being notified that I filed an HR complaint against him. This invite is no longer valid due to the current situations. I asked two simple things for HR to ensure while this extensively long investigation is ongoing. That was:
I do not feel comfortable in the same room with him, no matter how many people are present.
I have request no communication other than email.
Please explain why I had to leave my meeting and go home for the day after being put in this incredibly difficult situation. This individual has sexually harassed me, touched me inappropriately, called me demeaning and belittling names, called me false terms of endearment while touching me inappropriately and used forceful actions holding me down against my will. I have asked the individual to stop numerous times and he tries to give “Grumpy Wumpy Mikey a Hug” to make a joke and further my discomfort. He has tried this numerous times after I have said not to. I have filed two HR complaints against this individual and yet No one can take actions to protect the victim and his feelings.
Next email will go to the entire company, to include the president and it will come from my Lawyer.
Mary on February 26, 2018:
I had the sane issue. Our manager got a huge boss fired and threatened to do the same to me and others. Refusing to teach me, which was her job and barating me in front of customers. I was let go without notice or any formal training after I told HR of the issues. They told me I was not good dealing with the public but was never given actual circumstances where I was, nor have I ever had a complaint. Happy to be out of there and have found something much better! HR is crap.
a-employee on December 14, 2017:
my husband is a shift lead where we work and a employee of his threatened him with Violence and our HR department and his direct manager is brushing it under the table. He complained to both moments after it happened, Hr didnt interview people who saw it til 3 weeks later. Another co-worker saw the write up they were "going" to give the person who threatened him and went and told said person, then he went to HR to complain that someone else knew about the situation....now there going to sweep it all under the rug, and say that they dont have enough evidence to believe my husbands side of the story. Now My husbands going to quit cause he doesnt feel safe or backed up at all and near do I .....what do we do...what can we do????
David on December 12, 2017:
I love when HR departments behave in the way you describe. It opens them up to EEOC charges of retaliation and discrimination. Let them act like morons. It only benefits the smart worker in the long wrong.
Leaving my job on December 02, 2017:
Who do you report HR to when they sit quietly by in a meeting while the Executive Director is screaming at the administrative staff? This Executive Director routinely abuses the staff. HR is very much aware of this persons abuse of authority and of staff.
LiveandLearnLauriel on November 08, 2017:
After being self employed for 30 years and running two businesses I had decided to follow my heart into working in healthcare or similar where I could be of service. I took a job at a residential drug rehab center. In short I didn't do it for the money orvthe glamorous (lol) setting. I was over qualified to say the least. My supervisor was thrilled with my work performance and contributions frequently leaving me messages on how I was the anchor of my shift and how he appreciated my work ethic. They were applying for a government contract and with an audit on the horizon frankly their compliance was so bad they'd never have a chance. So he asked me to observe, report and recommend anything needing improvement. I did and I was brutally honest. He always would say it's ok I'd rather know now then in the middle of the audit. I always provided a solution to anything I found. Staff were starting to be offended and dislike me. I knew it was because no one noticed they were being lazy and running the show. I started to uncover things not meant to be noticed. And eventually I suspect that my supervisor got in trouble for digging up dirt and the only way to save himself was to make me the bad guy. It wasn't long after I was being talked to and things brought to my attention that were ridiculous exaggerations or not something I did. I stopped getting all the kudos and I could feel a pressure I was being pushed out. I loved this job and I made a difference. I started getting accused of horrible things when I'm always the most responsible there. When I would get questioned about it I never left feeling like anyone believed me but as if they were building me up into a bad employee. Then a horrible allegation that I was having an inappropriate relationship with a resident client and completely untrue. I was called in my day off and asked if I could come to work. I thought I was covering for someone. When I arrived I was taken into an office and literally interrogated by my supervisor and someone from corporate. It was awful and I was shocked. They stated my story matched that of the client but they asked for my keys and that I was on paid leave until they finished investigation for at least 4 days. I cried the whole way home. Also the entire male clientele of 100 and some 30 staff all knew about this before I did and even our company policy states it only between investigators the accused and the reporter. It escalated to quite the sensationalized scandal. I was called the next day and told since there is nothing else to investigate I can return to work. No much of an apology or anything. I was really nervous returning but tried to act as if nothing happened. However I could walk thru the front door without staff teasing me and making innuendos and jokes. Male clients I had worked hard to earn their respect now handed me their phone numbers. It was horrible and stressful. I asked my supervisor and his superior for help and then put it in writing when nothing was done. I was simply told - it's the way it is around here. They love gossip and soon it will be something else and they will forget. And the staff knows you were cleared of any wrong doings. Well the reporting person was so miffed she wasn't right she avoided me and rallied most of the staff to do the same. I cried in my car every day after work. I was filled with anxiety thinking of going to work. In fact I called in sick quite a bit which I never do. I had requested to view my personnel file to be sure there was nothing derogatory in it about this. I was ignored and put off and finally when I stated they were in violation of the time limit to provide access and I was entitled to the compensation of the fine, I got a response. I also got a call to come in for my 30 day interview (6months late). It was a horrible review. I got 2s out of 10. When I got home that night I got a text message that my boss had not scheduled me and I would be on-call. I had senority but I knew what was happening. Less hours theyvwere hoping I'd quit. So I waited and never got a call for 2 weeks. I emailed HR on 8/15/2917 to ask if my reduction in hours was affecting benefits and she replied I no longer worked there as of 8/9/2017 and didnt I get the termination letter sent out with my final check? No because they mailed it to the wrong address. I updated it which I have HR confirming they got and would take care of. It took another week to get to me. Weird is that on the 8th I told them they were in violation of the personnel file access and as per the labor board a fine of $750 was due and on the 9th they prepare a termination letter? My coworker informed me they were trying to fire me over something and thought they had me on the client code of conduct report but they realized if they fired me over it they would have to discipline the client too and he's a Federal referred placement and you don't kick them out they are big bucks and the Feds don't like them not finishing a program. It's a very dirty place and they usually hire inept staff so they can get away with what they do. They mistake they made was hiring someone who could see what they are up to.
Laking8 on October 26, 2017:
This story sounds almost identical to my current situation. No performance issues until complaining to HR about discrimination for taking maternity and separate medical leave in 2016. Now I'm all of the sudden on formal warning. I've never been on warning for anything and I've worked for this company most of my adult life (over 15 years). No attorney in my town will give me a chance and I have a ton of documentation. I work for a very large corporation; which is probably why no one wants to go up against them. I filed an EEOC complaint but with their high case load, I don't have much hope. I'm looking for another job obviously but it's not easy the leave the company, for my area of expertise.
Melanie on October 26, 2017:
I am and HR manager and I can tell you this is NOT the case at my company. HR balances on a fine line every day between protecting the employee and the employer. Depending onthe situation we lean more towards the employee or more towards the employer and occasionally, we have to total jump off the line on one side or the other. I am in constant battles with the managers of our company on DOL, EEOC, and other employment law departments on what is the right thing to do. When I receive a grievance, I have a process in place that gives the employee the path to resolution. You are characterizing every HR department in this article and it's simply not true for every company.
Cathy on October 20, 2017:
Any employer who brings up performance after a harasment claim is made is getting foolish advise. A retaliation charge is worse than the harassment charge.
Monica on September 28, 2017:
Myself and other employees have witnessed bulling and unfair treatment to this one employee, heard her say its because she wants her gone from the office, how can we back her up. Should i make a complaint?
Tamira on September 18, 2017:
If you at all think that this is happening to you go to EEOC the equal employment opportunity commission will help you out. don't wait to long because that can be used against you by your employer. HRC lawyers can give you information. File a police report so you can have evidence in public record of your concerns about your boss.
Travis on September 08, 2017:
Organize. Get a good union in there to fight for you.
Thomas on September 07, 2017:
So then what should be done?
Bradley on September 05, 2017:
Betty needs to be demoted for her lack luster of professionalism she likes to humiliate people in front of a room full instead its behind closed doors she trys really hard for drama I think she needs anger managent 5701s western okc ok
Jobless for 9 months on August 31, 2017:
this is still totally relevant had this same thing happen to me. had a women manager harass me touching me and asking me to come over to her house to repair her hard drive. went to hr thinking I just need to talk to someone about this. The HR Manager MS. love was friends with the manager and her and her friend sat there and gave me the choice to quit or they would file a forging publics documents charge on me. based on complete bull that i had lied on my resume. i corrected her and the hr lady started to cry and accuse me of being a horrible person. I was not mean or nasty simply stated that she was wrong and that i worked for the company for 10 months. so i asked if i could go. and she told me no i still have to choose between being fired for public forgery or quit. i quit. sadly HR doesn't care about you. HR people dont care about any employee. i had an open case and they threw the book at me for opening a case. because they where friends.
It's their jobs to make you go quietly. they are nasty heartless people never divulge anything to HR they are your enemy. eeoc has my case now. and I am still jobless. No one will hire me because i quit a government job after 6 months and left another after 10 months. I am ruined my skills are dwindling into nothing. I am out of money and It's because someone touched me and I am a male. I cant even provide for the person I love.
Sadverysad on August 02, 2017:
But what do you do about this then? This is my exact story but luckily I have not filed a complaint about my boss YET. I was discussing it today! Best keep my mouth shut with the slimy HR but what do I do??? Help!
Sam on July 31, 2017:
But... where do you go then?
Anna Goldberg on July 13, 2017:
I need to get consultation about how HR poorly handled the case with hostile environment . My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanya DuPras on July 12, 2017:
I'm an HR Manager and that is fundamentally untrue - you can simply ask any of our hundreds of employees if I've fixed their issues with management and I have. This is BS 100%
Andrea Mann on June 09, 2017:
Help! One of my harrasers at work just made a complaint to hr and wrote in an email and ccd his assistant He knew i made harrassment complaints before (his friend / colleague charged me came within a cm of my face and told me i wasnt safe in front of witnesses - yes i made a complaint and what you described was exactly what happened and made things worse for 7 years now.) HR called. Isnt it illegal to share confidential HR info? Do i need to respond to hr and the 'complaint' (i told him ccing his assistant while berating / accusing me was inapropriate)? Do i have a legal recourse? Can i just ignore hr?
Anonymous on May 29, 2017:
This article is SO TRUE. My previous work did just what this article warns. Disgusting.
Linda on May 24, 2017:
I have been discriminated against at my place of employment. I fought basically on my own to get my shift back. I did a lot of research on our policies and documented everything. I now am up against being manipulated into giving mu supervisor copy of my ADA request form with all my information on it. In turn, my manager used tje information on the form to try and have me fired. I believe this os a hipaa violation. As well, my personal information has been shared with coworkers one coworker I have had complaints about in the past, is sharing my i information with people in other departments. Is this something I can take to EEOC?
XXZZXX on May 13, 2017:
Great advice but what do you do when your HR director is the one creating a hostile work environment for you and is an abuser? This HR director undermines her managers in front of their employees. Team knows that they can run to her and complain and get their way. She changes rules in the middle of projects putting many at risk. She changes plans 10 minutes before a meeting when she's had a week to prepare.
Everyone refers to her by Queen and then her first name.
sheila on April 29, 2017:
I have experienced something very similar to this situation in my 10 years of working in a corporate environment. This is my sixth corporate job in 10 years. I left every single one of those jobs because of something political/unethical happening. I was fired from one of those jobs and "laid off" from another back to back. I have hope each time with each new job that things will be different, but each time it is the same or gets worse.
I was really happy at my 5th corporate job because I had a super supportive boss who was a very decent human being. When our department got a new department head, guess who was the first person they wanted gone? They took me away from my favorite boss I've ever had and had me work under them. Then they ignored me and basically put me in a corner. I was then ostracized by everyone. It's so crazy because right before that department head came there, I was getting awards, given more work, and being told I was doing a really good job. I was devastated that someone would just take me from a boss that I got along with so well.
I left that company and started working at my 6th corporate job. Two months into the new job and one of my co-workers files an HR complaint on me. This set me into a bit of a deeper depression. I was still trying to get over what happened at my 5th corporate job and bam this happens.
I was a little bit more confident this time around in dealing with the situation because the co-worker who complained on me had started to show his true colors to everyone around the office. The thing that surprises me though is how he has managed to survive despite all of the antics he pulls on a daily basis. Despite the fact that this guy is a narcissistic trouble maker, they still went through with a formal investigation. It was absolutely ridiculous. I kept thinking I was going to wake up from the nightmare. Despite all of that, I managed to get through it and come out on the other side keeping my job, as well as him keeping his job also. Everything had been better for 2 months since then because my boss buffered the situation a lot (even though she did not take my side during any part of the investigation).
My boss goes on maternity leave 2 weeks ago and guess who immediately starts up on me again? Yep, he went to HR on me and he went to the guy who is our reporting supervisor while my boss is out on maternity leave. I didn't do anything and he made up things about me. He lies all of the time. I feel like he was waiting until she went on maternity leave so he could go for his final "kill" of destroying my reputation at work.
There is a part of me that is not worried at all because anyone with any kind of sense would know exactly what this guy is up too. So there is a part of me who is super confident I will come out of this with no ding on me and they will see right through him. BUT, then I remember that this is a corporate environment where up means down, left means right, and people behave unethically even when they know what is right or wrong. So, the part I'm worried about is their actions about the situation. I will find out on Monday and I have a lot of anxiety about the situation because I've experienced so many bad situations from HR and corporate work environments. These things never go well. I will probably come out of the situation with keeping my job, but my reputation will be damaged for no good reason!
This just has to stop! There has to be a way to make things better in corporate environments. A large percent of our jobs in America are in corporate work environments. We need more laws protecting us. I don't know what the solution is. This has happened to me in my last 6 jobs, and after reading what has happened to all of you, it sounds like this is very common.
Gus G-T on April 25, 2017:
My experience with My boss and HR exactly , sad and shameful .
Freeman on April 16, 2017:
Bitter sweet moment here. It's good to learn you're not alone in dealing with similar unfortunate issues, but sad that some HR managers are wicked. After reporting a hostile situation to an HR rep involving an co-worker, I was told that the employee I reported no longer works at the company, and that my work experience should get better.
Problem here is that the employee I reported did not leave the company, but was promoted to a new role as
supervisor. And guess what happened next?
Sherly on April 04, 2017:
my cousin was grabbed by a man to go into a small room at work and said NO as she pushed away from the man grabbing her. She went to HR and they said they had no proof and brought back the guy. How the fuck does this happen?????????????
MFrasier on April 03, 2017:
I'm going through it also,I got terminated and the supervisor lied about his reason for terminating me.I tried to speak to human resources but they not trying to help me is there anything I can do because I'm not going to let them get away with that.
Wits end on April 02, 2017:
I am currently going through the exact same thing. I used to love my job and now the thought of going makes me litteraly sick to my stomach. Humiliated and laughed at every day and i cant afford to quit everyone has ostroszized me cause I wont just suck it up. They enjoy his jokes i guess it is im so alone seems like death is the only answer.
JGirl on March 30, 2017:
I filed a complaint for being sexually harassed and when I told HR what my boss said and did I was told I have to write it up and hand it to her or my case would be closed against the sexual harasser. I told her I'm worried that's my boss she said oh retailiation is against the law so don't worry they can't do anything. Lol, now my boss is filing a complaint against me saying I said inappropiate things at work that I never said. Oh and the lady from HR tried to intimidate me and slandered my resume right infront of my other boss. Real professional behavior.
pinkybaby36 on March 27, 2017:
I had the same exact thing happen to me 6 years ago. I waited through the years where we got new management but same HR person. She turns a blind eye all the time. My issue now is my paychecks are always short. It takes weeks to fix. I tried to tell them and my emails get ignored. I know if I call the labor board they will somehow find a way to remove me. It's so frustrating.
Rosa Montenegro on February 17, 2017:
I just went to HR thinking they will be such a help but I lost HR didn't have my back at all they was for the employers. I file a Formal Complaint on Retaliation against my Manager I told my Director of my department on what had happen to me on a meeting that we had a day before I reported the issue we had a meeting with the Manager on a conference call on the phone with me and 4 other employees the topic of the meeting was about the OR department which I do work at a hospital the manager was saying that the OR was not being clean correctly which I always saw the floor tech using a disposable mops for each OR room when they really was suppose to use floor machines in each rooms. So I stared to answer to the Manager that since day one I started working there I only saw the floor tech using mops I never saw the machines in the rooms machines where always use only in the hall ways, so in his response he said to me this is not Puerto Rico and its not 1942 he knows that am Puerto Rican which the meeting had "Nothing" to do with my nationality and my parents place of birth and ancestry origin. which Puerto rico are american citizens. so the next day my Manager text my personal cell phone telling me that he was doing an investigation about a complaint against me a month ago that I was found sleeping on the job and he needed me to write a written statement which I did write it and gave it to him on the next day of returning back to work, he also stated to me that there was another complaint on a room that was not clean properly which all this was in Retaliation because I told on him. so the day I went to the HR meeting both Director & Manager lied to HR that I never went to the director and the manager said he never said that to me in the meeting, so HR claim they did there own investigation and spoke to all parties whom was at the meeting but out of 4 employees and me in total of 5 only 2 got question 1 of course was the supervisor which he had covered up for the manager & the other 1 was the floor tech which he told me himself that HR question him but he explain to HR that he didn't want no involvement because he was scare that he will be targeted in retaliation like they did me. HR said that all parties that was in the meeting said they never heard the manager saying this is not puerto rico and its not 1942. so now HR says to me lets move on and let the past be the past I look at that HR lady if looks can kill I would had buried her with my eyes I was so much in shock I couldnt believe what she was telling me but she was more worried about me sleeping in the room saying we dont tolerate employees sleeping at the job which I was never sleeping at the job thats another case to explain. can someone advise me what else can I do to catch these cover ups who swept the Retaliation complaint under the Rug.
becca on January 29, 2017:
This is what happened to me.my boss was talking all day about his sex life and I got tired went to hr and I couldn't prove it.now I still have to workb with the creep.and will probably lose my job
ppddc on January 24, 2017:
this is so true my husband just was done the way you described and he was fired about complaining of work conditions and that his boss would write nasty emails to him . he also complained because he was made to change hours for what they call a contractors but they carrier workers comp on them and they have time sheets for them .I sent as many emails as I could to my personal emails but they turned his emails off . he was hurt on a job and that's why he complained about working conditions . they said he never turned it in, he tried to do workers comp and they denied him.
Mikeyin on December 05, 2016:
Ok so im a union worker and opted out my med benefits since i have my own insurance. Tge problem is that even though i did this, money is still being taken out of my checks for it and ive never even recieved a medical insurance card. Theyve deducted more than 700 dollars so far. I called hr and they said i never opted out and its not in theyre computers even though i have proof i opted it out on mypath.com. which is the sote i go to for my job. Who do i turn to now?
Mel on December 01, 2016:
Valentine14, I am sorry that you had to experience that. Words do hurt, but don't let that person drag you down. They just have to pick on someone to build themselves up, they are no one special.
Valentine14 on November 10, 2016:
I was mistakenly emailed by a Manager whom was emailing other Managers in the office. This Manager was making fun of me and she wrote " Is she on drugs" she was referring to me, I got a copy. I was deeply humiliated.
zootopia2016 on November 03, 2016:
What if the one that is doing the bullying is HR?
IssueAtWork on October 12, 2016:
If HR dosen't back people up, who would I go to? I just started a new job. I've only been working there 2 days, with today being my second day.
Today my boss instructed me that she has two "pet peeves". One of the pet peeves, she said, is "To go over my head to corporate for any complaints" and to "Keep that in mind". This is only my second day and I feel threatened. should I be worried? she's also not giving us our breaks, and I had one other employee tell me that we don't get breaks there. I work at a gas station. What is your advice?
nat on October 11, 2016:
this thing happened to me yesterday. last month i had to report 2 guys from my team who treated me like i don't know a thing. i have acquired a masters degree in technology. after reporting this to my hr and my other superiors, they put me with those guys in the same team.later, i wanted a few days off because my grandmother expired but they made me to join back earlier. after this the company threw a party, eating at the party made me sick. and it took me around 3 weeks to recover. after this the same thing happened to me which you people have described here. now no one want to work with me .i am just a trainee who joined this company 4 months ago. after joining this company they made me to relocate myself nearer to the office. as a consequence i got sick because of the water supplied in that area and wanted leaves. now i have come back to my place and travel for 5 hrs a day (to & fro). i have discussed this situation with the superiors, they still keep asking me to relocate myself. now i want to leave it but they made me sign a bond at the time of joining that if i leave before the said term i will have to pay about 2 years of my salary but if they terminate me they won't be paying me back. i don't have the bond's copy, also they didn't submit my original documents. can u suggest me something... i have got totally numb.
Sarah on October 07, 2016:
HELP!!!!! I have a lawsuit against a billion dollar global company because of my direct boss, head of Global HR. May we talk a bit more in detail?
The link is to case in Riverside, CA. My email is Sarah.Lozano.HumanResources@gmail.com
Thank you in advance.
Jan on October 01, 2016:
I really regret contacting H.R. now. I wish I never did. I was bullied by my boss and they did nothing but try to throw me under the bus with lies that boss has invented along the way. Trust me H.R. doesn't care about their employees.
Martha Widra on September 29, 2016:
This happened to my son, who works at the same place that I do, but in a different department. His boss is known to be a bully, and his rants to employees are even audible in the hallway outside the shop. The HR person was sweet and smiling, but he walked out of the joint meeting thinking he was going to be fired at any moment. Sending him a link to this article helped him understand what happened and feel better about himself. Keep posting advice for people who have toxic bosses.
Ana on September 28, 2016:
Oh my God!!!!it is so true!!!this just happened to me...I reached out to H.R. thinking they were there for me..the employee!!!but they turned everything around and fired me for letting them know my concerns..
pb on September 21, 2016:
There are people on the flip side of this too who are falsly accused. Yes - there are some bad HR departments, but there are also some crap employees.
hil1121 on September 07, 2016:
So I am struggling with this same thing and I am finding out that I am not the only person that this has happened to. What can I do to make this stop. Is there anything I can do the beat them at this game. I want to be the one that stands up to the bully.
Kathy on September 05, 2016:
I was forced to quit my ODSP job after 12 years of employment at a multicultural workplace. I tried to say no to a job that I was pushed to take on. I didn't want to take the job because she already had an assistant, I didn't think it was fair to offer me the work, when this person already had help. Instead of realizing this, I was offered paid work and stupidly took the assignment. It was easy enough, entering surveys on line, when it came time to be paid, she didn't want to pay me. She screamed at me the day before christmas eve for asking a question. I was a disabled employee, who was told the other department would be paying me, so went to the other department for that. I should of realized this wasn't true. I really believed in this organization and after this, lost faith in them altogether. I was badly treated after being paid and other people that were her partners there began to intimidate me when I was at work. When I spoke to human resources, she said that the person I did the assignment for 'wouldn't do that to me' after she watched it happen. I was in shock. Shortly after human resources told me that 'things wouldn't be the same for me anymore' and the executive director called me back and discouraged me from coming back to work. This after 12 years of employment, I was fired for asking to be paid for the paid work I was promised, in a workplace where 'everyone matters'. Still shocked by this and it had been some time since I left. I was able to write to the minister of labour and he visited this workplace. They don't follow their own policies, and tend to operate on the principle of giving permanent staff privileges.
Jenna on August 31, 2016:
I filed a sexual harassment and the dept sexual discrimination, its been almost a month and still no decision has been made and the president has gone on vacation to Italy for 2 week and says he will deal with it when he gets back. The boss is still working and is bully us and can't focus worse yet it affecting my health. what do I do? I have a seizure disorder.
jason on August 20, 2016:
the HR director just told me the verbal abuse i received from a supervisor was obviously made up and did not happen after letting my talk about it for 5 minutes
Kelly on August 17, 2016:
I am in need of help. I am an HR department of one for a small company. I recently learned a team member has inappropriate feelings for me that he has expressed to multiple members of the company. He asked one team member if she would "do me" and went on to accuse her of being in a sexual relationship with me. Even though I am happily married he has reportedly asked several team members what his chances (relationship) are with me. I have never given any indication that I am remotely interested in him. In addition, he reportedly knew where I used to live and would drive past my house to see if I was home/out. He disclosed this fact to other team members. After learning of these facts, I took the information to the owner, told him I am uncomfortable and because I am personally involved I cannot be part of any investigation and asked that he follow up with the team members that have heard these comments or are aware of the actions. He spoke to one person (the women that was asked if she would "do me") and then did no additional follow up other employees. He passed it off to the director of operations. The director of operations did not interview any team members. He decided to offer a last chance agreement to the employee in question. The employee asked who made the allegations (which was not disclosed) and then refused to sign the agreement. He still works there and the director of operations is actually wanting to promote him. I feel as though the company now looks at me as a troublemaker for bringing this to their attention. In addition, the co-worker that brought all of this to my attention is extremely nervous to come to work and has to interact with this worker on a regular basis. We are both concerned for our safety and extremely disappointed in the lack of response from ownership. I have no idea what to do next. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
S on August 09, 2016:
Yep. Don't trust HR. Thank you for this article.
Jim on August 02, 2016:
Same happened to me
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on July 28, 2016:
My second try at a comment.
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on July 28, 2016:
Be of good cheer. It is hard for the world not to notice what you are trying to express. Working people are trying to get your experience in the public domain. I do understand from personal tragedy.
John Wilsdon on July 28, 2016:
Here is the classic problem with the Naziesque HR department. Anybody who claims discrimination is believed. We are a nation of whiners. Complaints mirror a bell-shaped curve. We are at the far right of the curve. When enough are hurt without merit, the whiners will be vacated. Sorry, but it is just a matter of time. Hang on unfortunate soul.
punkman71 on July 27, 2016:
I am on the flip side of this and I hope HR does the right thing. I have been wrongfully accused of harassment/bullying. The guy who turned me in has made comments in the past about how I'm "fire-proof" and how he would like to see me fired. I am not in management, but am a grunt just like him. I don't understand why he is doing this. I hope that HR makes the right determination. I have21 years of service and have never been in trouble before. I am so stressed about this. With my level of education and in my work field, I couldn't find another job that even comes close to what this job pays. I understand the need for policies against workplace harassment, but I fear for my livelihood.
mckenzie on July 27, 2016:
STORY OF MY LIFE ITS AS IF THEY WERE ReADING EXACTLY WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME!
Debra on July 04, 2016:
Mine is a little bit different in that it was a supervisor offer a training class. I'm a new hire. I went to her asking to be put in another class because the Dynamics in the classroom had gotten so out of hand I couldn't concentrate and couldn't learn. She insisted on knowing who's the names of the people were. I didn't want to tell her cause I knew that would not end well. She pushed it so reluctantly I gave her the names. She then said she was going to call each of them into her office and talk to them about it. I asked her not to more than once. She ignored me and it definitely went from bad to worse to the point that they said it was offensive for me to test my blood sugar which I don't even do every day. And also make me not asking me questions after I have to leave the room but yet they're asking that I get a room reserved so that I can test my blood sugar so basically if I have her have to test I have to leave the room and cannot get myself caught up when I return. It's total retaliation and it could have been avoided. So it makes me wonder if she did it on purpose and ignored me knowing that would happen so that it would be so distasteful that I would resign on my own. It really ruined my entire weekend and that was another thing she said she had to see me in front of the class and with the people she pulled in she sent him an email. And a few other things but I think the point has been made you just buy that one event and there's been more than one in our interactions. If she does just enough things right or seemingly nice that it's mixed up enough that I can't call her on it with her manager and HR.
Needing Help on May 18, 2016:
The scary thing about all of this is when you work in HR. I work in HR with a genuine desire to help people. I thought I was coming on to a good organization. I wasn't even LOOKING for a job, but they aggressively recruited me and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. My prior employer tried to get me to stay, even offering a salary increase and a stay bonus.
I was stupid. My new boss has been awful to work for. She's unresponsive, I haven't been able to get ANY direction on areas she wanted me to do work in where I had no prior experience. Goals are supposed to be set within the first month. My termination date is next month and I will have been here 8 months with no goals.
Her reason for my termination is attendance (I had a family emergency combined with illness that had me out a week in Feb, a house fire in early April that left me homeless for a night until the insurance could put me in a hotel, and 3 days after that, the grandmother that raised me died - it's now mid-May). She also cited that our communication styles don't work and I am not meeting her expectations. It's hard to meet expectations when I don't have any set for me and I can't get responses or direction.
There were several other instances where things were just bad. During a breakout, she asked plainly, "What's wrong with your face?" Another incident involved her deciding to have a conversation with me after hours that turned to racial issues and she told me that white people don't understand the struggle of being black in America. I'm white and she's black, which I was never concerned about, but talk about inappropriate??
During all of my struggles, I told my boss about my Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, for which I've been hospitalized in the past. My reasoning was to take a day to seek help because I told her I was on the verge of ending up back in the hospital.
I've been given 30 days to focus on a job search and documenting my procedures and I'm not sure what to do. I wrote a long letter to a Partner of the Firm explaining all of the things that have been going on and how I've been commended for my work and asked for severance and to not owe for vacation - I don't even want my job. They can have that. I also pointed out that the Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are now covered by the ADA, which I doubt she knows because she doesn't stay up to date on changes.
What else can I do??
whatisgoingon on May 13, 2016:
Before, i starting my story. People with mental illness, they get security guards and try to put you a crazy person situation and let you go that way. and let you go and claim you did something serious.
I have the same situation. My manager put so many rules specifically for me. I reported my disability along with complaining about my manager. Next day i went work and I did not see any replies. I was surprised. And couple seconds, the page was blocked. It was saying no access, it was huge red circle and saying i was blocked. I asked other employees of my company, they had no issue. Working at client site as an employee of a contractor company.
I knew the manager would walk soon to fire me. I went to the other building. I wrote couple lines saying i was blocked from the page and when i sent out emails from my personal email, i got blocked message back. The fax is the same story.
There was a guy standing by and i asked his help and he scanned my note and sent to my manager, who would fire me through the client. The client is department of something. I went back to my desk couple minutes i was shaking, then tried again and i was unblocked. and the manager who turned to Zombie walked by she was super nice and talking affectionately to a crazy person, me. because of my mental illness. She did not get to fire me because of gov agency.
The other manager came and talked to me and he was nice. I told him i did not pure complain about my manager. I explained him my disease and i told him i was not comfortable to telling that to the other manager. i told him all i needed, was little flexibility.
He started to say maybe i did not have the skills on my resume maybe they need to check. He said maybe department of ... is not a place to work for me.
i came home and took medical leave. My friend told me took as much medical leave as possible because they would fire me. I did not listen.
That happened to me. They made people go to a meeting but made me come early. There was a taxi waiting and they told me i should go home because i did not look ok, which is bullshit. When i stepped into the office I saw the security guys. I wanted to my dr because i was scared. They asked my keycard and employee id.
I escaped to the other building. My manager was yelling catch her, catch her. anyway, they took my id and keycard, but department of whatever guy heard my voice and came. The security guy started to yell, "ma'm do not touch me." I was not touching him. Anyway someone came and i explained him that after i mentioned about sick leave , they were firing me. but i was scared of what they did. I gave my key and id and left security guys behind and took that taxi home.
Next day, they contacted me and said they will give me sick leave. A day after, i got a letter saying i had 2 days to apply for short term disability and my employment was ending by the end of the week which is end of the pay period. I called short term disability benefit they say, the HR will contact them and they will get paper filled out from my side. I do not know what they can do not give me the short term disability.
Their reason to fire me is i did not perform well on the job and i showed up before i was healthy enough.
Kitty on May 12, 2016:
So what is the solution? I've been going though this with my HR for the past 2 years nothing has changed my work environment is still the same hostile! I've saved emails and documents I case the fired me I will have proof the file a lawsuit but I'm doubt they will fire me cause they know I will sue. I'm thinking about taking a stress leave since I'm not having panick attacks and the doctor put me on anti anxiety meds - please let me know what advice you can give me
Gene Green on May 05, 2016:
Hey Undercover lawyer, I like the article. I've been in a situation before like many describe here where good old boys club was mandatory for our department which was very detailed work.
But the thing that was scary about it was that we had to work as a team and if the rest of the people there wanted to turn their back on you just because they didn't like you, they could and no one would hold them accountable. This had happened to someone that I worked with when the work wasn't coming together correctly. A person that my coworker had to rely on for the work to be finished, would fire back saying that the work wasn't right and would make himself unavailable after each issue was corrected. After my coworker left the company that person turned their habits to me. I would get blamed for the other person stalling the process even when there was clear documentation that they were preventing the work from getting out. My boss would do nothing and even blame me for not confronting the guy. I wasn't management, so it wasn't up to me to get the guy to do his job. I hear someone say once, that if you get mad at work, it's no one else's fault you're mad but yourself. Doesn't matter if the person you're mad at is always late, or you don't like something else about them,
Lynn on November 04, 2015:
Boy this is my story. Going back and forth about HR.... Quitting, waiting. I will file a grievance to the EEOC. I was advised by a lawyer to do this. But where are the lawyers that can help? Your article is perfect.
email@example.com on June 19, 2015:
I was recently "let go", for reasons that they say i violated the attendance policy. If that was the case, i would have been let go a lot sooner. My fear at my job was i knew my cell lead and some senior employees were jealous because i sprang quikly from their hold and started to train in another area. Therefore, a week and a half after my successful review from.my supervisor(who just left to a different position), I was let go. Wish i had known how to protect myself.
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on May 22, 2015:
Staples allows its managers to use zero tolerance procedures and staff can not find out who filed the complaint. I was fired by them in Bridgewater Nova Scotia for touching staff. I was not allowed to know who filed the complaints and so could not defend myself.
The local lawyer confirmed that this type of incident is common place. The truth is as an IT graduate I was better qualified to be the stores technology supervisor than the guy who was given the job. It turns out that the store Manager was sleeping with the person she gave the job to.
The brother of that person also worked for the store in the same department. Both of these things were sack able offenses by the Manager. We found out later about this when the technology supervisor was boasting to my wife and I about his affair.
You are right HT will not help you in these cases. Staples did fire the Manager however on the same day! as they fired me. It turns out one of the female employees complained about the Manager to HR using an anonymous reporting the company has. In this case she got what she deserved.
HR did reveal to me that I had been reported by both sexes. The Manager and boyfriend spring to my mind. The reason? If she were fired I was likely to be in line to manage the store. If this happened I would get access to all of her files and the true picture of all her misdeeds including why she appointed him and not me to the supervisors job. I applied for and had been given the job of third key (effectively being third in line after the Manager and her deputy).
I have a hub on work place bullying too so I wish you well in the work you are doing. Thank God there are people like you trying to correct these issues.
Jordyn on October 20, 2014:
On October 4th, a coworker threatened my life. I immediately filed a report with HR the following Monday (the incident occurred on a Saturday) and this is the sad conclusion, after being reassured, smiled at, told their investigation was going very well and thoroughly, etc.:
After a year at S*****s, my duties have come to a close. HR called in and I was called into the office with my GM present to talk to the HR rep. What happened next can only be described as an ambush. They undermined everything I had ever said anywhere. It was a beautifully orchestrated, thought out character assassination. That lady deserves a raise. Truly going above and beyond in terms of protecting S*****s' interests. She stopped just short of directly calling me a liar, carefully wording everything to as to avoid slander while making me feel like I was the person in the wrong. I confronted her with this character assassination and she replied, "What is it that I'm saying that is untrue? I'm only speaking facts." Which was true. She let me come to the conclusions about what she was saying on her own. Bravo. Well done. You win. I quit.
Also, something I feared would happen, my manager altered his statement after I submitted mine (I submitted mine during the weekend, when the report was to be filed with HR on Monday, which in retrospect was a dumb move) to make me look as if I was presenting the situation in some other light. In his statement that I saw before I submitted mine, he said he saw the other employee become visibly upset and then he pulled him aside. The HR rep said he said that the employee became "visibly confused," and then used that detail to undermine my entire statement. Again, bravo, ladies and gents. You really did your jobs well. Long live capitalism.