Grievance Upheld. But what now ?

(38 Posts)
Oblomov Wed 05-Jan-11 13:18:45

I had a grievance at work. Flowery wrote me the most fantastic 3 page letter. Eventually, after 3 months of chasing, I got a response.

Their letter was 3 lines long.

Upheld. That my manager has been asked to re-write my job descrption, which can be discussed at my imminent appraisal, re more challenging work that I had 'requested'.

No reasons for upholding it. No recomemndations.

And actually I didn't specifically ask for more challenging work. I just used that as an arguemnt in discusssion: I have always performed well, nothing been said before, I have asked many times for more challenging work, and more work .. thus that pooh-poohs your comment that my performance capability is in question.

It all seems naff. And a cop out.

But is it up to me, my responsibility to come up with a list of what I want done ?
But why is this all down to me ?
I did nothing wrong. was discriminated against, bullied and not managed properly. The senior manager who helped me fight my case has it in writing that it has been agreeed that the "core problem is that her manager is a crap manager and has mismanaged her".

So why is it up to me to do all the sucking up and requesting ? I don't even know what I need to put this situation right.

scurryfunge Wed 05-Jan-11 13:23:04

Sounds like they are setting themselves up nicely to bully you further. Be prepared now to be over loaded with work so that will confirm their original capability question. Get representation (are you in a union?) and record absolutely every communication with them.

Oblomov Wed 05-Jan-11 13:32:32

My thoughts exactly scurry.
They have taken this opportunity to change my job description, and they will then have grounds ot say thta I can't do it. Which plays right inot the eir hands, becasue they never had this chance before, because I performed 3 out of my 4 tasks well, 'improved' was noted on my last appraisal.
I see it as underhanded and their way of getting what they originally wanted. To get rid of me.
But when i mentioned this to someone, he just thought this was very negative and pessimistic.

StillSquiffy Wed 05-Jan-11 13:42:25

What are the key details of your complaint? did you have a list of points made?

You should go back to them asking how they will address each of your individual points now that your grievance has been upheld.

They are copping out and you simply need to lob it back to them. If they don't address your issues adequately then they are just adding more evidence against themselves that you can use in the future if need be. It's their problem and you just need to (politely) give it back to them.

Oblomov Wed 05-Jan-11 21:24:14

Thank you squiffy.
Yes you are right. It is the wording of the letter that I am concerned about. Tis not my forte.

I haven't even raised the issue of the unacceptable way he talks to me, yet.

I am not even sure its worth it.
Have checked jobs. None part time. All half my current salary.

Sorry. Just a bit fed up.

Heroine Wed 05-Jan-11 23:41:34

Sorry to hear this - if the substance of your grievance was inadequate management and/or bullying behaviour under say a harassment and bullying or dignity policy, this it is what I would call 'wholly inadequate'.

It looks like they have not responded to your grievance but yet, perversely, they have upheld it.

They are also giving all the power back to the same manager to decide 'at an appraisal' (i,e not in response to the grievance at all - they are asking you to do what you would normally do) with the caveat that he has to re-write the job description.

This sounds very much like what you suspect i.e that a higher level of responsibility will be given to you without extra resources or reward.

If I am right, you weren't simply saying 'I want more responsibility' were you? so if they are responding like this they are deliberately misunderstanding your grievance - i.e. also not addressing it.

I would either:

1. write back and say something like thank-you for your decision to uphold my grievance about inadequate management and bullying behaviour. I do not consider that the sanctions placed on the manager represent a proportional outcome to the breach of trust that has been imposed on me by my manager.

I am now formally appealing your decision to impose disproportionately lenient sanctions on the basis that the sanctions do not adequately address the issues raised in my original grievance letter, despite the grievance being upheld. I will submit my full appeal to (x correct next level) within (x days as specified by policy).

If you get to tribunal with an upheld grievance but a seemingly irrelevant action/sanction it will be automatically unfair.


2. write back and say clearly that:

1. My original grievance related to inadequate management and bullying behaviour in breach both of the trust expected between employee and management, and of the dignity at work/harassment and bullying policy. I do not consider that your response addresses all the points raised by me in my original submission and that the sanctions are whilly inadequate given the seriousness of the actions against me. Though I appreciate the decision to uphold my complaint that the manager was acting in a way that should be considered harassing and bullying, because the sanctions are inadequate, I cannot therefore accept that my grievance, though it was upheld, can be considered to have been adequately addressed. I am now a)escalating this grievance to x level to ensure that a full a fair consideration of the issues can be made. or b) resubmitting my grievance with additional evidence (including this response if it is from that manager)

- then state in this re-raised grievance 1. This grievance is against x (managers name) 2. This grievance is about the harassing and bullying behaviour experienced and upheld on the (date) by (names of the panel/managers responding. 3. is in addition to the grievance component (ideally numbered in your original submission or quote) 'I am willing and able to take on additional tasks' that was specifically addressed in the outcome of the upheld grievance on the (date). 4. I wish sanctions and actions to be taken on the following components as follows:

1. Withdrawal of Management support
- appropriate target setting, clear definition of scope of role, and appropriate management communication in a series of monthly meetings also attended by HR
2. Denial of access to training
- attendance and time away given to attend.. ...
3. Lack of access to development roles and opportunities
Manager must work with me, with HR approval to discuss routes into promotion positions

etc etc

(then do that!).

This sounds like a 'pat her on the head, and she'll go away (the 'toss a biscuit' solution) don't wear it. I bet this was sent to you/written by the manager the grievance is against and if so they clearly don't understand the gravity or legal implications of your manager being such a tool.

If the next level up is sensible, they will pick this up immediately, and think the manager is a total tool for ignoraing the substance of the grievance and thereby increasing the legal exposure of the company. - if they are crap and in cohoots, you will have an easy and painless win at tribunal, but the mgr will probably get a swift and sharp kick in the nuts from the HR director before you get there.

(Don't panic about tribunals etc btw - many people go to them and continue work perfectly happily the moral highground here is that you have been reasonable and it is the managers/grievance hearing people who have screwed up).

Heroine Wed 05-Jan-11 23:48:38

btw if your manager wants to get rid of your for capability reasons, bullying is not the way to do it - its expensive, cowardly and counterproductive - you have an appraisal system, and a verbal, written warning, dismissal approach no doubt (and probably performance management guidelines that state EXACTLY how to manage poor performance) and if he hasn't followed these you can reasonably assume your performance is not the issue - if it is, and he should have followed those procedures he is at fault not you anyway - how can you improve if you had no idea that you weren't performing!...

I would guess this is either incompetence (if you are being forgiving) or direct harassement - both of which you should feel no sadness about - it usually means a) you have more integrity than you think and it shows more than you think and b) you unsettle him because you can see through him. Being harassed is no bigger signal that your manager has recognised your ability!

Heroine Wed 05-Jan-11 23:50:33

oh yes and get union support if you haven't already.. they wil be invaluable in determining a rute through this (obviously my advice above may not relate as well as I might think to you).

flowery Thu 06-Jan-11 09:43:54

Hi Oblomov

I agree with Squiffy, write back asking how they intend to address your specific concerns.

However in answer to your question about whether it's your responsibility to come up with what you want, I actually think to an extent it is. It's fair enough if someone raises a grievance to ask them to state what outcome they actually want, so while you should write asking how they plan to address your concerns, you should also give some thought to what you would like them to do.

If you want some 'sanctions' placed on your manager as Heroine suggests, think about what you would like those to be.

Heroine I have to say I am concerned at some of your advice. You say if on appealing the grievance Oblomov doesn't get any change in the outcome, she will have an 'easy and painless win at tribunal'. I think that's an incredibly irresponsible thing to say anyway, given your very very limited knowledge of Oblomov's case (unless you have been in touch with her privately) but especially when you do not give any indication what legal claim you think she has so clearly. What law do you think will have been broken if her employer don't place sanctions on her manager?

You also say 'If you get to tribunal with an upheld grievance but a seemingly irrelevant action/sanction it will be automatically unfair.' What will? Again, what claim do you think will be so easily won?

Heroine Thu 06-Jan-11 11:26:15

An ET should judge quickly that if a grievance has been raised about bullying and harassment as this seems, yet the result seems to point to the greivance being misinterpreted as being only about a desire for more challenging tasks only, it will be easy to demonstrate that the substantive components of the original grievance have not been adequately of fairly considered. If the panel want to dismiss the substance and drive of the original grievance they must staate their reasoning and justification for doing so - and this would contradict the 'upheld' verdict, so I think they are pretty stuffed on whether the grievance has been fairly considered.

I don't have detail, but I do know that ETs are very intolerant of employers messing employees around and performing wholly inadequate dismissals of serious allegations.

I'm not saying a 'win' will generate massive compensation am saying that i would expect that they would very heavily criticise an HR department who returned that response to an unpheld grievance about bullying and harassment.

flowery Thu 06-Jan-11 11:32:59

Still not clear what legal claim you think she has for this 'easy win' you mention, and I think bringing some kind of unspecified claim simply for the purposes of getting a tribunal to 'heavily criticise' the HR department would be daft quite frankly.

Pinkjenny Thu 06-Jan-11 11:34:56

I have never ever EVER seen an easy and painless win at tribunal. Even when the claimant has won.


Pinkjenny Thu 06-Jan-11 11:36:06

<<butts back out>>

flowery Thu 06-Jan-11 11:53:56


Hi PJ, how's you? Feel free to butt away!

flowery Thu 06-Jan-11 11:55:08

'Butt away' as in butt back in, rather than butt out, of course...

Pinkjenny Thu 06-Jan-11 12:46:43

Great, thanks Flowery!!! So much going on at work, Administrator has been made redundant, leaving me stand alone. Which is crap. Anyhoo, beggars (i.e. those who want part time HR) cannot be choosers.

Sorry for the brief hijack, OP.

Oblomov Thu 06-Jan-11 13:44:17

Thank you for the responses.
I didn't mean to give the wrong impression on the bullying. My manager snaps at me in an inappropriate way ( other peoples words), when he is stressed, but it is not that often.
I had a very unfortunate meeting with him and the HR manager, where it all come out, a bit of a shock to me, and some of the things said to me were inappropriate, bullying. If anything, it was actually the HR manager though, who said these things, not my actual manager. so thats no good.

I guess I am just being silly about it. Dh says they are probbaly embarrrassed.
But this isn't going to get any better. Really. Is it ?
And I can't even find a single part time job , currently to apply for.
Have just finished my 2.5 days for the week. I made a mistake in our year end process. Probably not helped by the fact thta I had the minutes from the meeting delivered to my desk yesterday, after a month, after asking.
The HR manager phoned and spoke to my dh ( how unprofessional) and told him he was 'wiping the slate clean' and that a letter would be sent. I had to ask again for the letter.
And when it arrived. It was so short, it was offensive.

Guess I am in denial. I sit here sobbing, wondering how i got myself into this. Silly woman.

Thank you Heroine. And thank you very much Flowery. I will give some thought to what you say. And maybe try and compose a letter.

Heroine Thu 06-Jan-11 14:04:05

Oh I'm sorry, this sounds terrible - and there are indications that the HR person really is pretty clueless about how to behave - they shouldn't really jump in both feet on the employer's side. Their reasonable response should be that there is clearly some issue here that needs sensible response.

I am guessing that these 'things that came out' were complaints about you/conduct/performance. If so then they shouldn't be raised in this way (i.e. only used to bat away your complaint) they should have been raised, by an effective manager, as they occured and you are right to interpret this as bullying (in the sense that this is being used to bully you out of making your complaint). This has happened to me too, so don't be worried that its just you or that ou should have behaved differently every employee has the right to raise reasonably complaints and to have them heard responsibly - to then 'punish' you with unevidenced criticisms is highly inappropriate.

Did you go to these meetings unaccompanied?

Also this 'wiping the slate clean' sounds as though they are trying to say that they are prepared to overlook our midemeanor in raising the issue!!!! That is ridiculous. they can't just decide to 'wipe the slate clean' if ou have raised a grievance - reall the are saying 'please please accept our proposal to forget about it' - if this was a crime like a theft, a reasonable defence is not 'oh well, we are where we are, lets move forward'!!

The HR manager should not speak to your DH, unless ou have appointed him as your official representative - that is bullying in itself as it is raising a distorted picture in the mind of a close relationship that you are in the wrong. big procedural error - I am guessing this is either a small company or one where they are not typically accountable (eg junior HR or a relatively 'hire and fire' culture/industry?

sorry to hear how much this is affecting you - it is upsetting and stressful and yet the fact you have done what is reasonable is great credit to you.

You are NOT a silly woman- you have silly empoyers - any manager with any courage would pick up an issue of your being affected by the way communications are delivered and changed their style accordingly. You are right to raise concerns about behaviours even if you are wide of the mark about intention that is the onl way to ensure you are managed well so don't feel bad - try to feel proud and remember you are someone who cares enough to protest - that sounds like a good employee to me!

Oblomov Thu 06-Jan-11 15:29:46

My company is huge. We are medium, 250 employees. But we are part of a group. Top 10.

Oblomov Sun 09-Jan-11 18:15:57

Sorry to muck everyone around. But I need more advice.
Is Flowery there ? I value your advice highly.

For those of you thta don't know the history :
I worked here for 5 years. I adore my job and the people I work with. They obviously don't think I'm up to it.
My appraisals have always been o.k. I think it is because my manager is crap, he never did anything about me not being up to the job. And then over time, i guess my performance level becomes defined as acceptable. he let it fester, and was too inept to address it then, so probably is unlikely to address anything now.

Anyway, I get invited to a disciplinary meeting, due to not starting work on time and talkin to colleagues. not true.
When I got to the meeting, the issue of talking was discussed, then the issue of my performance capability was raised. News to me.
Then suddenly a compromise agreement of 2 months salary ( poxy, after 5 years, and I only work 2.5 days, so not alot of money), so kind of insulting.
Then the HR manager said take it or else, if you don't you'll be dismissed within a couple of meetings.

so, when flowery wrote my fab letter, raising grievance of them not doing things properly, it was with the implication, as I had told her, that I wanted to keep my job.

But my dh, my mum and flowery all said that really my job was over there. once a company does this, its over. But I was in denial. I didn't want to accept this. I loved my job and my colleagues, so much. I was highly paid for doing stuff i could do standing on my head. It fitted with ds1 and school. It was perfect. More fool me for not taking more care of it.

But I think finally i have accepted what everyone else has been telling me. It has to be over. I have never been in an abusive relationship. I would never stay if someone didn't love me. so why am i doing it in my job life ?

whats the point of asking them to respond and give details of what they are going to do. They don't want me. And i have searched for the last few weeks and honestly there isn't even one part time job on websites. But I have to leave, don't I ? Like now. Immediately.
Do I go back and offer them to re-negotiate on the compromise agreement. How much do I ask for ? 6 months or a year ?

They only offered me 2 months before. But that was before the HR bullied me and they laid all their cards on the table, of stating that they wanted to get rid of me and that there was no option for me to improve.

Am I in a strong position to negotiate on quite alot ?

sandripples Sun 09-Jan-11 18:43:50

I would also support what someone said earlier, ie that if you raise a grievance it is up to you to state as clearly as you can, the outcomes you are seeking. I suggest you word them positively eg rather than saying that you were not given training opportunities, say that you would like the opportunity within (time-frame) to attend training in
because these relate to your job and/or career development(or to the issues you've been critices about?)

Rather than saying that you don't wish to be bullied, say that you expect to be treated with dignity at all times, and that you will do (or already do) the same.

Say you would like regular appraisals and with whom.

I'd also suggest you say that this has all been very difficult/stressful but that you do very much want to remain with the company, and to draw a line so that you can make a fresh start.

I don't think you shouold focus on what sanctions the manager gets - I would focus on what would turn work into a positive experience again for you. This might involve either the manager or yourself moving into a different line of management. IF the manager has been found to be bullying, it is really that person who should move.

Would you like to request a mentor?

Think about 3-4 postive things that would make this workable.

Hope this helps. I'm really suggesting you focus on what would make this situation an enjoyable working experience again, rather than on getting to an ET which I think is stressful all round.

If this positive approach does not work and you were to be bullied again, then yes think about ET.

StealthPolarStuckSpaceBar Sun 09-Jan-11 18:57:33

Hi oblomov, I am sorry you have been through the mill, and I'm afraid I didn't really understand all the deatil. But I don't think it necessarily follows that you need to jump ship. I'd certainly be job hunting but wouldn't feel the need to hand in my notice immediately.
Are there any other options? Transfer to another dept?
I also think comparison to a relationship doesn't really work - there are procedures for dealing with abuse in employment, and you haven't had a lover's tiff (though I can see why it would feel that way) you have been through a formal procedure to refute their allegations, and you have won. They are a business, and you are profesional, they should at least be able to keep up a facade of professionalism/normality.

Oblomov Sun 09-Jan-11 18:58:00

sand, I really appreciate your post. And all of what you write makes so much sense.
But I went to stay with my two closest school friends yesterday. both accountants. and they both said, that trying to work on this is pointless. becasue they don't want me. And that we never would have got to this point if they had wanted to try, wanted to offer me training etc.
They both asked me why I was still in denial ?

Don't you think that your points are all very valid when there have been a few 'issues' at work.

But hasn't my position gone way past that ?

Everyone keeps telling me that its over. that I must stop being in denial and accept this.

Yet, you seem to be not going along with that ?

StealthPolarStuckSpaceBar Sun 09-Jan-11 19:00:03

sandripples, how would thinking about a weird looking little alien make the OP feel better?

Oblomov Sun 09-Jan-11 19:06:28

stealth, its not a tiff.
My manager thinks I'm not up to the job.
Last year I had a meeting with him, over reducing my days and then he lied. and said he'd never said stuff. then HR got involved and they too didn't do the right thing. Flowery advised me on that too, and said I had behaved admirably and they had not.
And then all this happens.
There is no other dept that I could transfer to.
Besides why would I want to. Not only does my manager belittle me infront of my colleagues and not think I'm good enough. But now the HR manager has been shown up becuase he didn't do the right thing, and my grievance showed his ineptness too.
Really winning friends, aren't I ?
Why would you want to remain with a company when atleast 2 , senior managers, have treated you badly, and when they clearly think you are not up to the job.

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