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Advice please about making formal complaint about boss

(11 Posts)
HerRoyalVagisty Tue 30-Oct-12 13:08:33

My manager is married to a member of the team I work within. There is(and has always been) a strong "us and them" divide between the the team -them, boss, wife and a couple of her peers and us, the smaller admin side. Morale is very low among the admin, boss is utterly unsupportive, his wife is a trouble-maker.

I don't want to give too much away for fear of outing myself...but this is what happened last week.

Myself and admin colleague were "told off" by another colleague for talking, even though we were discussing a serious work issue. This kind of thing happens all the time, we are constantly undermined. I apologised to colleague (one of "them") but said I was unhappy at how she spoke to me. She stared at me, shocked and then turned her back on me. No further discussion.

Boss returned to the office shortly after and then his wife went out to lunch. Five minutes later his phone rang. I sit very close to him and the room was quiet. I could hear his conversation. It was his wife, ringing to tell him all about the incident with me and the other member of staff. He played along, responding to her like it was someone ringing with a normal query or something "ok! Thanks for your call!" A few minutes later he asked the colleague for a quick word and the left the room.

I am fed up with this treatment and I see it as a form of bullying. I have been making notes of examples of their treatment to us and I think this phone call proves there is a bit of a conspiracy going on.

Surely it's totally unprofessional for his wife to call him about something she had no involvement in?

If I used this against him in a formal complaint would I have a leg to stand on? Would it just my word against his? What should I do? I work in the public sector btw.

flowery Tue 30-Oct-12 13:14:14

If the basis for a formal grievance against your boss is the fact that his wife told him about an incident within the team, that's very little really, and not worth the grief involved tbh.

Have you got plenty of other examples of things he's actually done wrong, examples of him treating members of the team differently or similar?

What do you want to happen as a result of your grievance?

HerRoyalVagisty Tue 30-Oct-12 13:18:50

Thanks for your reply Flowery. Yes I do have other examples but tbh I don't want to say anymore in case I out myself. The phone call was the turning point because I now know what I've suspected all along - that he and his wife are in cahoots in making life difficult for us.

He does treat us differently. He and his wife show us no respect or support.

StillSquiffy Tue 30-Oct-12 13:34:32

Without any concrete breaches of employment law, there will be little you can do. What you have put down so far isn't 'wrong' and couldn't really be described as bullying.

HerRoyalVagisty Tue 30-Oct-12 14:03:25

Thanks Squffy. I know... it sounds a bit lame when I read it back. But this is long-term subtle bullying. Things like taking the staff out to lunch but not inviting the 3 admin; not allowing us to talk (about anything, work or other) but the rest of the staff can talk about anything at anytime - obvious discrepincies.

He has also made a few veiled threats but I can't go into detail.

I guess I will just have to put up with it until his bullying becomes less subtle and I actually do have more concrete evidence. I'm looking for a new job in the meantime.

StillSquiffy Tue 30-Oct-12 14:26:19

In that case, keep a diary of what is done, when and who to. That way you build up evidence to prove that anything 'big' that happens in future is an escalation and not an exception.

flowery Tue 30-Oct-12 15:38:41

I really don't think you can credibly claim that a wife ringing her husband to inform him of an incident with other staff is proof that they are 'in cahoots' tbh.

You need to focus on actual things that have been done- complaining that he and his wife are discussing the team is going to sound very petty. Keep a record, yes, and compile more stuff that objectively sounds unfair rather than sour grapes or similar.

SleepBeckons Tue 30-Oct-12 18:36:50

I once worked in a very cliquey office. The 'left out' ones simply kept their heads down got on with their work in silence when the clique members were around - the office was a like different place when the clique were out of the room.

It would have been exceptionally hard to 'prove' what was going on - it was very subtle but unmistakable, and it did feel like bullying. It wasn't a good place to work at all, and I can sympathise with you being in such an environment.

You mention that you're looking for another job - is there any chance to transfer to another department / section rather than leaving outright?

MainlyMaynie Tue 30-Oct-12 18:38:36

I think it is inappropriate in a public sector organisation for a husband to be managing his wife and that HR and his manager should be keeping a very close eye on the situation. You are doing the right thing keeping a record of this, as though it doesn't sound like grounds for a formal complaint, I think it is reasonable to talk to someone about what checks they have in place to ensure the husband-wife managerial relationship remains appropriate.

I also shocked you were 'told off' for talking! Is this common practice?

Iggly Tue 30-Oct-12 18:41:19

It's inappropriate full stop regardless of sector.

What's the hr dep like?

MainlyMaynie Tue 30-Oct-12 19:03:58

I only mentioned the public sector as I thought she must be working in a family-run small business until she said that!

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