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Grievance - want to go directly to HR

(4 Posts)
CerysBore Wed 15-May-13 23:07:26

Have several p-t jobs. One is tutor in adult training service. Things haven't always gone happily - management can be top heavy and, at times, very, very unsupportive.

I have a grievance with one particular manager who has, lately, been aggressive, rude and downright unjust - nasty stuff. Sought a meeting with her to discuss and attempt to resolve. At first, she couldn't think why a meeting might be necessary but, finally, one was arranged for today. Turned up to find another manager in the room (they share the office). Barely know this one - a young man who is nothing really to do with my teaching - has a very different role.

I said that I didn't think that this was appropriate - that I'd been expecting a private/confidential discussion and that, if I'd known someone else was going to be present, I might have brought a rep (goodness knows who - my teaching union isn't represented in this organisation, expect by me!)

There followed a tirade from her and some downright sarcastic comments and a refusal to see me without this young man being present (because "he's in the senior management team"). I left, went up to my classroom as I was about to teach, and burst into tears. Wrote her another email, reiterating my concern at the inappropriateness of this set up. No reply - nor, incidentally, to my original email which constructively set out my concerns and asked for a response and commitment to a resolution.

Thinking now, cooly, about this - this is workplace bullying and I use the word very advisedly. But it really is.

No point going to my direct 'line manager' - no, no point at all - very much part of this senior management team caucus. Though I'd be expected to go to L.M, wondering about HR manager. I desperately want this taken off my shoulders, to an extent, and dealt with by someone who might possibly be dispassionate - or as far as HR can be.

No tutor reps, no union activity - feel very alone in all this but, honestly, the situation is so bad that I don't feel that I do nothing - things fester like that and get worse. I feel that the manager in question may want to pre-empt me (she must have known I meant business) and may put in some jumped up complaint about me.

Should I go straight to HR in the hopes that they'll see that going to my line manager woud, in this case, be inappropriate and unhelpful? Do you agree that it was quite wrong to expect me to be in a meeting with someone else there, who I barely know, especially as I hadn't been forewarned?

Many thanks - sorry for length - been a miserable day!

Leverette Thu 16-May-13 01:15:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

lovefreelance Thu 16-May-13 08:01:44

Yep I second all the advice above! Document absolutely everything, and find out what your organisation's grievance policy is. And keep records of all emails so far.

AmandaCooper Thu 16-May-13 12:24:34

Employees with grievances are encouraged to explore the possibility of informal resolution before they pursue formal channels of complaint. I would imagine that before you came to the point of requesting this meeting you had attempted to resolve things in the general course of dialogue between you. So you've exhausted that avenue; now you need a more formal approach. This is clear from the fact that you have put your concerns in writing and sought a formal meeting.
However I have never seen a grievance procedure that put the investigation and management of a formal grievance either in the hands of the person raising it or the person being complained about. Your manager took an unusual step in meeting with you herself. Perhaps she lacks experience in dealing with staff grievances? It sounds like she realised she was a bit out of her depth!
I would contact your union as a next step - even though this particular workplace doesn't recognise it. They can only say no - but they may be able to help and advise you and you should be able to be accompanied by their rep at any meeting so give them a try.
Also ask HR to give you a copy of the grievance procedure. If there isn't one, ask for a copy of the Acas guide to disciplinaries and grievances. The procedure should tell you how to raise a formal complaint and who to direct it to if the complaint is about your line manager. Do remember that HR will give you information but will not advise you - they work for the company not for you.

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