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I've raised a grievance - should I have? Any advice?

(11 Posts)
MissingTheTwinning Thu 27-Feb-14 18:39:35

I recently made a grievance complaint against one of my colleagues in another department. This is the first time I've done this and I'm looking for advice, perspectives and maybe a little cheering up/encouragement from anyone who may have been through similar..

I don't know whether maybe I'm making too much of this, being over-sensitive and need to grow a thicker skin. Family and friends have assured me I'm not, but I still wonder.

Recently there was a meeting consisting of me, above mentioned colleague, her manager and my manager. Following a heated debate, my colleague had (it seemed) finished talking, so I began to make a point in response. She interrupted me mid-sentence, telling me to "just shut up". I replied calmly that I had been waiting to raise my point. She followed this with: "Just shut up a minute! MissingTheTwinning, will you just shut up a minute, 'cos I haven't finished talking yet!" It wasn't in a jovial tone. She was angry. Neither manager made any comment and the topic moved on. Later, my manager apologised to me and said that he should have ended the meeting at that point by stating that her behaviour towards me was unacceptable.

This isn't the first time she's spoken to me this way. A few months ago she told me to "shut up" in an aggressive tone, which was witnessed by my manager and his junior. He described this to her manager as a disgusting way to speak to me, but nothing seemed to change. There's a history of her being aggressive and intimidating towards me over the past three years, which seems to come to the front of my mind during any interaction with her and adds to the stress I feel.

Other than this one colleague, I have no problems with anyone else at work. Am I asking too much to not want to feel verbally attacked any time I might have to interact with her?

I hope that I've done the right thing by raising the grievance. I don't know what might happen. I just hope something changes and she has less opportunities to intimidate me. I've had the initial meeting to answer questions about what happened. I don't really know what to expect next?

rubyslippers Thu 27-Feb-14 18:41:54

of course you have done the right thing

feeling intimidated at work is not good

affinia Thu 27-Feb-14 18:46:45

Good on you. People who act like that need challenging.

BusinessUnusual Fri 28-Feb-14 13:43:27

Well done. Shocking that neither manager pulled her up in the meeting.

flowery Fri 28-Feb-14 14:01:29

I don't think you are being over sensitive at all, and obviously this behaviour is not acceptable.

However, you may find you get feedback that you jumped to a grievance prematurely, if ( if ) you haven't made reasonable attempts to resolve it informally first.

Grievances can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to workplace relationships, rightly or wrongly, and while I would defend to the hilt anyone's right to raise a grievance at any time, I think it's worth avoiding raising one if it's possible to resolve the problem another way.

If you've spoken to this person and asked her to stop, and if you've asked your manager to address it, and nothing has happened, a grievance was absolutely the right way to go.

Have you thought about, or specified, what outcome you want from the grievance?

MissingTheTwinning Fri 28-Feb-14 18:44:04

Thank you all for the reassurance!

I completely get what you mean about making reasonable attempts to resolve things informally.
My manager told me one day that he could always tell when she'd been on the phone to me. The stress reaction was actually physically visible! This was when she was calling me up to ten times a day sometimes.

After a particularly bad call, my manager got a verbal agreement from her manager that calls would be restricted to only when absolutely necessary. He said that she would email me instead where possible.
The frequency did drop at first, but soon crept back up again. She didn't change the way she spoke to me.

I explained in the interview that I'd like an agreement that I never have to be alone with her in a meeting. It doesn't happen often - only if her manager or the other person in the team can't attend that week. Maybe once every few months.

This week there was a full team. The day after my interview re the grievance, who should happen to decide to attend this meeting? Yes, I had to be alone with her. She was in one of the worst moods I've ever seen her in, so I believe she must have known about the grievance.

It's things like that I never want to happen again. sad

Jinsei Sat 01-Mar-14 00:40:12

So you have had long-standing issues with this person causing you stress, which your manager is aware of, but your manager said nothing when he witnessed her telling you to shut up? <incredulous>

idinnehaveaclue Sat 01-Mar-14 08:09:20

Yes, of course you were right to raise a grievance. Neither manager has done anything about her. What else can you do? She certainly doesn't sound like the sort of person you could discuss it with over a cup of tea.

Is her name Julie by any chance?

PrincessScrumpy Sat 01-Mar-14 08:11:09

To be honest the grievance could have been avoided if the bosses had stepped in and pulled her up on her unacceptable behaviour but as they didn't then yes you did the right thing. DH had a boss who regularly called the team and individuals F*ing this and thats and they all sat and took it. When dh told me I used to feel really angry as I had worked in the same industry. If I had been in the meeting I would have stood up and gone back to my desk as I wouldn't sit and be spoken to like that, but they all just took it. Unacceptable bullying behaviour. People choose to work and don't want to be spoken to like that even if they've made a mistake.

How did your manager react to the Shut up incident when you spoke to him/her?

msrisotto Sat 01-Mar-14 08:22:18

I'm appalled that neither manager intervened when they witnessed it but on the other hand, at least they were both there to witness it. Sorry I don't have any real advice though. I've never been in this position.

MissingTheTwinning Sat 01-Mar-14 17:09:36

Jinsei I was a little shocked too that nothing was said at the time by either of them. I think both managers didn't quite know what to say, tbh. They're both very aware of the history and the tension, So I think they were worried about saying the wrong thing?

My manager was very apologetic to me when we discussed it alone. He said he really should have ended the meeting at that point. In his defence, the meeting was important as we needed them to agree to certain process changes before a strict deadline we've been given. The drag their heels at every step so just getting them into a meeting is hard enough. I think he was torn between making a stand about the behaviour or just trying to get through the points we needed to for the deadline...

My manager is fully supporting me, btw. In fact back in Nov 2012 he said he'd support me if I put in a complaint (after another bad incident).

She has in fact done worse that tell me to shut up. But just never before in front of witnesses in this kind of situation.

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