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Received nasty email in error

(38 Posts)
urbandream Sat 03-May-14 07:26:24

I received an email from my boss, clearly sent by mistake, that was basically them bitching about me with another employee - I questioned my boss about it, who claimed it wasn't about me and they had sent it on purpose so I could be part of the bitching, but this is clearly a lie. How would you respond?

Hassled Sat 03-May-14 07:29:39

But how could you have joined in with the bitching if you weren't told who it was about? What a rubbish lie.

If you are clearly identifiable as the subject - i.e if they are are bitching about things only you said/did - then you need to escalate it to the boss's boss, I think.

urbandream Sat 03-May-14 07:31:55

It was a rubbish lie, she told me it was about X person when I asked her - she clearly panicked at her error and is now trying to get out of it, I have been off sick for a couple of weeks with stress and return to this

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Sat 03-May-14 07:32:48

I don't think I would do much if this is a one off.

I would keep a copy of the email just in case you ever need it in the future, otherwise I would not get involved in any bitchiness and just be cooly competent at work.

It must be horrible to have read the email, and your boss is very unprofessional, hopefully you calling her on it will have given her a wake up call.

LettertoHerms Sat 03-May-14 07:33:18

Is there an HR rep you can speak with? That would be my first move. Also, print out the email for your own records (keep it at home). I'm assuming you weren't specifically named?

I would also say to your boss, "Please do not include me in emails of this nature in the future, they are not professional or appropriate to the work environment and I would appreciate not being involved." In fact, email that, so it's on record, also printing out and keeping it.

Hard to say more not knowing exactly what was said, but I hope that helps.

urbandream Sat 03-May-14 07:36:53

Thanks all, it was hard and she does have form for unprofessional bitchiness - just havent been on the receiving end of it before! I guess if she's bitching about others she is bound to be bitching about me too it's just hard to read, particularly having been off with stress and suffering horrendous morning sickness!

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 03-May-14 07:37:42

Grievance it . Unprofessional , lack of role modelling , bullying and harassment .....

KatieKaye Sat 03-May-14 07:43:53

urban - does your employer have an email policy? If so, read it carefully, as this could constitute misconduct in and of itself.
For a manager to behave in behaviour like this with another employee is awful. there are no excuses. Forward the email to HR, and explain what you have done to date. State that you think this constitutes bullying/harassment and ask that they deal with the situation promptly. At the very least this is highly unprofessional, undermining not only your working relationship with colleagues but also destroying that with your manager. The manager should be disciplined.
Are you in a union? They will be able to assist you and act on your behalf.
I'm so sorry this has happened. Your manager sounds awful. And a total bitch. Oh, and rather stupid to put all this in an email which can easily e forwarded on to other people. DO not let her get away with this.

petalsandstars Sat 03-May-14 07:44:23

Especially if you're pregnant as they may well be nasty or awkward in the future too.

OnaPromise Sat 03-May-14 07:50:28

If it was about person x would you think it was unprofessional? It would certainly seem unprofessional to me for a manager to be openly criticising a member of staff to other members of staff who are their peers. It would be a basis for a grievance in my opinion. It depends if you want the hassle at this stage if you are already stressed.

Sorry to hear you have not been well.

OnaPromise Sat 03-May-14 07:52:33

I do also agree with Katie and others that she should be pulled up for it. It is quite fundamentally shit for a manager (and very stupid!).

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 03-May-14 07:58:56

It constitutes gross misconduct in my business.

urbandream Sat 03-May-14 08:02:16

Thanks again - it really helps to hear that I am not over reacting in feeling so upset (I was worrying it was pregnancy hormones), I just don't know how I am going to work with her now, particularly given how fragile I feel anyway which she knows!

peasandlove Sat 03-May-14 08:08:33

forward it to HR or her boss. It's not on.

KatieKaye Sat 03-May-14 08:14:34

That is really important, urban - you need to tell HR that you feel this manager has destroyed any confidence in your working relationship with her. (NB: as a manager she represents the company, a point you might want to make! it's up to her to demonstrate the company values by her actions)
The fact you are pregnant is another important point - you have rights under law.
At the very least it sounds like this manager needs a lot of training!
FWIW - it would constitute gross misconduct in most organisations, as said above. Bear this in mind when you speak to HR, but maybe keep it as a bargaining tool if they appear reluctant to do anything.
You are definitely not over reacting!

Slainte Sat 03-May-14 08:17:03

Make sure to take a print out of the email.

fascicle Sat 03-May-14 08:56:39

Appalling behaviour from your manager, the e-mail only equalled by her excuse for sending it. Nobody (especially not a manager) should ever send an e-mail like that.

Agree with Katie's suggestion to see what your company e-mail policy is. Also have a look at the company's definitions of misconduct - get an idea of how your company would regard this in terms of its policies.

Obviously, there are political considerations too. What action is the company likely to take following a grievance against a manager, and would it be tenable to work with this woman again? Is there any chance you could move to another team/department and work for a different manager?

DangerRabbit Sat 03-May-14 14:56:47

I would reply to her email saying what lettertoherms suggested:

"Please do not include me in emails of this nature in the future, they are not professional or appropriate to the work environment and I would appreciate not being involved."

I would make sure the original email thread was included in my reply. And I would cc both her boss and hr.

Matou Mon 05-May-14 09:58:51

I agree with Katie and others. This constitutes bullying.
The medium is a problem as most companies will have a policy stating that employees need to use emails in a professional manner. But even if she'd forwarded you an email from her personal account, that wouldn't make any difference in my view.
It's the substance of the email that is the main issue here. Even if this was directed at somebody else, your manager needs to be challenged for her bullying behaviour. If it is pretty obvious that it was about you, you can explain this to HR and your manager's boss, in the context of your current frame of mind (stress) and physical condition (pregnancy). Your employer has a duty of care towards you.
I would reply to your manager's email stating the lame excuse that she gave you, date and time (for the record) and with the added comment suggested by LetterToHerms.
Then I would separately email HR and your manager's boss with the thread, pointing out relevant points in the staff conduct/email/bullying policies and explaining what impact this has on you (destroyed relationship with your manager, lack of trust towards other colleagues who may have taken part in bitchy exchanges that you don't know of). It needs to be separate so they can investigate it further. If they act promptly, they will have access to her previous emails (even she's deleted the offending items from her mailbox, they might use the back-up) and this can open a serious can of worms.
The outcome ought to be a disciplinary action towards your manager (at the very least). In the meantime, request that you be managed by somebody else effective immediately and that you have someone with you in any situation where you still have to deal with her at a witness. There is no coming back from this.
It really sucks that you have to put up with this cr*p at this point in your life. Make sure to surround yourself with trusted colleagues at work and good friends outside of work. You'll need all the support you can get.

urbandream Mon 05-May-14 11:25:21

Thank you everybody - it has really helped me think things through, I am going to contact HR first thing tomorrow, one of the only good things about the organisation I work for is they have a good HR department! I don't feel like I can work for my manager any more and can't just pretend it hasn't happened!

KatieKaye Mon 05-May-14 11:29:26

Wishing you a successful conclusion to this, urban.
It's worthwhile noting with HR how demoralised/undermined this has made you and also that it's given you quite a bit of stress.

rollonthesummer Wed 07-May-14 22:33:37

What did HR say, OP?

ThreeBecameFour Fri 09-May-14 14:41:31

OP hope you got the support from HR that you needed? Do you have am update?

urbandream Sat 10-May-14 20:58:58

A bit of an update - HR are trying to persuade me not to raise it formally!! They feel we can 'sort it out without it getting messy' - they have offered me a 'couple of days to think about it', and suggested that boss 'made an error of judgement but it's not in her nature to be mean'. Boss has been creeping massively but is stickingto her story and did at one point try to convince me my mental health was making me see things that weren't there! I guess I need to decide what to do HR's reaction makes me think it's not worth it

ihatethecold Sat 10-May-14 21:05:42

There're obviously bricking it.
Well done for not leaving it.

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