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What might HR do in this situation?

(20 Posts)
OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:00:54

A young colleague confided in me, and I don't know how to advise her.

She is in her first (administrative) job with a promise of a move into another department, which would really make her career.

Unfortunately the manager of the new department asked her to sleep with him, and when she declined, politely, on the basis that it would be unprofessional.

He then got very abusive on Facebook, and is now blocking her career move by subtly undermining her skills in public, refusing to support her etc.

I am so cross that this shit STILL goes on. I am really absolutely hopping with anger.

However, I don't know whether to advise her to suck it up, and bide her time, leave, or take it to HR.

What might HR do, if someone reported this to them? I should add that of course she is infinitely replaceable, and losing him would cause a huge cost to the business.

It is a large privately owned firm.

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Sat 28-Jun-14 17:03:35

I would tell her to look for another job. Its not what I'd want to tell her, but unfortunately, its the best option.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 28-Jun-14 17:16:20

Has she got the abuse on facebook screen saved?

Littlefish Sat 28-Jun-14 17:19:10

I disagree with youdon't. I think this absolutely should be reportd to HR. If the final outcome is that your colleague decides she wants to move to another job, then that is up to her. However, what if this is not the first time this has happened to someone, or what if the next person in the job receives the same treatment. It needs to be dealt with properly.

When this happened to a colleague I worked with at a previous company the manager was spoken to formally and warned that if there was any repeat of this kind of behaviour then it would result in disciplinary action.

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:25:57

Yes she has saved the vile facebook messages.

It sounds likes there is no way her brilliant carer at this plav=ce can be saved then sad.

Same old shit I had to put up with in the 70s and 80s.

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:32:45

The trouble is she is very beautiful, and this will doubtless not be the last time a manager treats her like this.

EBearhug Sat 28-Jun-14 17:37:08

I would report to HR, too, with copies of the FB abuse, and keeping a diary of all the subtle derailments, as much as possible (that's probably going to be hard.)

I would also be making sure my CV was right up to date and so on, because even if he ends up on a disciplinary (as he should), it may not help her career where she is, and she may need to look elsewhere.

A lot will depend on how good HR are with you, but never forget their main responsibility is to the company. At ours, I would expect to get a fair hearing, because they're currently really pushing diversity and a respectful workplace and there's no room for discriminatory behaviour, but in the end, money is a key factor, and as you say he's the one who's of more value to the company.

And you're also right that this sort of shit shouldn't be going on still, but depressingly, it does.

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Sat 28-Jun-14 17:37:47

Well, I disagree with me too, in principle. But this is the real world, and he's the boss, and she'd have to go through a lengthy investigation, whilst still working with him, and if she loses, her career will be over. Better to leave with head held high.

EBearhug Sat 28-Jun-14 17:40:52

Also, do you have a women's group at your company? If so, ask them for advice, too. I'd probably go to them before HR, actually, but at our place, they've close links with HR anyway. But there will be women there who are particularly well-clued up on sexism in the work place.

LIZS Sat 28-Jun-14 17:48:06

She needs to make a formal complaint , if she can face it. She may well not be his first victim .

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:48:21

No, we're not really large enough for a womens' group. We do have some pretty senior women managers, and it is a very diverse organisation in terms of race/age/religion/gender/sexuality.

However, as you say, money talks, and lecher's boss is in awe of him, so no support there.

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:49:28

I she's going to have to leave, then there seems to be little downside in making a formal complaint.

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 17:50:43

The one other criterion is that lecher is IMO likely to leave within the next 6-12 months, so I suppose she has the option of waiting it out?

PrettyReckless Sat 28-Jun-14 17:51:25

I disagree with youdont too

As a HR manager, I would want to know if our senior management were behaving the way.

I would strongly recommend the lady submitting a grievance. She should at least request a copy of the grievance procedure and the company's harassment policy too.

This type of shit really gets my back up. As a HR manager , yes I work for the Company but I would never condone this type of behaviour if it was founded. I have supported dismissal of senior management for similar behaviour; despite those people being allegedly 'critical' to te business. In my experience, everyone can be replaced, and it is only the fear that you might lose some skill/competence but the reality is it can be replaced.

However, there are a few HR personnel who perhaps don't have the influence over such decisions or are in a company that has this type of culture at the top, which is the 'norm' and therefor difficult to challenge and change.

An informal discussion with HR may help your friend in the first instance.

FoxSticks Sat 28-Jun-14 17:55:26

I was an HR manager for 12 years prior to having my dd. If I had hard evidence such as the Facebook messages I would have dismissed the manager after investigation. In fact I have dismissed a manager in similar circumstances. The problem with sexual harassment or bullying cases is proving it but it seems your colleague can. Please don't advise her to drop it or leave so he can go on to do this to someone else.

Toapointlordcopper Sat 28-Jun-14 17:56:41

Another one with an HR background here - and she should definitely make a formal complaint.

Most HR departments are well aware of who the real sleazebags are, but usually cant act because no-one complains formally. HR will know that she has no reason to lie and the worst thing that will happen is nothing, whereas there is a good chance this will be dealt with properly.

I took down a COO 15 years ago. It can be done. Especially in a large organisation.

OneHandFlapping Sat 28-Jun-14 18:01:39

Thank you so much for all your advice.

I will talk through her options with her, and let her decide.

I'm surprised to find out this man is such a sleaze bag, as he has women falling at his feet. Maybe nobody has ever said no to him before!

hatgirl Sat 28-Jun-14 18:10:38

I think you would be surprised about how many people 'love him' through gritted teeth

ajandjjmum Sat 28-Jun-14 18:16:19

If he's a real scumbag, it's unlikely to be the first time it's happened. It's a privately owned company and the boss loves him - he's not likely to be going anywhere.

So I would find a new job, and hand in my resignation with copies of the appropriate FB pages, ensuring that I gave the owner a copy too.

It shouldn't happen - in a large company with a strong HR department it probably wouldn't - but she needs to protect herself.

HermioneWeasley Sat 28-Jun-14 20:09:41

She should definitely complain....but be prepared that he might not be sacked and she may feel her career is best served by moving on

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