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HR confidentiality advise needed please(20 Posts)
My husband's line manager is going through a serious disciplinary procedure as a result of complaints regarding her behaviour in the workplace (she is horrific, makes staff cry, calls them the c word, belittles them in public, numerous staff have left because of her & made it known). My husband & his colleagues were interviewed individually by the top man & a member of HR regarding their manager. My husband was asked at the start of the interview if he'd like it recorded as anonymous to which he said yes. However, discussions had & noted will make him easily identifiable to the manager. Today he has been told that the manager has been given a copy of the transcripts!! So if she returns (is not dismissed) she will know who said what about her! Surely this is not acceptable & the manager in question should not have been given a copy of the transcripts as she will be able to identify everyone interviewed from their transcripts! As a result she will make their work life extremely difficult! We're hoping she is dismissed but this is not the first time she's been pulled up however it does seem to be being treated more seriously this time. Not that it makes any difference but it is a white collar very well regarded & well known workplace!! Any advise appreciated.
Normal practice to provide investigation documents to staff before hearings. The person being investigated does need to know what is being alleged and what evidence has been collected so that they can respond.
When I carry out interviews like that I ask the witness to sign the notes to say 1) they agree with what is written and 2) they understand that the notes will be shared with the person being investigated prior to any hearing.
In your husbands case I would have offered to try and anonymise the notes to he could not be identified from the situations he described.
However, if the lady isn't sacked bullies your husband over what he said, he needs to tell HR agin and further disciplinary action will be taken against her, if she has a warning on file for similar conduct she may well be dismissed (if she's not already dismissed as a result of this current disciplinary action).
Your DH may find there is a separate policy on retaliation which is sometimes incorporated within the whistleblowing policy or similar.
They may even have an HR helpline in case he ever needs to report his manager for any future behaviour that suggests they are targeting him for what he said.
TBH I would be surprised if they aren't on their best behaviour from now on.
Standard in an investigation op. It's very hard to progress a disciplinary if all the witnesses insisting staying completely anonymous ie refuse to interviewed/have it noted as then there is no way of proving there actually were witnesses.
And for fairness to the person being investigated they do get given copies of all the "evidence" against them. They deserve to know what allegations they are being accused of. Your dhto can put a greivance in if he feels she is getting revenge on him in the future although if she isn't sacked (hard to say if she will - depends on the severity of other incidences and how they have been managed).
Thank you for all your responses. Looking at it on neutral ground I can now see why she would need to know what has been said about her. Sadly, her 2 managers have swept her behaviour under the carpet in past instances due to timing!!! Although she is pulled up on almost a weekly basis for her behaviour by her manager it's never been documented so staff all feel her manager has let the team down as he has no evidence of repeat behaviour! He tends to hide behind her for a quiet life! Plus, what they have all said in interviews etc, when they have complained about her in the past it's got back to her & she just makes their life hell for the next few weeks so they stop complaining about her!! They all (including her 2 managers) want rid of her though as they appreciate the huge impact she has on staff (it's a sales environment!), that at least 8 members of staff have left in the last 3 years because of her!! She's so brazen that if she isn't dismissed she will waltz back in & they have all said she's not capable of changing her ways so they'll all no doubt be going through this upset & upheaval again which has had a huge impact on business & morale! Xx
Is it a Uni, or a Trade Organisation?
I worked in a uni where I had a confidential talk with HR about my manager, who came down 5 minutes after the conversation ended to say 'i hear you are having problems with my management' -
And a trade organisation who refused to believe a manager faking reports was in anyway wrong...
HR can be utter arseholes. I've even met a head of HR who openly said 'i work for the managers not the staff, so that's who I help' ..I nearly punched her
Are there whistleblowing procedures in place? If so a letter to the CEO might be in order
He's not sure, it's probably in his handbook that he was given when he joined 6 years ago! (And hasn't read!)
Get a new copy from their HR site/HR team. Then follow procedures.
Presumably the written statement will be anonymous.
But it will be easy enough for her to figure out.
I work in hr sometimes we give a summary where it's a bit more anonymous. Depends on the case.
I was in a similar position to your husband - approached by HR as a witness in a bullying grievance raised by a colleague about her manager.
I had left that company by then, but my colleague told me a short while later than all the transcripts were simply handed to the manager with everyone's name clearly marked on them
Manager was never found guilty despite physically assaulting my colleague (and overwhelming corroboration/evidence from multiple witnesses like me); but quite by "co-incidence" resigned not long after.
And this was all from an allegedly independent HR consultant brought in to avoid any suggestion of impropriety. Manager now heads up a large team at a household name, so clearly nothing was ever noted on their record.
It's got to the point at DH's work where they all wonder what on earth has she got to do wrong to get the sack!! It's not just her attitude she's proved herself incompetent of doing her job & lost them £££ but she gets away with it! It also makes the team feel as if they're opinion & concerns mean nothing to higher managers & HR. My DH is a manager & is often having to calm staff down that she's upset!
Awaiting verdict from HR! Will post with info!
I'm an HR manager in a large regulated organisation. I have 3 ongoing investigations and all witness statements are very carefully anonymised. Don't understand what's so hard.
bubbakin the manager may have a protected characteristic which makes it very difficult for her employers to deal with the matter without significant risk. The easier option for them is to sweep the bad behaviour under the carpet, rather than face a Tribunal.
If the company is a Small Medium Enterprise, or the financial standing of the company is currently weak, it can be extremely time consuming and costly to go through Tribunal. Plus the disruption to day to day operations.
It's a morale killer though
It is standard to provide her with this information BUT the investigators / HR should never have made out that it would stay completely anonymous as they must have realised they would have to share the info...
Any retaliation against your DH would have to be taken very seriously. To be fair if she is as bad as you say it sounds as though the chances of her coming back are slim.
Well, surprise surprise she's been given her final written warning & will be back next week & is to meet with them all one to one with main man to apologise! I've told DH they should refuse to meet with her & will not be accepting any apology! Everyone is gutted & feel so let down and there will be resignations from at least 2 people as a result of the decision. Thanks for all your advise......till next time!!
How frustrating. im angry on behalf of your DH 😡
If she has a final written warning on file and she continues bullying or retaliates against anyone because of their statements she will go through the disciplinary process again and be dismissed as she already has a final WW on file.
So win win for your husband really, either her behaviour changes or it doesn't and she gets fired.
I'd like to think that but knowing her if people start to complain again she'll probably twist it & say they're victimising her!! Just beggars belief! The top manager has apologised & said he knows he's let his staff down (because he didn't act accordingly in past to complaints! Last time HR were involved the person who put complaint in was on sick due to stress-from her! But he had been under performing so they wangled it for HR to interview 2 'neutral' people, both slightly short of securing bonus ( can see where it's going....) so she walked away scot free & the person who had complained didn't come back from sick!! So management never had the horrible & long winded procedure of sacking him for lack of performance!! And the 2 interviewed were miraculously awarded their bonuses!!).
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