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(21 Posts)
BellyDancer124 Tue 17-Oct-17 17:48:34

Looking for advice... I have been bullied by my manager for around 6 months now. I have a long detailed grievance sitting ready to be submitted to HR... but I’m so worried of the consequences. I really enjoy this job, however I am at uni at the minute with the hope of a different career once I graduate, so I know I won’t be they forever, but I’m not sure if I want to move ships if things get unbearable. My question is, has anyone ever submitted a grievance and not regretted it? I don’t know why I’m so hesitant, the person in question has been so horrible to me on various occasions so I should want to do this! sad any advice would be appreciated smile

Hillingdon Tue 17-Oct-17 17:53:25

I raised a grievance. Some of it was he said/she said and it took over 1 year to resolve with union assistance but I don't regret it.

I had some very strong evidence though about their behaviour and I knew I had a case.

Why don't you ask someone you really trust (not work colleague) to tell you honestly whether they think you have a case? Needs to be someone who knows the world of work.

daisychain01 Tue 17-Oct-17 21:44:26

Bellydancer based on what you have said, I would seriously consider the reason why you want to submit your grievance, and what you want the outcome to be, what you think you will gain.

You mention you are currently doing a degree course, that either means you are doing it part time while working, or maybe you are in your gap year. So potentially you are at the start of your career. Either way, you could be stirring things up in a company where you aren’t intending to remain. So you have to ask yourself the question: Why make the investment?

Yes, it will feel cathartic, but it will take at least 6-8months to investigate, then hold the Grievance Hearing, and the outcome may not be what you want to hear, if for example, the manager turns nasty.. It is highly likely to burn bridges with the manager, at the very least. The risk is heavily weighted against you.

Grievances can be brutal, even if the employee making one has been wronged or treated badly. Then if they find you aren’t intending to stay it could turn sour.

retirednow Tue 17-Oct-17 21:56:51

poor you, I've experienced being bullied at work and seen it happen to others and it is horrible and unkind. Are you at uni full time, is it a part time job that you have? Can you just leave the job and find somewhere else to work? Most people say it's best to bring up any issues with the bully face-to-face but if you choose to do this make sure you have someone with you, union rep if you have one or a really good friend. I thought about raising a grievance against my bully manager but in the end decided I couldn't be bothered so just left and found myself a better place to work. I'm not convinced HR departments are very sympathetic, they might ask why it has taken you 6 months and what steps you have taken to try and resolve the issue. It's all very unpleasant but do take care of yourself, you have your whole life and career to look forward to, don't let some petty little bully spoil it.

RaindropsAndSparkles Tue 17-Oct-17 22:05:01

Do you think HR depts might not be keen because they have seen the outcomes and know there are three sides to every grievance. The grievee's the grievors and the truth. Perhaps they know the grievance merely fractures already fragile relationships. Mediation might be better. There's a fine line between robust management and perceived bullying.

Can you give us some examples op.

chipscheeseandgravy Tue 17-Oct-17 22:27:37

My former manager went through a grievance process. Once the complainant had contacted hr and they compiled the report, they were suspended, and then called into a hearing a few weeks later. They didn’t work another day in the same office as the person who made the complaint. The manager was sacked.

A complaint for bullying was placed in my current workplace has just happened. Again same process as before. The person bullying (very senior manager) was instantly suspended. The person who made a complaint was placed on paid leave for about a week until she was allowed back to work. The person who did the bullying was then invited to a meeting and promptly sacked.

the manager should be moved to a different department/team (essentially somewhere you won’t cross paths), you do need thick skin, especially if that person is well liked, however if you have a good hr team, they will look after you. They won’t want you to be able to make further claims against the company, so they will work quickly to resolve it. Gossip will happen, so be aware of that.

retirednow Tue 17-Oct-17 22:53:02

Look up the ACAS website, they have some really helpful info on bullying and harrassment and how to raise a grievance. one thing employers always seem to ask is what outcome do you want? I want it to stop!!!! In my last job it was a mob mentality, the manager liked to have an audience, I gave up even bothering to discuss anything with them, they weren't interested in my opinion about anything and were more concerned about their own petty grumbles aimed at their latest target.

daisychain01 Wed 18-Oct-17 06:28:24

the manager should be moved to a different department/team

How does that work? The reality is that if the bully is a senior person, more expensive and difficult to replace, ie of greater worth to the company, it is not that simple to lift and shift them to another department,
In the OPs case, new person, relatively junior, against an established experienced manager, who will have to move? Not necessarily the bully! The person may get their grievance heard, have their cathartic moment but they can’t guarantee the manager going anywhere. Hence I highlight the risk is often on the “grievee” and in this case someone who doesn’t plan staying longer term anyway.

retirednow Wed 18-Oct-17 11:05:21

Sadly daisychain01 has a point, in my experience bully managers seem to get away with an awful lot of really bad behaviour, they seem to think it's their right and part of the job to pick on people who they don't like and obviously don't know the difference between bullying and performance management/supervision. I have seen really bad managers moved 'sideways' but it takes an awfully long time and usually doesn't happen until there are many similar complaints or the company/institution is suffering as a result. Sometimes managers just don't like someone and nothing you can do will ever change that,.I've learnt that it was best for me to just do a good job, have as little contact with the manager and her crowd as possible and then moved on when I could see I was in an impossible position, either I could shut up and carry on or get the hell outa there! (I chose the latter). IMO raising a grievance is only worth it if you want to patch things up and stay in the job, anyone raising a genuine concern or grievance is supposed to be proctected against retaliation but if that works in reality I am not so sure.
I hope we hear back from OP but am glad that this important issue has been raised.

flowery Wed 18-Oct-17 11:12:06

I agree with making sure you know what outcome you are actually looking for, and considering whether that outcome is likely to be achievable. Maybe it is achievable, and maybe a grievance is the most effective way of getting there, but make sure of that before submitting it as far as you are able.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that it should take the 6 - 8 months quoted above to investigate whether or not your manager is bullying you. How long it would actually take might be impacted by availability of the (probably not very many) people the investigator needs to speak to, and on how much evidence you submit.

But there's no doubt it will be a stressful process and it's unusual for relationships to improve sufficiently to carry on working together (although I have seen this work, usually it doesn't).

retirednow Wed 18-Oct-17 15:47:01

it's not just the availability of witnesses, it's also their willingness (or most likely unwillingness) to get involved, most people say they will help and it's all terrible but at the end of the day they want to protect themsevles and prefer 'not to really get involved if you don't mind' especially if they want to continue working there.

BellyDancer124 Wed 18-Oct-17 18:39:36

Hi All,

Thanks so much for your responses. Reading back on my OP I can see that I was sooo vague and left a lot of important info out so sorry about that, I wrote my OP in a bit of a flap.

To answer some questions... Im a mature student and have been in the organisation for a fair amount of time. Im also not 'junior' as such (trying to be vague here as to not out myself).
I'm have a legal background so I know for sure that in black and white I have a very strong case, thats not my concern. My main concern is that I would like to stay in my current job for the foreseeable future (until I'm fully qualified and can move on elsewhere). I really enjoy this job and the people its great for me whilst I'm studying. Im just afraid of raising a grievance and it all blowing up in my face and then being forced to move.
I suppose the purpose of my OP was to get advice from people who have been through the process personally and had a positive (?) experience. Im afraid of the company taking her side and then me feeling like a complete twat. Im also afraid of my manager pretending everything is okay and then treating me like shit under the radar.

Im sorry I can't give details, I really don't want to out myself.
Thanks so much to everyone for their advice.

daisychain01 Wed 18-Oct-17 20:53:45

flowery although I’m absolutely with you that grievances shouldn’t take 6 months + to resolve, in reality they often do. I was just reading on another thread someone put in a grievance and after 2 months it had not been dealt with, let alone resolved.

OP have you considered trying to clear the air with your manager informally? That could be less risky than enacting a grievance which can appear quite confrontational to a person with a “prickly”disposition.

BubblesBuddy Thu 19-Oct-17 22:15:05

If this job suits you whilst you are studying but you don't intend to stay, I think you have to balance the good and the bad. I think you could speak to HR about this person. If you do use the grievance procedure, it could take forever. Do you need a reference from this employer or are they purely expendable when you move on? Obviously an obnoxious employee should be dealt with but investigate HR being aware of the problem and dealing with it before you take out the grievance.

GreatStar Fri 20-Oct-17 08:14:39

Flowery grievances do certainly quite often take 6 months plus.
OP this is a tricky situation only you know if you want to proceed and what you wish the outcome to be. Good luck x

flowery Fri 20-Oct-17 12:23:00

Yes thank you I'm well aware that in some organisations grievances can take that long. Although that's never been the case anywhere I've ever worked for or with, and that's a lot of different places.

But it is incredibly rare for that length of time to actually be necessary, it's usually due to inefficiencies/wrong priorities, and there's no particular reason to assume HR and management in the OPs organisation are that inefficient, or that the procedure they use is so involved that it takes so long. That might be the case, sure, but telling her it "will take at least 6-8 months to investigate" is unnecessary scaremongering in my view, and my opinion of any organisation (and yes I know they exist) which takes 8 months to investigate a single grievance would be very low indeed.

Snog Sat 21-Oct-17 09:27:00

I raised a grievance and was quickly offered a move to a different team which worked well for me.

daisychain01 Sat 21-Oct-17 10:44:19

My point was to ask the OP to question their own personal goal for putting in a Grievance which would involve putting themselves through a significant amount of stress when they aren’t even planning to remain in the organisation longer term.

I don’t deal in scaremongering. I’ve got no axe to grind However I do believe people need to have a healthy degree of skepticism before they believe that a grievance will necessarily always right the wrongs,. Delays are not only down to differing priorities or inefficiency, they can be a sign of organisational pushback, when the company is unwilling to face up to a situation that they’d rather sweep under the carpet.

And yes of course people can give individual examples of their grievance being quickly acknowledged and dealt with. If only that were true in more cases, but it is not.

Snog Sat 21-Oct-17 17:55:07

I was only offered a Move because my boss was a bully and the organisation didn’t want to deal with that.

daisychain01 Sat 21-Oct-17 19:55:10

I'm very pleased for you Snog that they did the right thing. It can be soul destroying having to put up with nasty abusive management who don't know how to treat people like human beings x

flowery Sat 21-Oct-17 22:43:09

"Delays are not only down to differing priorities or inefficiency, they can be a sign of organisational pushback, when the company is unwilling to face up to a situation that they’d rather sweep under the carpet."

Well I would put that under the "wrong priorities" heading.

Of course some organisations are awful at dealing with grievances, and no one said grievances will always right the wrongs. Everyone needs to consider the politics, management practices and culture of their own organisation, as well as the nature of the concern and the result they are looking for, in order to determine whether raising a grievance is the best option for them.

There's no particular reason to think the OP works in one of those places where a grievance routinely takes "at least 6-8months to investigate" before any hearings or anything, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on the subject of whether telling her that "will" be the case is scaremongering or not.

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