Any advice please - I'm about to raise a grievance

(32 Posts)
UprightAndBreathing Sat 20-Jan-18 17:00:23

Pretty much as above, thanks. A colleague has spent years behaving unreasonably at work, and has recently put a lot of effort into acting as if they are my senior and implying that they will have management responsibility over me in the future (not a chance). I have been very subtly demeaned and experienced low level bullying from this person, and recently decided that a line had long been crossed and it was time for me to formally resolve this. I'm quite sure that this is the right plan, despite feeling very sick about the whole situation. It's taking such a long time to get going, and I feel so very underhand knowing that this is coming but that the colleague isn't yet aware. Any advice very much appreciated, particularly re how to keep my spirits up and not make the next few months all about this. I have lots of nice friends and activities, so I'm not feeling isolated, but I feel as if I want to talk about this all the time.

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daisychain01 Sat 20-Jan-18 20:59:17

I can imagine it is an all-consuming situation, but getting things out in the open can be a positive move.

First things first, if you haven't already, I would suggest you create a targeted list of specific circumstances you feel were reasons why you've had problems with this colleague. Date, context (where you were, what was happening at the time, anyone else present). Reflect on how significant these behaviours are to you and how they have impacted your morale, confidence and work effectiveness. Sometimes emotion can get tangled up with reality - challenge yourself to decide whether things are quite as bad as you feel.

After doing the above, if you still feel strong about it, I would book a 30min meeting to briefly outline the circumstances to the colleague. Give them the opportunity to respond. You need to find out, calmly and professionally, what their side of the story is when you present them with examples of things you feel were uncalled for, or beyond their scope of authority (eg saying you would be reporting to them).

Don't make it confrontational, I would actually give them the lion's share of the airtime to do the talking. Remember you are doing nothing wrong and they cannot harm you whatever they say. Also, if they decide to take it up the management tree, then your perfect defence is that you were simply taking time to resolve the situation directly with the person concerned, giving them a fair chance to explain.

Only if the above avenue is exhausted without success, should you lodge a grievance. One of the first questions you will likely get is "have you tried to resolve this matter directly with your colleague, or if not what actions have you taken to resolve the problems?" As you mention it has been left unresolved for over a year, the relationship may be beyond repair, but you need to show willing!

daisychain01 Sat 20-Jan-18 21:08:48

Be prepared for them to deny/gaslight you, minimise and fail to acknowledge any wrongdoing etc. If this person acts unreasonably, add it to your grievance statement. If they promise to never do it again [yeah right] fine, thank them very much, then watch out if they return to their old ways and take up the grievance.

Unfortunately management hate dealing with this crap and expect the grievee to do all the legwork, so you may feel this is a long winded process but you don't want them to take the wind out of your sails by patting you on the head and sending you away to deal with them directly.

Show them you've exhausted all the avenues.

UprightAndBreathing Sun 21-Jan-18 15:43:23

Thank you very much, both. I've got my depressing list of events and dates. I'm either lucky or I'm mug enough to be doing this precisely because management have had an enormous number of problems with this colleague for years, and approached me to ask me to formalise my experience as part of a wider bunch of concerns. I don't want to be the patsy used to resolve this for management, bit a recent issue tipped the balance enough that I feel I really must log this formally for my own protection. I've not raised most of these directly as their history involves going really off grid angry with the smallest hint that their behaviour is unreasonable. They can be pretty intimidating and they lie about what is said to them. An informal discussion might leave me more vulnerable.

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GreenSeededGrape Sun 21-Jan-18 15:49:32

Do not discuss this with your colleague. It will be raised with them through formal channels and it's not up to you to give them this 'chance to explain'

Speak with your manager and tell them you are taking it to HR and then do so.

Belleende Sun 21-Jan-18 15:58:25

Be VERY careful about being made the patsy. What has management done to address this person's behaviour to date? If the answer is nothing, then I would be very wary. Ths suggests you have weak management, who would perhaps happily throw you under a bus if needs be.

Make sure you get something out if this, and make sure you get it in writing. Good luck, you are in for a bumpy ride

daisychain01 Sun 21-Jan-18 16:30:31

Having read your latest update that puts a whole different slant and emphasis on the situation.

I agree that it must be formalised for your protection. I really hope you don't become their cannon fodder :-(

Chewbecca Sun 21-Jan-18 18:48:28

Have you discussed with management first? Have you read your grievance procedure to make sure you are following it to the letter? Much more likely to be successful if you are.

TooManyUserNames Sun 21-Jan-18 19:52:26

Although you say management want you to do this, I would also be wary. I've seen too many colleagues being branded troublemakers when senior management couldn't be bothered to address the issues (different organisations) and would rather minimise the troublemaker/ deny promotions/ force them out.

Remember HR work for the company not the person with the grievance. I would never trust internal HR.

UprightAndBreathing Sun 21-Jan-18 21:05:48

Yes, thanks all, I'm a bit concerned about how convenient it seems for management to address this now too. At least I'm not the only part of the concerns, but I absolutely agree that this has the distinct tang of not being about supporting me at all! If I didn't feel that I really must log this against future problems, I would definitely be happy to keep trying to just work round it. I'm more mouse than (wo)man by nature! Wish I had more bite because colleague has been really awful, but I absolutely hate confrontation. I'm just worried about how it will all go and how to manage whilst in meetings and so on whilst it's on going. I feel like I want to hide under my desk whilst it's going on.

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UprightAndBreathing Sun 21-Jan-18 21:06:57

And thanks very much for the replies btw too. It's really appreciated. I do feel wobbly about the whole thing and it's good to hear other's perspectives on it.

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Arkengarthdale Mon 22-Jan-18 16:20:03

Don't go it alone. Write everything down or better still, record everything. Don't trust anyone. Expect people to lie, gaslight, deny, minimise etc. As said above, remember HR are there to support management, not staff. Get union onside if you have one. Know company procedures and policies well.

Or just leave before it escalates. I've been in this situation and I absolutely had right on my side, but I lost my health, my confidence and my job because management were unbelievably rubbish and scapegoated me.

Best of luck and I'm sorry you're in this position thanks

AJPTaylor Mon 22-Jan-18 16:29:42

I would say tread carefully.
Only once in my career was i driven to put in a grievance. I was being bullied and miserable. I had been thought of highly for 12 years in the company. I did a comprehensive and evidenced greivance.
Even though she was found wanting, she kept her job. Remained bullying me until i left. If i had realised this i would just have left.

Bingbongband Mon 22-Jan-18 17:29:23

I have just come out of the other side of this. The outcome was fully expected, although not what I wanted. I would do it again.

What is your employer's policy? Make sure you follow it to the letter.

Mine was a v serious allegation and so was very rigourous. The organisation with prior form for the brhaviour so my experience may be different to yours.

You need to be realistic about what will happen. I don't say that to put you off, I just mean that you need to know what has happened previously when grieances have been submitted and know what is the likely outcome.

I knew based on my employers culture what would happen and sure enough, it did. I fully expected and prepared for that otherwise I would have been gutted.

I know the HR peeps on here will say each case is dealt with on it's on credit but unfortunately that is rarely the case.

Be careful who you trust. Understand that what people say to you isn't necessarily what they will say to the investigator. People look after themselves. I am still very hurt by a couple of people I thought I could trust and it became very clear they had either lied to me or the panel.

Know where you stand in the organisation. I knew who was viewed as more "important" which impacted on the outcome.

Prepare to be uncomfortable and paranoid. Depending on the organisation you may or may not get appropriate support.

Write everything down. Take in a list of questions/things you want to say to meetings so you don't forget anything.

Remember, you are not doing anything wrong (assuming you follow the policy and behave well during the process). The process is there to sort things out. Ultimately this is just a short term thing (although it might not feel like it). Try to keep it in context and remain dignified.

Bingbongband Mon 22-Jan-18 17:35:27

Ah, just saw your comment about being asked to do this by management. Hmmm. I don't have any guidance/experience of that but tread very, very carefully and make sure you are squeeky clean and do everything by the book.

Get EVERYTHING and every discussion in writing. A quick "following our conversattion earlier, I just want to confirm the following points..." email from you to the person you talked with will suffice. If it's not in writing, it didn't happen.

wantmorenow Mon 22-Jan-18 18:18:10

Read this here

I regret raising my grievance every day. If I knew now what I knew then sad. If management have not dealt with it then it seems wholly likely that they won't be changing this stance. You will be made the patsy, you will be worse off (they my be too but that doesn't help you) and HR will conclude the grievance processes by reaching the verdict that suits management best.

It won't be fair, it won't be justice and it will be to your detriment. My union rep actually told me that I was lucky not to be let go as the inability to fit in with others could be a justified reason to be let go. Shame she didn't tell me this stuff before she helped me put in the grievance.

wantmorenow Mon 22-Jan-18 18:20:05

Sorry not an expert, just sharing my own experiences of how the reality compared with expectations.

Bingbongband Mon 22-Jan-18 19:26:29

Yes, HR work for the org not you.
Unions on the whole are rubbish.

thereinmadnesslies Mon 22-Jan-18 19:46:47

I’m in the middle of a similar situation. I raised an informal grievance (the first stage of the process where I work). I’ve been gaslighted, made to look a troublemaker, forced into uncomfortable one sided mediation and as a result I’m now off sick with stress. I’ve been offered a sideways move to another team. The bully is known to be a bully, I’m not the first person to complain about them. But ultimately management are scared of her and it’s easier to fob me off than deal with her.
I don’t know what to suggest but I’ve ended up having a breakdown as a result, I’m not sure it’s worth it to be honest.

Bingbongband Mon 22-Jan-18 19:48:11

Wow. Wantmorenow, I could have written that exact same post that you linked to. The only difference is that it was just me who was redeployed/dumped with no support into an awful job which I expect to be made redundant from within 3 months. The manager (who was actually found to be a bully) stayed in post and was given more training, in other words she received an external mentor/coach and paid leave to gain formal recognised management qualifications.

I knew I'd be got rid of one way or another as the outcome before I started my grievance. If I'm honest I wasn't expecting it to be so... I dunno, obvious? I absokutely would do it again though. I was a nervous wreck working with the bully. At leadt this way I made life uncomfortable for a little while and I'll get redundancy pay which I wouldn't have got if I just left.

UprightAndBreathing Mon 22-Jan-18 20:15:56

Oh my goodness, what horrible experiences some of you have had. What a terrible thread, Wantmorenow, I'm so sorry that happened to you. And also, Bingbongband, it hadn't occurred to me that any redeployment might happen to either awful colleague or me. I do indeed now feel very wary and paranoid, but I see a few folks said they'd do it again if needed. Thereinmadnesslies, yes, this sounds similar. My awful colleague has a long history of management not addressing totally outrageous behaviour. My only hope is that it feels that management are now ready to do something about it. I may be horribly naive here. The good news so far is that it sounds as if other colleagues have informally given the same story to management, but they may back off when the process gets formalised. Have other folks had that thing where colleagues suddenly do that? Arkengarthdale- thanks for the wishes. AJPT - yes, I expect the bullying to continue, I just want a formal agreement that awful colleague will never be my senior.

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MrsSchadenfreude Mon 22-Jan-18 22:01:49

What Bingbong said. All of it. Get someone from the union to accompany you if you can.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 22-Jan-18 22:02:21

I found out after mine that there had been four previous grievances against her. None were upheld.

Arkengarthdale Mon 22-Jan-18 23:21:15

The person who 'investigated' my grievance made damn sure they only asked for opinions from their close personal network, not those who actually worked with me and witnessed stuff. Someone I thought the world of threw me under the bus. I was bullied by a colleague and everyone, but everyone knew it was happening, my grievance was against management who were aware and took no action to ensure I was safe at work, but the investigator first said they couldn't investigate because the bully had left (I didn't raise a grievance about the bully, but about management who watched it happen and made no attempt to stop it) then secondly said there was no evidence of bullying. They refused to accept copies of emails that I had kept which was clear evidence. I knew I was in the right and I fought and fought to be treated fairly and properly, but my health suffered so much I still get flashbacks. Don't compromise your health or your integrity.

wantmorenow Tue 23-Jan-18 12:15:40

The rest of my team supported me to my face and to management. They were excluded from the grievance process by HR. I'm still having dreams about it, stressed and tearful. It has been going on for 16 months since the first official official HR investigation into the dept and the lack of team ethos which learners officially complained about, 9 months since my grievance and 4 months since my redeployment. Keep hoping the other party will do something outrageous enough that she has to be dismissed and then I might get my career and job back.

No jobs to apply for here and few options. The manager originally involved has been moved out of his position on a year secondment now too. The only one still in place is the bitch who bullied me, refused to work with the team, bunks off work and is a complete maverick.

New manager in place - let's see what happens this time.

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