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Anyone out there to give me some HR advice?

(31 Posts)
OneLieIn Sun 29-Jun-08 22:27:20

I am in a right mess at work and need some HR advice - I can't ask my HR dept as I don't have one really and also they are not on my side.

Anyone out there to help? please???

Ready4anotherCoffee Sun 29-Jun-08 22:48:30

bumping you in the hope Flowery is about!

flowerybeanbag Mon 30-Jun-08 09:20:18

oneliein what's the problem?

OneLieIn Tue 01-Jul-08 10:17:17

Oh cool, you are there.

This is a long story. Basically I have been in the company 3 years and was moved into a totally different job about 18 months ago. This move was a move up but I still had/have the same boss. Before I moved into this job there were 3 guys doing 1/2 of the role I currently do - they were all made redundant or similar.

The job I was moved to has never had a job description that I can find although the job basically has evolved into splitting into 2 main bits.

Oh this is so difficult to type because I need to get my thoughts clear. Anyway, top and bottom of it is that I am going to a performance review tomorrow where I will get an official warning for underperformance - I dont think they are following the procedure properly. I am really good at what I do, but the job is impossible to do because:
1. one half of my job relies on me promoting a product that we have sidelined internally, are not promoting externally and we are signing agreements with competitors
2. The second half of my job no-one in the company is achieving. we are trying to sell a 2nd rate product into a full market already. Everyone else is probably at similar achievement levels.
3. Lack of training and management - my manager has a total hands off approach which is really shit. He just lets me get on with it and even when I have asked directly for help, like "what single or three things would you do to be more successful if you were in my shoes" he is vague and gave me an answer such as "be less tolerant" which is not constructive or a solid practical response. He has met me less than 6 times this year, which 2 have been in the last week. I have had 0 training in this new role and there has been no mentorship or guidance - even though I Have asked. There is no single person in our whole company doing what I am doing as a role - I am overloaded with work. I am senior in the company so there is no-one I can go to other than my boss.
4. Lack of assistance - I have consistently raised at every meeting (Which have been few and far between) that I end up doing other people's jobs because no-one has the bandwidth to help me. If i start something that needs say a project manager - I get told consistently that there is no-one available. If I find a lead that needs direct sales involvement - we don't have any and have not had any for 7 months. If I need finance to help me with pricing, the response is slow, crap and I end up having to chase and chase. So my boss criticised me for taking on other people's work, but if I don't, it won't get done and if it does not get done, I get sacked. Catch 22 really.
5. Lack of HR - there is no local HR (well I think the new person starts today) - we have been without HR for 4 months and before then, we had a junior HR person. Our head of HR left in mid 2007 and we have never replaced this position. The junior who was working for this person took over the role, was only an admin person. I could never approach her and ask her for help as she was unable to assist. I have phoned employee helplines, but they only deal with emotional counselling, not with the practicalities of how I get beyond where I am.
6. This is making me ill, after my conversation last week, I ended up in bed for 24 hours unable to stop crying. I have not been to the GP, but am sure I could get signed off with stress(have long ago history of depression)
7. We all got given new contracts a couple of months ago and one of my equivalents has a longer notice period than me, his was changed from 4 wks to 12 - I thought this was unfair. I should not know about this, but I do.
7. Finally, I know I am good at my job - I solicit regularly opinions from colleagues as to my performance and they all say I am doing well and that I am aiding the business greatly.

Add into that a couple of smallish sexual harrassment type incidents (1 where a colleague last December at the Christmas party was leaning over teh back of the chair and taking photos of my norks without telling me and the second where the head of the division at hte time was bang out of order in some comments about how lucky my dh was and that I am a beautiful and bright girl blah blah) and I have had enough.

I want out and I want out quickly, but I also want to make the bstrds pay for all the misery they have put me through. My job is impossible, I can never succeed, but I know for a fact that no-one else could ever succeed in my position either. they have talked about a compromise agreement and sent me the standard form to review. I have family legal cover, so can take them on if needed.

So my performance review is tomorrow, boss has invited HR person from the US who I have met once and the Ops Director who is at my level in the company. I don't know why he is there, but feel that even if I carry on, him knowing that I am under performance review would make my mission even harder.

llareggub Tue 01-Jul-08 10:23:19

Blimey. What a sorry situation. I'm really sorry but I can't post anything constructive right now as I have to go out. I'll be back later, so I'll have a think about what to suggest. Just didn't want this to go unanswered...

flowerybeanbag Tue 01-Jul-08 10:27:15

Oneliein what a nightmare!

Do you have records of all these conversations where you asked for support, about the impossible nature of the job, all that?

You say you don't think they are following the procedure properly, what does your performance management procedure say they should be doing? Is it a performance review you are going to or a disciplinary hearing? If it's a disciplinary hearing then you should have been given the right to be accompanied etc

If you want out but want them to pay, you need to be a pain in the backside and chuck the book at them. Give them lots of work to do.

What you must do is appeal any warning they give you on the basis of all the things above, and most importantly any procedural issues, anything they did in terms of the process which was unfair or not according to their own procedure.

Then chuck in a grievance, saying all the same stuff plus add in the sexual harassment and anything else you can think of. They are obliged to then kick in the grievance process as well.

It sounds as though they don't want you there either, and a compromise agreement is a way of achieving this for both parties, but to make them up their offer as high as possible it needs to be on record about everything they are doing wrong, both to make it important to them that you go quickly because you are being a pain in the backside and also to make them concerned that they might end up in a tribunal.

If you are not comfortable with anything in this meeting, don't respond at all, just make sure you have everything that is said in writing so you can review it away from them afterwards.

OneLieIn Tue 01-Jul-08 10:37:23

Thanks Flowery - you have been more help in a couple of minutes than the whole company has been since I have been there grin

I was going to ask for an agenda for the performance review tomorrow including attendees, I want to understand what is going to happen and I did not get that clearly from my boss (verbally he said it would be a written warning)

So I now need to get on email adn start getting more stuff in writing.

Thank you thank you for helping me. Any top tips for tomorrow?

OneLieIn Tue 01-Jul-08 10:38:55

Also I forgot to mention that I have in writing how great I am and that I am one of the top 5% in the company to get a special award for being critical to the ongoing success of the business moving forwards, this was within the last 12 months.

flowerybeanbag Tue 01-Jul-08 11:33:43

Make sure you have all your mitigating information down in writing set out clearly. I'd probably advise you to go to the meeting with copies of that and ensure everyone present has a copy, and ask that it be put on the official record of the meeting.

Don't be drawn into any kind of argument or discussion. Listen to what is said, make notes of it all, put across all the points you wish to make about why what they are doing is unreasonable and leave it there. Don't enter into any negotiation at all. Let them dig themselves into a hole.

If this is a procedure whereby you could be given an official written or verbal warning under the disciplinary procedure, there are steps they must follow

They must write to you explaining what the problem is, and invite you to a meeting, which they have done.

They must ensure you have been given the right to be accompanied by either a trade union rep or a colleague.

They must give you the right to appeal the decision.

If they don't follow any of these steps or anything else in their own procedures, make sure that goes on the record as well.

It sounds to me as though you may have a strong case for constructive dismissal. To claim this you would have to put in a grievance first, which I've already advised you to do. You could mention that you feel you have a case for contructive dismissal in the grievance.

I am normally on here advising people not to go down that route as it is notoriously tricky, difficult to prove and stressful.

However in your instance they've already been waving a compromise agreement about and the facts as you've given them to me are fairly damning so it's highly unlikely you'd end up in that scenario, but you could have a case and that will help you get a good settlement.

OneLieIn Tue 01-Jul-08 12:11:35

Thanks flowery. Will keep you posted.

OneLieIn Wed 02-Jul-08 13:56:10

OMG, I am so nervous, I have this meeting in 1 hour. Feel sick sick sick

flowerybeanbag Wed 02-Jul-08 14:10:52

deep breaths. Make a point of every so often relaxing the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Be confident that they are in the wrong so take it all in with a view to using what is said to your advantage.

Good luck

OneLieIn Wed 02-Jul-08 19:09:17

Thanks flowery - just having alarge vodka and feeling a lot better.

The meeting was really awkward adn quite difficult. I just shut up and when they asked me to respond to all of their stuff I said I would do so in writing. I think they were not expecting this, so they sent me out of the room for 20 minutes whilst they all had a good chat about me. I am now on an initial warning with a performance plan. I was offered 2 months cash to go as a compromise. I told them to put it in writing.

I really really really HATE them and I just want to make them pay. I hated the fact that another senior manager was there who has nothing to do with me 'in the role of notetaker' - this same guy has recently been discussed openly as being the biggest office gossip!

I will make them pay - I have written my grievance and appeal and will put them in tomorrow.

I cannot tell you how much I HATE them today.

flowerybeanbag Wed 02-Jul-08 19:22:49

SOunds like you handled a very difficult situation very well.

Do put both grievance and appeal in tomorrow, absolutely. 2 months' salary as a compromise is rubbish given your situation. I anticipate once they see a fat grievance and appeal landing on their desk they may reconsider, let's hope so.

Have you spoken to your solicitor yet? If your employer is offering you a compromise agreement they must pay reasonable legal fees for you to get it checked over.

OneLieIn Thu 03-Jul-08 15:18:02

Just sent in the appeal. I feel really sick.

Grievance next.

ShortandSweet Thu 03-Jul-08 15:21:49

Don't have any advise oneliein but just want to say good luck. Hope all goes well for you

OneLieIn Fri 04-Jul-08 10:47:42

Grievance going in now- oh it is damning!

I am also going to the docs at 11.40 to get signed off for a bit

Then I ask for more money - what an interesting day

(am seriously hoping all of this anxiety will make me lose a stone!)

OneLieIn Fri 04-Jul-08 10:48:25

OH yes and the bstrds have asked me to go to a really remote office for 3 days next week (just ot be difficult)

squiffy Fri 04-Jul-08 11:39:26

Oneliein, I would advise that you log into MN from home PC only for a while.

flowerybeanbag Fri 04-Jul-08 13:08:05

Hope you're ok oneliein, I agree with squiffy if you've been logging on and posting on this thread from a work computer probably best not to.

jamescagney Fri 04-Jul-08 13:26:53

you're doing great oneliein, just wanted to wish you the best!

OneLieIn Fri 04-Jul-08 15:53:17

Dont worry - I have a home laptop I am using. I dont access anything from my work PC and have not done for a long time (since I saw the report showing everything everybody looks at).

Grievance went in. I went to the docs and got signed off for a couple of weeks with stress which is good. GP said the best thing she could do for me was to sign me off, I agree with her.

Do you know if I should negotiate the compromise agreement or whether a solicitor does that for me?

squiffy Mon 07-Jul-08 09:44:17

Your company should offer you terms first, and should also explain that you have the right to take legal advice. Then you and your solicitor can discuss who does the negotiation to improve the terms (if they are not acceptable). With compromises it doesn't really matter very much who does the talking, because they know you will be getting legal advice behind your requests, wheras for other grievances/complaints you sometimes need a legal letter to show you mean business IYSWIM.

I think it better to do the negotiation yourself because you can play 'good cop' and then if necc get the solicitor involved to play 'bad cop'. The more you show yourself as appearing to be reasonable and consistent and compelling and flexible (even if you are not), the better the potential outcome for you I think, especially when they know they are in the wrong... sometimes solicitors go in too hard too quickly and they never know the situation as well as you do.

OneLieIn Mon 07-Jul-08 11:32:36

OK, thanks Squiffy. I am signed off for a few weeks, so was going to talk more about it towards the end of my sign off period. Boss will then be on holiday, so will be easier hopefully. The fear I think they will have is that this could be a long process and also I could be off with stress for a long time - so am hoping they see sense and up the offer.

I have the terms, they sent me a completed agreement for 2 months, but I want (and need more) - I like the idea of bad assed solicitor though. grin

planetflufy Sat 18-Oct-08 16:59:59

Yo! Is there anybody who may be able to help me please??? I have recently been really laid up with flu like symptons and a bad chest. This has been going on now for about 5 weeks. As soon as i start to feel better i seem to catch another cold.
This has resorted i me having to have two seperate periods off work a week apart. The first was a mild asthma attack and the second i was sent home from work due to being delirous and had to have the next few days off also. As soon as i felt i could get back to work i did even tho i still had a really heavy cold and a bad chest.
When i returned to work i was advised that i would need to attend a disciplinary hearing as i have had 8 periods of sickness within a year.
Because i am still really laid up and there are no prescriptions that my doctor will give me untill i get a chest infection im not sleeping properly due to an annoying chesty cough.
On thursday night just gone i sufferered a really bad restless night and overslept, this resulted in me being 40 mins late for work, that i made up again after my shift. Because i have had absense and this has triggered a disciplinary,with my lateness this week as it would have been my third period within a year. I have triggered another disciplinary this time for lateness.
I am feeling really down about this as the second disciplinary is also due to be being unwell. Even tho the disciplinarys are for differnt things they both come under the attendance catergory and ive been advised by my tm that this could potentially result in my dissmisal.
I do enjoy my job i have been there now for 1 & 1/2 years and feel settled. I really want to keep my job but i am worried that i will be sacked.
please is there anybody who may be able to offer me some advice?

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