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Should I submit a formal grievance regarding my boss?

(21 Posts)
GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Fri 16-Jan-09 15:48:50

Long story so will try and keep it short

Worked in company where I do different roles and move about. Latest role started about 1 month before I got pregnant. So I've been pregnant for the duration of this project role.

FOr sometime boss has clearly shown dislike to me, trying to trip me up and questioning my decisions on a number of things that I am more than capable of dealing with at my level. He criticises me in front of others in team meetings but never 1-2-1, clearly doesnt trust me, never provides any positive feedback, never is encouraging and has never once asked how my pregnancy is going despite me having a number of health issues that have impacted me but not really my work. His behaviour has forced me to make informal reports to my career mentor and also informally reported to our UK HR lead.

Its not my peformance thats the issue here as last march I scored highest of all the people at my grade across the whole of Europe so i feel its probably personal!

Others in my team have commented that he is rude in how he speaks to me.

I dont want to use being pregnant as reason why this isnt acceptable but its making me stressed so I feel it should be a factor.

Today - he has given me more ammunition to take this further but i can only do this if I do a formal grievance.

I go on maternity leave in 3 wks so dont need stress of thsi but dont want to let it go either.

Incidently it I've been told that he and his girlfriend are unable to have children and have had failed IVF several times over.

Interested to see if Im overreacting or he really needs to be dealt with formally.

KristinaM Fri 16-Jan-09 15:50:24

will you work with him when you return from maternity leave?

GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Fri 16-Jan-09 15:54:51

I dont expect to, but he will still be relatively senior in my part of the organisation.

KristinaM Fri 16-Jan-09 16:04:25

I'm sure the correct answer will be yes you shoudl complain.

but I woulndn't in your situation. because

- he will still be senior in your organisation therefore can make your life difficult

- it will take up masses of your time and emotional energy when you have a new baby. you will have to go to unpleasanst stressful meetings when you are stressed and hormonal

- i suspect the best outcome you will get will be that he will be asked to carefully consider the way in which he speak to you blah blah

- you may find that the colleagues who are supportive of you in private are not willing to put themselves in teh firing line. he will still be there when you are on mat leave

- you coudl go through a long stressful complainst procedure to be told at the end that its just a clash of personalities

please understand, I'm not saying that he is right or that you are wrong. just that i woudl probably not make a formal complaint, I'm not sure teh system woudl deliver what you want/need

just my opinion.sorry sad

GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Fri 16-Jan-09 16:20:14

Thanks Kristina
I agree with everything you've said. Thanks for taking the time.

Just seems so unjust - sad

Will think what I do but will definately consider what you've said.
Thank you

tiggerlovestobounce Fri 16-Jan-09 16:21:46

I agree with everything KristinaM said.

VinoEsmeralda Fri 16-Jan-09 16:32:26

I agree with Kristina as well, also you are going on leave soon and why kick up a fuss now. Do keep notes though on what happened (if you can date those, like a diary)

You dont want to be in the forefront of senior managments mind because of a grievance procedure but hopefully you will be missed because of your good work.

If he does it again after you come back from mat leave I would raise a formal grievance but maybe after you talked to him yourself (maybe in presence of HR)and see if that could solve this serious issue. Or go for wind up revenge.....

LeninGrad Fri 16-Jan-09 16:36:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shortcircuit Fri 16-Jan-09 17:24:02

I would 100% support you in making a formal greivance about this man.

I had problems with my (female + incidentially childless) team leader which I didn't tackle whilst I was pregnant. I thought I would get over it all whilst on maternity leave.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to. I returned to work after maternity & became extremely distressed & have been off sick ever since (almost 18 mths)

Earlier last year I took a grievance out. The relief of just standing up for myself was immense.

My point is, don't expect the feelings of being treated badly to go away - they probably won't & you may find they get better & you may be irritated by the fact you haven't stood up for yourself.

In short, you sound like a top worker & how dare he treat you (or anyone else) badly.

Good luck with your decision & enjoy your new baby.

PS You must write to him about his behaviour, or talk & then send him an email conifrming the conversation. Or take someone, from HR, into the meeting. These people have a habit of 'not remembering' situations.

flowerybeanbag Fri 16-Jan-09 17:59:06

I agree 100% with everything Kristina and Lenin said.

A grievance may not be a good idea because of everything Kristina said and imo Lenin's suggestion is far far more likely to result in a genuine behaviour and attitude change on the part of this individual.

GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Mon 19-Jan-09 08:19:23

Thanks for all your helpful comments. Its sometimes really hard to see the situation objectively when he is constantly putting me down/ aggravating me.

I am not in the office with him again til Wed but I want to go and see him and politely ask him not to speak to me like that. I think i will mention that I've discussed it informally with HR and will take it further if it continues.

Given how insecure he is and how much he worries what people think of him Im sure that will keep him quiet for now.

I agree that formal grievance process at this stage will be nothing but stressful to me.

GYo Tue 25-Aug-09 11:32:28

Update here. I was the OP on this. 8 months on and sadly its still an issue.

A bit of background on my company to give it context.

My company performance year runs June to May and is split in two halves. We get a rating for each half and then at the end of the year (in late August) we get an overall rating for the year. This rating is taken very seriously and those under performing are the first to be made redundant, "got rid of" when times are hard. Its a very competitive organisation.

I was present for the first half of the performance year and achieved an average performance rating. Fine- especially given the negative working environment I was in.

I was present for 1 month of the second half of the year before going on mat leave. I was given a below average review for that period despite delievering all my targets before going. The below average rating was given by the 'bully' boss after I went on maternity leave. Rather coincidently this occureed after he was informed that I'd made an informal complaint to HR about him. hmm

Together HR have decided I was below average for the whole year despite only being present for 7 out of 12 months. This means I have a really black mark on my performance record when I've previously performed very strongly- this is crazy given that I wasnt there and I didnt have the chance to prove myself due to maternity leave!

I go back to work full time in December, which is going to be a considerable challenge anyway given the expectations of my work and trying to balance it with a baby. However Im happy to give it all i can as I enjoy my work.

However, the crap rating is going to have a huge impact when I am examined in the future. I think I've been totally screwed over here in two ways.
1) by the individual who gave me a bad rating
2) by HR for allowing me to get such a bad rating when I was only present for 7 out of 12 months of the year.

So I am now back to considering what to do. I am so confused and cant see the wood for the trees. I dont really want to make a formal complaint as it would mean dragging up the past and having to deal with the 'bully' ex boss again- but equally I think I've been totally screwed over as I wasnt there to defend myself sad

Any advice?


MrsGladpuss Tue 25-Aug-09 11:40:13

Can you appeal the performance rating?

I have done this and may grading was put up (as it should have been in the first place if my boss had followed the proper process).

Sorry you are dealing with this when you should be enjoying your new baby.

Incidentally did you have an appraisal meeting to discuss this? If not then I don't think that was right.

I expect someone'll be along in a minute who knows what they're talking about...

flowerybeanbag Tue 25-Aug-09 11:51:43

When was the review conducted for the second half, was it in May? It's obviously completely inappropriate to appraise someone on one month's work, so as you went on mat leave after only a month of that review period, that rating should not have even been conducted in my view.

You should appeal that rating on that basis, and request that your rating for the year be based on the first half appraisal, not the second half.

GYo Tue 25-Aug-09 12:28:44

thanks Mrs Glad and Flowery.

The review would have taken place in May and I was not contacted at all (have been monitoring my email). I chased to complete this review before going on leave in January and did not get anywhere with it. Bully boss refused to cooperate. I continued to chase once on leave (pre birth) and was still not replied to.

Sounds like a good idea to appeal on this will look into it.

I am concerned about becoming known to HR for bad reasons and being seen as a trouble maker but this might be worth it.

Speckledeggy Tue 25-Aug-09 21:08:38

I'd appeal against the performance rating.

I wouldn't raise a grievance against your boss though. I would get as far away from him as I possibly could. He is more senior than you and has probably been at the company for longer. Unfortunately, the little people never seem to have a leg to stand on. Companies still do exactly what they want and if you're face doesn't fit there's not a lot you can do.

Find a job with a boss who appreciates and supports you. It will be a whole lot easier in the long run!

GYo Wed 26-Aug-09 10:06:06

Thanks - I am decided now that I will go for an appeal but not any form of grievance.

The rating was what it was for the month. What I object to was that they took 7months performance; 6 at average and 1 at below averaage and gave me overall below- just not fair.

Just filled with dread at sorting it out now since it means getting more involved with work than I'd like before going back

fizzpops Wed 26-Aug-09 10:31:19

GYo - I was annoyed to find for our appraisals that it was standard procedure to mark anyone who had been on maternity leave as a C (has performed to an acceptable level in most aspects).

Considering my targets were created specifically to be completed within the three months before I went on maternity leave and that I completed them fully and worked my backside off to prepare things for my maternity cover I was p*d off to say the least.

I felt slightly better that my boss's boss was also on maternity leave and also had the same grading but it still rankles a bit with me.

MrsGladpuss Wed 26-Aug-09 11:08:54

Gyo I think that's sensible. I have made an appraisal appeal. Your company should have a policy and there is usually a time limit to appeal, but that clock starts ticking from your performance review. Which you have not had!

Write a letter clearly explaining why you think your appraisal rating is not an acurate reflection of your performance.

Keep it factual. In my case I was disputing the grading given, not the content of the discussions. The wording of the grades was quite clear (good = met most targets, excellent = met all targets and exceeded some). I was given a good, despite having met all targets and exceeded most. I just wrote this out clearly and also listed all of the things I had done which were over and above my job description (working on a national project, dealing with national press, running regional training sessions, developing and training out a development programme etc) and anything that was part of my job but that meant I was doing a more difficult job that some of my peers (eg I moved to an underperforming office, leaving my well trained, established team and starting from scratch which was a tougher job).

I then had a meeting with the person hearing my appeal by phone (because it took them so long to sort it out I was actually on maternity leave and agreed to the phone bit) and then the decision was sent to me in the post with leave to appeal that decision.

I did try to resolve the issue informally with my boss, but she admitted she had applied the policy incorrectly to all her staff and didn't feel it would be appropriate to amend mine and not other members of her team (I was a bit shock as I was being appraised against a national peer group and she had admitted she had not done this).

I won. It was all there in black and white. My boss did say she was a bit upset I was doing it, but I pointed out if anyone should be upset it was me, and I was just disappointed in her.

I am shock at women on maternity being given a standard rating regardless of actual performance. Isn't that sex disxrimination?

I already know my end of year appraisal for 2009... because I had it just before I went on mat leave in March. And I am happy with it and think it's fair.

Good luck, hope you win smile

GYo Wed 26-Aug-09 19:25:40

I'd be happy with standard rating but since this is a below standard its really not fair. I cannot see how the HR team can justify it. I feel like I've been given the bum rating since I wasnt there to defend myself.

DorotheaPlenticlew Tue 08-Sep-09 10:53:45

Just reading through this and wanted to wish you luck with it all, if you see this. Hope to hear of a good outcome for you eventually.

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