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Work Colleague 'Researching' Me

52 replies

hrd2018 · 17/10/2018 23:05

Name changed as this is massively outing of my bosses are reading! Also, more of a WWYD than an AIBU but posting for traffic.

I'm a senior HR person in my organisation; am currently supervising the investigation of misconduct by a maverick member of staff.

Said member of staff has now started researching my life including making threats to contact my universities and professional body to suggest I've fraudulently claimed qualifications and don't deserve professional membership. FWIW I am legitimately very well qualified.

I'm not concerned about him looking at my qualifications but I am nervous about what he might do next to 'discredit' me ("bring you down" was the actual phrase used). I've deleted my social media (sadly, I have a lot of family abroad and it's easy to keep in contact) and reported to my boss.

I really don't know what to do next. I know what the policies are about grievances etc but I'm not sure what it would achieve and I don't want to stoke the fire- I suspect he has mental health problems. That being said he's manipulative, condescending (especially to young women) and I feel I have a responsibility to raise it more formally so it's recorded and can be reported to future employees.

I feel like I should know better than to get upset about this- I've don't nothing wrong and just need to pull my big girl pants up!

OP posts:
woolduvet · 17/10/2018 23:10

Are these threats in writing or have they been witnessed?
Bloody awful behaviour, do you have anyone you can refer up to.

NonaGrey · 17/10/2018 23:13

If he’s slandering your good name or threatening to I might be inclined to take legal advice.

I hope your bosses are backing you to the hilt though.

ShinyPinkLipgloss · 17/10/2018 23:13

I’d keep evidence /diary everything and put your concerns in writing to your boss.

I’d monitor said employees social media and, if he posts anything about you directly (i.e. names you as being unqualified or suchlike) then I’d be contacting your professional body’s legal team (I assume you pay membership fees to cover this kind of situation).

I suspect it won’t come to that as he’ll be losing hot air and, hopefully in the cold light of day, will have the sense to realise you can’t attempt to ruin someone’s professional reputation without justifiable reasons!

PersonaNonGarter · 17/10/2018 23:15

This feels very threatening now but it is very, very unlikely that anything will come out of it.

His behaviour is all about control and response. Try not to let it control you and try not to respond. (Easier said that done Flowers)

Objectively, you are fine in terms of qualification. You must speak to senior staff if you feel that his behaviour is affecting you in a way that your firm can prevent - then it becomes everyone’s problem not just on you.

IStandWithPosie · 17/10/2018 23:16

OP you need legal advice. Your employer should have a solicitor and fund this for you.

Mouikey · 17/10/2018 23:17

If you’re a senior HR bod in your organisation, you know exactly what you must do. Other employees who are more intimidated by his behaviour may not feel confident to do so, but in your position you should be taking a stand to say it is unacceptable.

WellThisIsShit · 17/10/2018 23:17

These things can become nasty, fast.

I’m fraud you need to become protective first, and magnanimous second, after ensuring this person can’t do any harm.

Mylovelies · 17/10/2018 23:21

From what you say he really does sound like he has some form of mental health problem. Not making it 'official' won't do him any favours long-term and may indeed perpetuate his behaviour. He needs help.
My worry would be that these threats would escalate to stalking behaviour - it's not far off it now. Log any threats, make sure you have support and if the threats escalate, consider reporting him the police.
Very best of luck. Flowers

Itslookinglikeabeautifulday · 17/10/2018 23:22

Can you insist that any future communication from him is in writing? That way you won’t have to deal with him face to face and will also have evidence if this escalates.

This sounds horrid and would upset anyone with even the best big girls’ pants pulled right up, so don’t be harsh on yourself. X

WTFIsAGleepglorp · 17/10/2018 23:26

Make it official with any evidence you have.

LellyMcKelly · 17/10/2018 23:36

He is trying to bully and intimidate you. Share your concerns with your boss and agree together an action plan about how you will continue to approach the investigation. You should not have to put up with this behaviour. I used to do workplace investigations and you wouldn’t believe the depths some people would stoop to get what they want. Make sure everything is on record and if you need to interact with him make sure you always have someone with you. If it continues you may need to raise a grievance against him yourself so make sure you have your tees crossed and your eyes dotted.

Chalkhillblu3 · 17/10/2018 23:36

How did you hear that he was doing these things? Did anyone else hear him say that he would bring you down? I would gain assurance from senior management that you do not ever have to meet with him or speak to him alone, not so much because he may be physically threatening, but so there are witnesses to what he says to you.

AjasLipstick · 17/10/2018 23:37

I think I'd tell the police.

Rainbunny · 17/10/2018 23:38

How did this person communicate his threats to you? Did he say this to you in person? Your bosses should take this very seriously, saying he will contact your old universities etc... is not a reasonable thing to do to the HR person he is dealing with. You are interacting with him in your professional capacity, he is responding to this by making personal attacks upon you. You have the right to do your job without being personally abused or harassed and I would argue that an employee reaching out to your old universities in order to try to discredit you is harassment and you bosses need to protect you from this.

I would follow up with your bosses and ask what they are doing to make sure you are not subjected to his personal venom going forward. I would also suggest perhaps bringing in outside expertise to handle the misconduct issue, perhaps an employment lawyer if your company has the resources.

rubyroot · 17/10/2018 23:39

I'm wondering why as a HR person you do not have the answers to this?

Rainbunny · 17/10/2018 23:40

Also any future interactions that you need to have with him, I would insist that your boss was present always.

DarklyDreamingDexter · 17/10/2018 23:41

He is bullying you and intimidating you and trying to influence the outcome of an investigation you are leading. Surely grounds for dismissal under gross misconduct? I'd certainly start the ball rolling on further disciplinary action for this scary individual. If he oversteps the mark, it's surely harrasment and therefore a police matter.

hrd2018 · 17/10/2018 23:52

@rubyroot because, as an HR person I am not immune to feelings and self doubt.

I also know that, statistically, most people who raise grievances leave within 12 months of their grievance regardless of whether it's upheld because they either become disillusioned with their role or are seen as troublemakers kicking up a fuss and I need a job.

OP posts:
hrd2018 · 17/10/2018 23:55

Thanks, have emailed CIPD for their advice.

I know about the threats as they were reported back to me by one of his colleagues (he's not secretive about his plans). He's not threatened me directly.

Yes, it is grounds for dismissal but I suspect he'll drag us, and me, through an ET so there's no quick win here

OP posts:
limitedperiodonly · 18/10/2018 00:05

Have you thought about taking it to HR?

Funkyferret · 18/10/2018 00:17

This will probably come to nothing. I say this as someone who has been in the same (work related not personal) situation due to a truly bitter individual who just picked me (others have said unhinged). "Bring you down" - Tick. Fraudulent qualifications - tick. Plus a lot more. Don't close down SM - just lock it down to a nice profile pic of a beach or whatever - deleting gives him fuel. All sorts of horrible stuff was all over the internet about me. I went to the police and a lawyer - nothing could be done. These days, the law has changed and your one would be a fool to try it.

PeakTrans · 18/10/2018 00:37

How awful,

Good luck with CIPD however I do think legal advise is a good idea too


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kateandme · 18/10/2018 00:50

im so sorry your going through this.try and be as calm as you can.his irrational thoughts and behaviours have got him here so don't make you worries and thoughts take you to horrible places too.
anxiety runs on fear and what ifs so try to keep centred and go on what you've got and what you do know is happening.
I think going into this so personaly its overstepped the work place issue and could possible be time for even the police?especailly if you are feeling unsafe.and if he is actually unstable through anger and then mental health.
being the hr person doesn't make you not your worried are valid.
so if someone came to you with the same problems and the same to yourself.what would you tell her.and how would you comfort and tell them to do next.
well done for coming on here and letting it off ur can be a huge burden when you don't let other support you and feels it all bubbling inside.
everything is more scary at night time too so try and snuggle down with a good cuppa and tv then get some sleep or at least rest.
then tomorrow get up with purpose to be calm.and do all you can to sort this.thts all you can do.

flumpybear · 18/10/2018 01:32

What a nasty, bullying manipulative person he is!
Keep HR informed ... do you have a union?

Sashkin · 18/10/2018 01:56

Surely threatening people in HR (or any coworkers) crosses the threshold into gross misconduct? Can’t you just sack him?

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