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  • Complaint with management and HR - Advice?

    PSB I'm posting here because I know lots of you are smart and clued in... sorry, tried to keep it brief

    My wife has felt as though she is being 'bullied' at her workplace in Suburb A for quite some time.

    I got fed up hearing about it after the nth time when she came home several weeks ago saying she has to attend a 'meeting' with the manager the following day and the manager wouldn't disclose what it was about. I said to email HR with her concerns to date, just so there is a written record of them, which she did that night.

    The following day during the 'meeting', my wife was essentially told she has a 'bad attitude' and was presented with a 'witness testimony' from a manager from Suburb B who was visiting Suburb A for several hours the month prior. IIRC my wife had to sign some 'performance review' that stipulates she needs an attitude adjustment.

    I read the 'witness testimony' that was provided by Suburb B Manager. It was dated as written the same day my wife's 'meeting' was held, but only made reference to the 'events' that occurred 5 weeks prior during Suburb B Manager's one and only visit. It sets off alarms in my mind because if my wife is as bad as claimed in the 'testimony', why was there a 5 week delay in writing out a 'testimony'? There are vague, almost meaningless statements made throughout - and all very much conjecture - for example "she seemed like she... she appeared to.... as if she...." - no quote of specific words exchanged, no specific reference to particular behaviors, all just very wishy washy. No wonder, given it happened 5 weeks ago.

    It upset my wife to read this testimony as she said it was totally the opposite - Suburb A & B Manager's were chatting out the front, laughing, having a great time the whole visit. My wife went out of her way to introduce herself to Suburb B Manager and was met with something like "go away, can't you see we're busy" - several other employees witnessed my wife being told to "go away" by the visiting manager and have agreed to give a 'witness testimony' of their own to say as much. Those employees openly commented on how rude the visiting manager was and will likely agree that my wife's manager is a consistently moody bitch also. Interestingly, the only witnesses to my wife being a horrible person are Suburb A & B Managers.

    OK so yesterday I helped her pen a second email to HR to point out the time lapse between the witnessed events and the date the testimony was lodged and also the fact that it has no concrete facts and it is all pure conjecture. The email asked for the testimony to be withdrawn and an apology issued to my wife for the distress it caused her. It gave a deadline of Tuesday (1 week) and requested a sit-down meeting with my wife and a representative she will nominate, and HR, if it was not withdrawn with an apology.

    Seems they want to play ball, so to speak. HR responded to the email. They believe the time lapse is acceptable as it was a statement needed in order to 'performance manage' my wife. HR also believe Suburb B Manager is entitled to an opinion/perspective and can write as such in a testimony without facts and without opportunity to respond to the issues raised, as vague as they are. "The statement simply supports your lack of professional conduct so no detail is required" they said.

    Now apparently a meeting is in the works, pending HR discussing it with my wife's manager.

    Should I know anything in particular about workplace rights/employment law prior to going into this meeting? I will be representing my wife. I can easily chew apart the 'testimony', but I don't want it to turn into a bitchy 'testimony vs testimony' and a 'who's got the most witnesses' waste of time.

    To be honest, in the 6 months or so it's been simmering, right from the start I've told my wife "it sounds like they don't want you there, they're nitpicking to justify written warnings and eventually fire you". I would ideally love to continue subtly implying that the testimony was conspired, that HR are not within their rights to facilitate vague complaints without seeking both sides of the story, and inform them that continuous harassment towards my wife is building up her stress level to the point where she is considering stress-leave.

  • #2
    HR in pretty much any company are there to look after the company and management, and not to help staff,

    get independant advise fairwork.gov.au as a start, a Union if you have one would be much more use.

    make sure your wife does not sign anything the company offers there is no need to do this, regardless of the bs they choose to peddle.
    National pride should not be a crime!.

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    • #3
      I've told her to never sign anything no less than 5 times when she comes home complaining about 'stupid things' she signed that day... my jaw drops at the shit she has signed... like "I promise to not call in sick for the next 2 weeks and if I do I will resign". That was a good one the manager 'made' the entire office sign. She has contacted fairwork approx 6 months ago and they said something like "awww... talk it over with your manager and if that doesn't work... talk it over with HR..." but the problem is the whole management/HR crew seem to be fuckbuddies

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      • #4
        Big company or small company?

        Hmm, life is too short, unless it is an amazing job or she wants some sort of payout my advice is walk away.

        Performance managing people out of a job is all too easy, better to quit than get sacked.

        Good luck with it all.

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        • #5
          Chain of about 15 locations

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          • #6
            "I promise to predict when I will and will not be sick"!?! What the fuck?

            You're dead right; they don't want her there. She can continue to fight that, which is likely to only end in one way, or she can use the time they require to "performance manage" her out to find herself another job. That would be my advice.

            Annoying as that is considering it sounds like they're being fucktards it's about the only thing you can do; they hold most of the cards and as has been said it's pretty easy to manage someone out when you want to. Even if she beats them on a technicality and manages to stay there who wants to work for a bunch of hostile assholes who don't like you and are prepared to make shit up?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 05Blade View Post
              my advice is walk away.
              .

              always good in theory just chuck it in and go elsewhere,

              the reality of life bills,debit and actually finding another suitable job is much different.
              National pride should not be a crime!.

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              • #8
                I think it's her pride keeping her there... been in the industry for 10+ years - longer than any other staff member at the place... just seemed to not 'click' personality-wise with the new manager and it's been downhill ever since. I've gone as far as telling her that I'll pay her the same salary to not go to work... even that didn't work... so I wanna fight the good fight... try and soften any dents to her self-worth... and get her to bow out on her own terms

                For my sanity

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                • #9
                  See if you can get some client or customer reports about her work.

                  After all the customer is the real boss.
                  They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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                  • #10
                    Wonder how a business run like that manages with all those nasty compliance matters?

                    Y'know, safety rules, having the right work cover insurance, paying correct super all the time, having the right training processes in place, making sure they have never breached any employment rules (like, I dunno, sending unreasonable directions notices to staff), council regulations, etc etc

                    Might not help your wife directly but may well serve to focus their attention more appropriately.

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                    • #11
                      Being the support person for your wife is a mistake, it's only going to make the situation more personal and argumentative.

                      Have her obtain the witness reports from her colleagues. Have her present these to HR. See what HR will do to fulfill the complaint. Extend the process for as long as you possibly can, accepting that the end is inevitable - they will make her miserable if they want to and it won't change until she leaves or they terminate her employment.

                      Have her start looking for work elsewhere, while trying to keep this job while she's looking.

                      If they're having her sign "I will not be sick for two weeks" it tells me they have a morale issue, likely caused by having employees sign unfair forms.
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                      • #12
                        My wife complains about her workplaces from time to time.

                        It is very professional and has a hierarchy that some people find challenging.

                        I regularly tell her that while it is very professional and efficient the hierarchy is old fashioned and very dated. It probably explains why a lot of males do not find a career there, as I have said to her on numerous occasions it would lead to regular punch ups in the car park.
                        They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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                        • #13
                          So how do you know your wife doesn't have a bad attitude in the workplace?

                          It's completely possible.


                          Oops, yeah sorry [MENTION=5686]chew[/MENTION] I was referring to the OP.
                          Last edited by Manyak; 26-02-2014, 01:49 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Because every time she threatens to quit, they arrange a pay rise.

                            She is now way over her pay rate for her qualifications in her field. That ain't easy in a Gubmint position.

                            Unless you mean the OP?
                            They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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                            • #15
                              2c.

                              Leave.

                              You can bitch and complain and take it through the legal system, but your working life will be hell afterwards (treated like a social leper, etc.).


                              And if there genuinely are problems with the way people are treating you at company X, do you really want to work there, irrespective of the outcome of any mediation process? You can't stop people being douchebags that easily.

                              Originally posted by MADOGA View Post
                              always good in theory just chuck it in and go elsewhere,

                              the reality of life bills,debit and actually finding another suitable job is much different.
                              I get that, but pursuing legal avenues will not solve the problem, if it is management that is the problem.
                              Last edited by thro; 26-02-2014, 01:58 PM.
                              “Crashing is shit for you, shit for the bike, shit for the mechanics and shit for the set-up,” Checa told me a while back. “It’s a signal that you are heading in the wrong direction. You want to win but crashing is the opposite. It’s like being in France when you want to go to England and when you crash you go to Spain. That way you’ll never get to England!” -- Carlos Checa

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