I was issued a written warning for failure to use the proper channels to report a complaint, referencing a policy from the handbook. This stems from a private conversation I had with another manager regarding how my boss/hostile environment is making me sick.
The other manager was concerned and reported to HR (or as some would say “threw me under the bus”). When I read the policy, I found that there was a paragraph that stated ‘if you do not feel comfortable talking with your direct supervisor, you can talk with any other member of management’, which I did.
I told the HR lady and my boss that i was not making a complaint and later emailed my comments and asked that the warning be revoked because it had not been violated. No response. I have been with the company for 12 years and have always received good performance reviews and have never experienced anything like this. I am sick over this. Our workplace is very dysfunctional and policies are broken every day without discipline (including harassment, safety violations, etc.).
The injustice of it all is what really bothers me. Can an employer just pick out one employee and one policy and decide to enforce it? I am under the care of several therapists and a doc and need to be medicated to go to work. I am feverishly looking for another job, but am sure that it will create a financial burden to my family. Thanks for any help you can provide.
You are clearly upset over this incident, but if nothing else was said, it is possible that the HR lady realizes she made a mistake and is too embarrassed to admit it to you, so she’s ignoring it, hoping it will go away.
Or she has 112 unread messages in her inbox and hasn’t gotten to yours yet.
Or she’s a complete idiot who writes someone up for making a complaint according to the company’s established procedures.
Take your pick.
I’m glad you are looking for a new job, because you aren’t happy at this one. But, you aren’t going to find a better one until you calm down and process what happened. Were there consequences to you, other than the write up in your file? Demotion, bad assignments, or something similar? I ask because this doesn’t seem, in and of itself, something to be so horrified at that you are sick over it. This fear and panic are going to come across in your job interviews and it may prevent you from getting a good job. There ARE good jobs available. Being positive will help you in your search.
You also need to come up with an answer to the “why are you looking for a new job?” question that doesn’t involve any of this. It needs to be an accurate answer, but without being negative towards your current company.
Now, the above was the answer to the question you didn’t ask. Here’s the answer to the question you did ask: Companies should apply their policies fairly across the board. No one should ever be punished for bringing a legitimate complaint to management. It should always be perfectly acceptable to approach a member of a management team with your concerns.
My advice to you is to make an appointment with your boss to apologize for not speaking with her first, and to ask what you can do to help resolve the issue. I realize you were acting within policy when you went to another manager. I realize you did nothing wrong. I also realize that you are miserable and if something doesn’t change you will continue to be miserable and it will affect your ability to find a new job. Be willing to work with your boss to find a solution.
For future reference, except in the rarest of rare circumstances, you should go to your boss first. Sidestepping her can cause animosity to rise from the boss. You should only go to someone else if you have attempted to resolve the issue with your boss. Remember also that even if you go to happy hour with this management team member you spoke to, it’s still business. When you are with people you work with, you are absolutely at work, regardless of the setting.
I don’t know what your complaint was about, but if it was something involving safety, harassment, or an illegal practice, this manager was required to act. You can’t come up to me and say, “Hey Evil HR Lady, the funniest thing happened on the factory floor yesterday. Karen and Steve were having a water gun fight!” and not expect me to act on it.
Now some of you are shaking your heads and wondering why on earth I’d care about a harmless water fight. Well, water on the floor could be a safety hazard–hello, OSHA violation. Depending on the product it could cause contamination and be an FDA violation. Do you want to have product fail? Me neither. Perhaps neither did the manager you confided in.