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Author Topic: Can Someone Please Explain This To Me? **UPDATE**
LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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I dont know if this is so much a rant or just a confused rambling, so please bear with me. Yesterday at work I got involved in a wierd/bad situation. A little backstory: About 2 1/2 weeks ago one of our employees, J, was talking to me about how much she missed her friend V working in that dept. And how crappy it was that V has transferred out in large part due to the dept manager. She went on to tell me about things the dept manager had said/done, and this coupled with what I already had seen and heard from said manager upset me. Then J informed me a of a particularly nasty, detrimental rumor that involved herself and V-and that dept manager was spreading it. Now V is also a friend of mine, so I went to talk. Knowing things that the dept manager had already tried to start about V, I thought this needed to come to a stop. I told V what I had just heard and told him he needed to do something before anything got anyworse. At this time our head manager was on vacation. So V called our HR dept. Who promised to send someone out to talk with V the next day(which never happened) Flash forward to yesterday. Said dept manager has still been making people upset (including making an employee cry!) with snide, nasty remarks, a snappy attitude and who knows what else. V tries again to do something, but this time goes to head manager. Head manager talks to V, then talks to dept manager. Then I get pulled into it. I stated what I knew, and what had been said. Now Im the one in trouble. They sent me home early and apparently I may not have a job anymore. Because somehow I am worse than the source because I told one of the people the situaltion involved [Confused] I am accused of purpotrating rumors. Now I can understand how this would be an issue, if say I had run to other people I work with and went "Oh did you hear about soandso..." But thats not what happened. The situation involved J & V. J told me. I told V so it could be stopped. I am now the bad guy??? The dept head is in no trouble what so ever, the other people that *love* to actually spread rumors are fine too. How is it that I was trying to do something right and got in this much trouble? Somemore background that may or may not matter: I have been at said employment _well_ over a year. I killed myself physically and emotionally for this place, trying to make it better (when I strated it was in a very crappy state) I have had no customer or employee complaints about me. I only have 1 blemish on my record-which happened right after I first started-which I was following what was protocol at the time, but still got 'written up' for it. I hold the position that is the same same as above mentioned dept head, just in a different area-and I have been there a lot longer. So can anyone out there please tell me what it is I did so wrong???? [Frown]

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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Auntie Witch
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'm a bit confused, did you see an incident, or did you report hearsay?

You can't be fired for whistleblowing, but if you're slandering, you can get in trouble for that. The difference, IMO, is reporting what you see and reporting what you heard.

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Nicki
Deck the Malls


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This is definitely an HR issue and you should speak with them immediately. And help was requested from HR int he first place, it all falls back into their lap. I hope when they sent you home ysterday that it was with pay.
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Enjal
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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First, welcome to the board LLA! That's quite a first post...

An acquaintance of mine was fired from her job a few years ago for getting involved with office gossip, especially things said over email (big brother is watching!). I learned the lesson from her mistake not to get inolved with stuff like that and definitely don't talk about it over email. If someone comes and vents to you, that's fine. You can listen and even give them advice (like, advising them to talk to their boss' boss or HR, etc) but do not get involved and do not tell the story to other people.

I know it's hard because it's inevitable that we develop friendships with these people we see every day and things seem casual and/or friendly but it's just office politics. When it comes right down to it, you have to think about #1 (you) because those "friends" sure aren't going to pay your bills if you get fired.

Perhaps what you can do is talk to the head manager again and kind of tell him/her what you told us. You feel you're a valuable employee and you're sorry you got involved in this mess. All you know is hearsay and the only people you discussed it with were V and the head manager. However, do NOT repeat the part about the rumor spreaders - you don't need to make this any messier than it is.

I hope you're not really fired and that this clears up...

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"I'm a leaf in the wind"
New Lungs for George

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LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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No, they sent me home without pay. A far as what I had said to V: I reported 2 issues that I had first-hand heard from dept manager-1 involved stealing, 1 involved lying/runnning off on the company time. Both of which were unfounded and dept head was informed of so, but she kept repeating these same remarks to others. Issue #3 was on a personal issue which involved J & V. I told V because _the _rumor_ needed to be stopped, really no matter who had started it. As it could have led to trouble not only at the workplace, but in personal lives as well. I have been the victim of rumors myself (not here, but when I was younger) That I got in a heck of a lot of trouble over when they never had any basis-and I didnt know until it was to late.

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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I did go to the head manager yesterday, and fully explained the situation (and no I didnt mention anything about the other rumor spreaders, etc...) All I was told is that its up to HR to make their decision. I also explained that I hear about 50 billion snippets a week about whos doing what etc (makes me feel like Im back in high school [Roll Eyes] ) And that I dont listen to it, and I certainly dont spread it. It really sucks because up until about 6 months ago this place had a completely different atmosphere

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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So what is you position in the company? Are you a manager or supervisor? I have some guesses, but I can't say anything without that information. Who do J and V report to and who do you report to?

I will say this much, one big error was apparently made by all concerned. If anyone had an issue with the department manager it absolutely should have been taken up with the department manager first. Going to HR or the Head Manager without doing this would be at best a breach of protocol in most companies.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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I am a dept manager/manager on duty (if head manager is not there I am one of 3 people that can be 'in charge', and no the other dept manager is not one of the other 2) . I repost directly to the head manager. J reports to the other dept manager. Whom, I did address and told her that the issues I knew of 1st hand were groundless, got snippy, cut me off and continued about spreading accusations. Several other employees she went to also told her she was wrong. Didnt matter, said she was going to head manager as soon as they returned with accusations. V _used_to_ report to this dept manager. But after being treated shoddily one too many times, and after confronting did not work, decided it was best to transfer depts. V now works for a different dept head, closly affiliated w/ my dept. So yes dept manager was talked to first.

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
I will say this much, one big error was apparently made by all concerned. If anyone had an issue with the department manager it absolutely should have been taken up with the department manager first. Going to HR or the Head Manager without doing this would be at best a breach of protocol in most companies.

IME, there are exceptions to the protocol if there is a valid reason for not going to the department manager directly. For example, if the department manager has been abusive toward employees, it might be appropriate to approach his/her manager, or HR, directly. This bit of the OP:

quote:
Said dept manager has still been making people upset (including making an employee cry!) with snide, nasty remarks, a snappy attitude and who knows what else.
sounds like abusive behavior to me.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Said dept manager has still been making people upset (including making an employee cry!) with snide, nasty remarks, a snappy attitude and who knows what else.
sounds like abusive behavior to me.
Sounds like half the managers I've come across.

I'm sorry, call me evil, but I've had employees cry because of things I've said and done before. Beings snide and nasty is pretty subjective. I'd have to hear specifics, but honestly in most cases one should go to the person who is causing the problems directly first.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
I'm sorry, call me evil, but I've had employees cry because of things I've said and done before. Beings snide and nasty is pretty subjective. I'd have to hear specifics, but honestly in most cases one should go to the person who is causing the problems directly first.

I never disagreed that going to the person involved should be the first step in most cases: I pointed out that there are valid exceptions to that rule.

There is a manager in my office who for a number of years truly was abusive, not only to her own direct reports but to co-workers in other departments. Not stern, not strict, not a hardass: abusive. We're lucky we never got sued over her behavior. It got so bad that several other managers put her on notice that she was not to speak directly to their employees.

After repeated interventions (and threatened firings), her behavior finally improved. Before that, however, people who had issues with her went to HR, and management correctly did not consider that a breach of protocol.

ETA: I'm also not saying that the manager in the OP is abusive; there's not enough evidence to know that one way or the other. I merely raised the possibility.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by LittlestLostAngel:
I am a dept manager/manager on duty (if head manager is not there I am one of 3 people that can be 'in charge', and no the other dept manager is not one of the other 2) . I repost directly to the head manager. J reports to the other dept manager. Whom, I did address and told her that the issues I knew of 1st hand were groundless, got snippy, cut me off and continued about spreading accusations. Several other employees she went to also told her she was wrong. Didnt matter, said she was going to head manager as soon as they returned with accusations. V _used_to_ report to this dept manager. But after being treated shoddily one too many times, and after confronting did not work, decided it was best to transfer depts. V now works for a different dept head, closly affiliated w/ my dept. So yes dept manager was talked to first.

I want to make sure I have this correctly then. Dept head said bad stuff about both people to you. You rebuked him/her for that. Your rebuke was rebuffed and the behavier continued so you then went to the Head Manager?

If I have that all right, I can not imagine why you are in trouble for this.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
I'm sorry, call me evil, but I've had employees cry because of things I've said and done before. Beings snide and nasty is pretty subjective. I'd have to hear specifics, but honestly in most cases one should go to the person who is causing the problems directly first.

I never disagreed that going to the person involved should be the first step in most cases: I pointed out that there are valid exceptions to that rule.

There is a manager in my office who for a number of years truly was abusive, not only to her own direct reports but to co-workers in other departments. Not stern, not strict, not a hardass: abusive. We're lucky we never got sued over her behavior. It got so bad that several other managers put her on notice that she was not to speak directly to their employees.

After repeated interventions (and threatened firings), her behavior finally improved. Before that, however, people who had issues with her went to HR, and management correctly did not consider that a breach of protocol.

ETA: I'm also not saying that the manager in the OP is abusive; there's not enough evidence to know that one way or the other. I merely raised the possibility.

I think we are in agreement then. I do agree that there are manager who are so abusive that stepping out of protocol is the best and only answer. I also agree that we can not tell whether this manager in particular fits that bill.

One issue I've found though is that the average employee doesn't want to talk directly with the manager, so they'll try to go around them for the slightest reason if they can get away with it. In some corporations this type of behavier is very much frowned upon, which may be the case here.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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Beachlife: You are correct. I rebuked, was rebuffed, and am now in trouble.
I have to go in today, partly to talk w/ HR if they actually come down, and 2) because they have no one else to watch the shift. [Eek!] I will post an update as soon as I find out something.

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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SlyYoungstar
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I had been through extremely similar, one almost exactly, incidents before I really realized what the whole situation came down to. In those instances, especially in corporate run stores (big boxes, with 50+ employees mostly), the managers don't really care what happened. They understand rumors and high-schoolesque behavior is inevitable, and they will NEVER believe someone coming to them with comments. The only thing that the managers use this for is for politics in the grey area to manage their own employees as they see fit. More to the point, if they want to fire you for any reason, now they have a reason. They can make an example of you (usually what happens to most), even if you aren't at fault. It all comes down to that those situations are entirely at the disposal of the store manager, as HR will believe him 100%. So it's all an exercise in power, giving more muscle to the big boss to (unjustly) end employment if they prefer for any reason. Also, the managers believe this discourages that type of behaviour even if they didn't get the instigator, it fixes the problem at hand with the easiest (although not the correct) solution.

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Wild.Otaku
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Chances are, if HR wishes to simply let you get off with a verbal or written reprimand, you're going to have more trouble with the manager who is causing you trouble.

Look at this as a sign that a new job is in order. That or a transfer to another department far far away from this manager.

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Tom, we're flying a giant robot into space! "Safe" isn't the first word that springs to mind! - Colleen, Last Hope, Vol.2

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LittlestLostAngel
Tic Tac Dough


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Okay, went in as instructed. Immediatly got called in to talk to Heda Manager. Had to sign a disciplary paper stating that I had 'started or participated in malicious rumors' To which I added on my own 2 paragrapghs worth of comments. I am also suspended for 4 days without pay. I have been told that it is a political type thing-being that I am the only one of 3 people still employeed there that raised a flap about sexual harrassment a few months back (the other 2 quit because they just could not dela with it anymore) I have also been told that there is something *much bigger* going on that i have no clue to. So now I have to sit here figure out what Im gonna do, and where to make up the money I will be missing for bills. And yes I do need to look for a new job. I cant switch depts to get away from the other manager either as its not a *huge* place, which consists of only *5* depts, which currently I am actually head of 2 of them. This is the first time anything has ever happened to me like this in a work situation, hech in my entire _adult_ life and I feel about gutted [Frown] At least Im not crying as much today as I was yesterday.....

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I Just Kinda Fell Into It, Like A Squirrel Jumping On The Bed.....

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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The moral of the story:

Whether or not you know the people involved, keep your own mouth shut.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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And get your resume updated.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Wild.Otaku
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Here's the thing - is what you do something you can do elsewhere at another company?

If so, start looking elsewhere. I know from experience that things are not going to get better. The fact that you now have a write up in your file will not look good should anything go down. And I suspect that, what happened today might be the start of something bigger that may or may not come back to bite you in the butt later.

The only other obstacle I see is that the rumors are going to fly that you got in trouble, etc. Do not feed those rumors. Do not give HR any more reason to get yourself dragged in. If anyone asks, just repeat the phrase "The matter is closed/this isn't work related. Please don't ask me about it/I can't talk about it." Lather, rinse, repeat.

And not to sound snarky, but you might do well to tell your co-workers that got you into this situation (even though you did, by your own actions, exascerbate them), to leave you out of it next time. Maybe you can hit them up for the money you're losing for not being paid.

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Tom, we're flying a giant robot into space! "Safe" isn't the first word that springs to mind! - Colleen, Last Hope, Vol.2

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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If you went to the department manager first, and only went to HR when that manager didn't respond to you, I don't understand the problem. This really doesn't sound like a good working environment.

Sometimes a manager's inappropriate behavior is overlooked or even enabled. It's the exception, and it's wrong, but it happens. It happened for a number of years with the manager I described above. Unless there is reason to believe that those who overlook or enable this behavior are on their way out, I recommend you get out.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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mags
Jingle Bell Hock


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It sounds like they're trying to get rid of you, but don't feel like paying unemployment.

Because I'm pretty thick skinned, I'd wait it out until they fired me (maybe doing some looking around while I wait, just be sure to do it on your own time, and outside of your company internet access). And keep my mouth shut about anything that isn't directly related to my job duties.

I did a little co-op job one summer when I was in college. I didn't learn much, but I did get a very good voice of experience from a co-worker. He said the first couple of months at a job is about getting used to your duties, etc, but after that it is all office politics.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by mags:
I did a little co-op job one summer when I was in college. I didn't learn much, but I did get a very good voice of experience from a co-worker. He said the first couple of months at a job is about getting used to your duties, etc, but after that it is all office politics.

If that's really his experience, and/or yours, I'm sorry to hear it. I've heard the same line myself, and it's true of some work environments, but I've spent most of my working life in places where that's not true. Office politics always matter, but if your job is "all office politics," you're working in a dysfunctional environment.

Maybe I've just been unbelievably luck, but 90% of the 20+ years of my professional life has been spent in jobs that were not all office politics.

I once worked (briefly!) in a municipal government where office politics were nightmarish. People wasted no opportunity to stab people in the back, trash-talk them to their bosses, spread malicious rumors about their personal lives, etc. I was blindsided by it, having worked for 10 years without experiencing anything like that. I was told "That's how all offices are." Not true. I was told "That's how it is when women work together." [Mad] Sexist and not true.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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