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I took out a grievance against my boss and now he has taken one out against me!!

I took out a grievance against my boss and now he has taken one out against me!!

I took out a grievance againast my boss for bullying and while this was being investigated he has apparently taken out a counter-grievance against me! How is this possible when he has never taken any disciplinary action against me?

I thought the nightmare would soon be over as my own grievance was filed early in December and i thought I would be out of there by now, but personnel have told me I must wait until my boss's grievance has been fully investigated before they can draw any final conclusions.

They will soon be interviewing my whole department, I dont even know waht his grievance is about, I haven't done anything wrong but now I feel humiliated and embarassed and work is virtually impossible - it is affecting my health and I have told them this - and becuase he has thrown a spanner in the works, it could all take weeks more to resolve. I just can't stand being at work until then.

I have complained to personnel that my boss has had every chance to respond to my grievance and that if he has taken out a separate grievance then it should be treated completely separately - but they disagree. I spoke to a lawyer who told me he had never heard of a manager taking out a grievance against someone who works for him. Surely this just highlights his own inadequacies as a manager?


2/1/2008 2:12:21 PM

Presumably your boss's grievance is connected with your own, [otherwise there surely would be no possible reason for postponing yours] so you have a right to know what allegations are being made against you: if your boss's grievance just amounts to a rebuttal of the bullying allegations you are making, there is no need for it to be a separate grievancd at all; if it contains new or different allegations about you [a] you have a right to know what they are and [b] why wasn't it made until directly after you raised your own grievance ? Moreover, it will need someone *completely* independent of your boss to hear your grievance against him or her. You might ask the lawyer you spoke to whether it's worth sending your employers a letter on your behalf pointing out that the delay in hearing your grievance is causing you very considerable stress; that your being told that a counter-grievance has been raised against you amounts to further bullying and intimidation etc etc.

Next step might be just to leave if it all gets too much then to claim for constructive unfair dismissal, but this is quite risky from your point of view compared with staying put if you possibly can - best to follow the other advice you have access to and make sure meantime everything that happens gets fully logged-down in writing; all oral conversations and meetings are noted and the like !


2/1/2008 2:55:41 PM

If your lawyer says that, then either s/he is not an employment lawyer, ot s/he is rubbish. In 99 cases out of 100, a complaint against a manager will result in a counter-grievance being lodged, and in about 25% of the cases that I have dealt with, the counter grievance is justified. I am not saying that this is the case in your situation, as you haven't said what is going on, but it is true nonetheless. I often come up against staff who insist (against advice) in putting in a grievance because they confuse bullying with not being allowed to do what they want, how they want, when they want! There are even well documented cases of very clever bullies manipulating people into loosing it with them, then complaining about the victim bullying them! So the situation is very far from rare, and I am afraid that HR are handling it exactly as they would be recommended to. The standard advice in these situations is to maintain the grievances as linked, and investigate both simultaneously, as the evidence relating to one may through light on the other. You could ask HR why you are being investigated, but at this stage they are under no obligation to tell you. They only have to tell you what the allegations are if it is decided that they are going to proceed to a disciplinary. However, if they want to interview you, you can either ask for the questions in advance, or, if they refuse this, you have the right to ask to respond at a later stage when you have had time to think about what they are asking.

I'm sorry, but the fact is that this may drag on for a lot longer than you envisaged at first. It is highly unlikely to be resolved within weeks, and there are plenty of cases where such grievances drag on for months. If it's affecting your health you should see your GP, - or discuss it with HR or OH and see if they can suggest any temporary solutions - but I am afraid that other than that, there isn't really very much more that you can do until HR decides how to proceed. I think I should also mention, although you probably won't thank me for this, that my advice would be "hope for the best and prepare for the worst" - most trades union reps hate representing cases of bullying and harassment because they seldom end happily, and even when backed by substantial evidence, the complainant more often than not gets shafted. Sorry.


2/1/2008 3:06:47 PM