So then...

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."

Saturday, 18 August 2012

WEEK 240 Wise Monkeys

HR Zone magazine wrote a short article this week called “Can You Keep a Secret?” after a Mars Drinks Office Connections survey revealed HR Practitioners were the most likely to divulge personal information about colleagues. The results were as follows:

“While an average of 33.6% of those questioned had divulged private information to a co-worker, the figure rose to 37.6% among HR practitioners”.

The article raised more questions than it answered. The writer didn’t touch on whether this was appropriate or consider whether this was something that should be addressed. A spokesperson for Mars put a happy spin on it, commenting that it was heartening, in a world of technology, that people are still effectively chatting by the water-cooler.

The problem is, of course, is that it is HR’s job to be privy to private and sensitive information about staff. I found out the hard way. The most extreme example of this can be found in the transcript behind my WEEK 34 blog, Boutros Boutros Ghali (where I covertly recorded my bullying boss and the Practice Manager/HR being particularly spiteful). HR, laughing along with my boss, also joked about sensitive, personal information revealed privately to her by a former colleague. I still find it shocking that the transcript, reflecting the outrageous levels of bullying, also shows HR delighting in the personal problems of someone else.

It’s a lack of training, of course.

And perhaps HR forgets that people often reveal personal details only because they have to. Employees must give reasons for illness or explain a request for a few days off work at short notice. Employees are usually cajoled into talking to HR if they’re visibly angry or upset in work - whether it’s work or something personal that’s caused it. As time goes by, perhaps HR believes people confide in them, not because for their job, but for their friendship. Therefore, information may have been given on a conversational, rather than a confidential, basis.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

We all know how HR often turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to workplace bullying. That’s the nature of the job in many workplaces. So in this context I can’t offer a better suggestion for HR to adopt than the three wise monkeys’ proverb:

“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

They’ve got the first two mastered well enough.

Very best


sheila said...

I have witnessed a HR Manager discussing staff's personal issues - and it made me so angry. This particular HR Boss who was also my own boss was a bully and a gossip - I sadly had to leave a job that I enjoyed and was also very good at just because of her. She really was a nasty piece of work - and I was not the first good member of staff to leave becuase of her
When I left I did report it to the staff partner of the practice - but sadly it didnt get me anywhere and she went on to bully and let other staff members down.

Bullied By The Boss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bullied By The Boss said...

Hi Sheila,

Thanks for your comment.

I think it's all the more shocking because HR is viewed as supposedly having some level of confidentiality across the board. This doesn't appear to be the case at all.

Your experience when reporting the matter is also sadly typical.

How short sighted for a firm to back a poor HR Manager - and what a cost to the firm when that manager forces staff to find work elsewhere!

There should be a standard training certificate for this kind of role. Until that happens, I'm afraid these situations will repeat.

Bottom Swirl