Over the last month Locum People has been asked to independently investigate 3 different bullying complaints by three different clients across two Australian states. A quick summary of cases follows;
The first was a middle manager who was making homophobic comments and taking other actions against an openly gay member of his customer service team. This was a cut and dry case complete with recordings of the manager doing it, as well as other evidence including witnesses. The manager was terminated.
The second was a complaint made against a manager by an under-performing female employee who objected to being more closely managed and observed than her colleagues (who weren’t under-performing). We reviewed the company data on her performance, compared it to her colleagues in parallel roles, and interviewed the employee and her manager. We concluded that she was not being bullied. The company has a legal right to manage and provide feedback to and coach under-performing employees. The employee resigned in this case as her complaint made her position untenable.
The last case was that of a highly experienced 60 year old female salesperson who was being “performance managed” out of the business even though she was the second highest performing salesperson (of 10) in the country. Her Manager had simply decided she was too old and wanted her to leave the business so she could be replaced with a younger person. She was clearly being unfairly treated – despite her performance she was being given substantial additional reporting and targets to meet that weren’t required of her younger colleagues. In fact the additional tasks and reporting were having an adverse effect on her sales as she was spending less time with customers in order to complete them. Our conclusion was the manager was bullying the employee because of her age, but tried to disguise it as legitimate performance management. The manager resigned when presented with our findings.
Company Directors has significant legal responsibilities to provide safe workplaces. Bullying is psycho-socially an unsafe behaviour and must not be tolerated in the workplace. Significant penalties including imprisonment apply to Directors who fail to stop bullying when they become aware of it. As an added protection, Directors will often use an external consultant like Locum People to ensure there is no personal bias applied to the investigations. In the third case mentioned above the company’s HR manager was implicated as she had been involved in the sham “performance management” meetings (in her defence, she had not been provided with the facts by the now departed manager).
If you need support with neutral third party investigations into similar complaints, please don’t hesitate to contact Locum People.