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Friday, March 04, 2011

How to Get Your Boss Fired

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My coworkers and I are all miserable because our manger is, in a word, terrible. While I’d love to list her shortcomings (they are many), I’ll just say that in the seven months she has been here, she single-handedly ruined what used to be a fantastic, high-functioning group.

Finally, one of our coworkers (we’ll call her Tanya) approached HR about the problems we’ve been having. This launched a little investigation into our team. Over the past eight weeks or so, HR has been meeting with each of us individually, Tanya and our manager together, and the manager’s boss (who visibly bristles every time this woman talks) separately. We were sure this investigation would culminate in our manager’s termination. Yet, she persists.

As far as we can tell, our manager is railroading us at every turn, and HR is blaming Tanya for being insubordinate. They also seem to think the rest of us are all on edge because Tanya and our manager don’t get along. Dumb. It seems completely infeasible that they don’t see what’s really going on, but they’ve shown no indication that they’re going to do anything but develop more “process” for us and mediate the conflict between Tanya and the manager. We’re feeling pretty helpless right now.

We’re all actively looking for other jobs (and helping each other look), but we’d really love to salvage the situation here if at all possible. Is there anything you recommend we can do as a group to tactfully communicate, “You’re about to lose an entire team of people if you don’t get rid of her”? We’re vaguely considering approaching HR as a group, but we’re not even sure how that conversation would go. Any insight you can give would be greatly appreciated

How to Get Your Boss Fired


Tired of Working Here said...

The poster needs to know the real consequences of going to HR to complain about a manager.

You will get a reputation as a trouble maker.

Then you will be fired or laid off at the first earliest opportunity.

At my company, last year more than a dozen people went to HR at the same time about the same problem manager. There have been complaints for years, and there is a very large file on this person. What happened is that the boss called a meeting of the entire division and threatened to fire everyone.

A few months ago, we had a layoff and everyone who was in the group that went to HR was let go. A few people of the original group had been fired individually during the year.

And the troublesome manager is still here and thriving.

Management always sticks together.

Charles said...

"Tanya" has my most sincere sympathy; as her co-workers don't seem to have her back.

What a great team! (that's sarcasm, BTW)

Years ago I was in her place. This was in the pre-9/11 USofA. In the days when you didn't need to show ID to get on a plane, just show your ticket (hard to believe we used to do that, isn't it?).

I was the new employee, the first who refused to fly under the owner's name. Everyone else willing flew under his name without a peep of protest. I spoke up and said that not only is that illegal, but if the plane crashes, my family is NOT protected. I will have dissappeared from the face of the earth and my family will not be able to collect life insurance, etc. as there will be no record of me ever being on that plane.

Well, "all hell broke loose," I was made out to be the bad guy, the new employee who refused to do his job, not a team player, etc.

We all knew the reality of the situation was that the owner was loosing all that frequent-flyer mileage; and as far as he was concerned it was my fault.

Oh, and where were all my co-workers in this? Nowhere, not one word out of anyone else's mouth. Zero, zip, nada was said by anyone else. I alone was the bad guy - despite the fact that they all benefited from my "protest" as, eventually, everyone flew under his/her own name.

So, Tanya, if you're reading this - you need to look out for yourself and your co-workers be damned. They seem to be using you as their cannon fodder.

I hope Tanya quickly finds a new job; one with teammates who have her back.

Tanya said...

Well, in my opinion, your language seems to show that you & your group are somewhat hesitant in dealing with the situation. Perhaps you are all afraid that you may receive the same treatment that you have witnessed Tanya receiving. Or maybe you are releived to see that she is receiving the wrath, acting as a buffer between the rest of you and management. Or maybe, for the time being, her being the 'bad guy' in the eyes of the manager, may make you all look a bit better.

It is possible that as long as Tanya is facing the brunt of the problems you and your coworkers are 'in the clear', however, not speaking up to HR and upper management as a group is really only prolonging the inevitable.

I am not doubting that you all feel the need for action to be taken with the manager or that things have gotten bad. But sitting back 'contemplating' will not make your situation any better. Especially if upper management & HR see this as only a problem between Tanya and the manager. You will have better luck convincing them otherwise if you all approach them together!

You are all looking elsewhere for work? If Tanya is, or has, as well (why would she stay?) she will no longer be available as that buffer, or the scapegoat, or as a 'spokesperson' for the rest of you. Gain some backbone and approach HR together. HR will be the advocate and be present during the 'big' discussion with upper mangagment. But don't be surprised if the UM takes the manager's side, so it's best to keep looking elsewhere in the meantime.

I just went through this EXACT same scenario at my (former) job. I was Tanya (and actually AM Tanya - actual name & this story really could be about me), and to be honest, it take alot of guts to stand up to the boss when things are wrong. Unfortunately, I was the only one while everyone else sat back and hoped it wasn't going to happen to them. Now I have moved on and they are all left to feel the wrath themselves. A bad place to be for sure, but I really am not feeling bad for any of my former co-workers one bit!

@ Charles, I HAVE moved on to a better job at a different company... in the HR department of all things! And you know what? this scenario will NEVER happen with my employees if I have anything to do with it!

~Becky~ said...

This happens every workplace. The problem is that HR has this way of forgetting who they are really there to help. i.e. they are in place to make their organization a happy enjoyable place to work. However, HR depts. have forgot that. Instead of doing what they should be doing, they are more focused on keeping everything "hush hush", and helping current managers maintain control and power. Sad, but true...

Similar topics will be discussed @

LoyalNation said...

Over time, the organization may have to re-build the team environment that is lacking.

Anonymous said...


A note to the complainer...

How did she manage to ruin your team if you were so great together previously?

And how come you didn't confront (a creative and potentially resolving technique!) your manager right at the beginning when you began to feel unhappy?

Empathise totally with you, know your situation can be miserable, and my experience is situations dealt with swiftly at the beginning can be nipped in the bud.

You all need a Whack Around The Head in the best possible way!

Anonymous said...

I am the 'Tanya' in my current situation. As a matter of fact, I just gave my notice Monday morning. This manager in my office has been a problem since she was hired and everyone in the company knows it, but she's nice to look at, so why would the older, middle aged VP fire her? I was encouraged by coworkers to file a complaint, so being the naive employee I was, I filed it 2 weeks ago.

When I had a follow up call, I found out the same co worker who encouraged me to stand up for myself, totally backed down and even covered for my boss DESPITE all the bad mouthing she does on a regular basis. To add salt to the wound, I found out that they were digging up stuff to get reason to fire me and would have succeeded had I not already been looking elsewhere. I was offered a better position and I kid you not, the day I submitted my resignation, they looked so disappointed that I beat them to the punch! I learned a huge lesson in this and will not allow myself to be the pariah EVER again!

Another Evil HR Director said...

Ummm, No, Becky. It is not HR's job to make your workplace happy and enjoyable. We are there to support the mission of the business through maintaining a qualified workforce. Many things go into that, including ensuring employment laws are applied properly and consistently, recruiting and hiring candidates appropriate to the positions, and so on. If all of these things are done correctly, hopefully, the workplace will be happy.

~Becky~ said...

Another Evil HR Director….you made my point clear… HR has changed. You are correct, HR maintains a qualified work force. But how much follow up is done? We trust that the managers and directors we hire maintain a high level of integrity to make sure their section of the organization is functioning properly. But do you actually make sure that is correct? HR does have the responsibility to make sure the high expectations and promises made during an interview became reality. You can take credit for hiring the most “qualified and spectacular” candidate…but you also have to take the responsibility when you made the wrong choice. The biggest flaw comes with evaluations, and yearly competencies. The majority of organizations use programs that are valuable, but the same every year. How often do you get a personal visit for someone to physically look with their own eyes, and listen with their own ears?? HR was established to maintain and support the mission of the organization, and one of those missions is what I said. HR is complex field, including many changing laws, and statistics; but you are there to control. Make yourself available. Sometimes an employee needs to go to someone for answers, help, and advice. If they can get that from their manager, Great. But in the above scenario it sounds like the manager was the issue.

Ask a Manager said...

Becky, you wrote initially that HR is "in place to make their organization a happy enjoyable place to work." This actually isn't right; HR is there to support the business goals of the company. Generally speaking, having happy employees is in the best interests of the company, but it's actually not HR's job to do that. HR is there to ensure that the company is following employment law, that compensation policies support their goals, that personnel and hiring practices are effective, etc. If the company is well-managed, most good employees will be happy (most poor ones may not be). But that's not the point of why they're there.

I write this as a hiring manager, not an HR person myself, but I think you'd find few competent hiring managers or HR people who would agree with you.

Ness Papers said...

Quite an interesting and thought provoking post.

Leigh said...

This is an interesting post.. we have been having problems with one of our supervisors.. some of the complaints are legitimate and some are not. At any rate, we are looking for a solution without firing anyone. We are considering using supervisor training courses online.. have anyone else used these? Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

This has been an interesting read so far but seems to fall short on it's topic. Now lets get back on topic please, how to get your boss fired? Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

To give more training to an itot is the dumbest thing i've heard. most companies today have no common sense. they want good moral, but keep itiots on that are tyrants and fire the good people. if there are any complaints against a manager- they need to go. Quit covering up for crapping leadership and whacko's that you are afraid to fire.