Don’t assume that HR is your buddy

Time and again I learn about situations where employees erroneously believed that the human resources office was their friend in helping to resolve a workplace conflict or problem.  The truth is maybe yes, quite possibly no.

Understanding the multifaceted roles and true loyalties of HR is an important starting place.  Toward that end, from via Yahoo!, here’s an interesting piece by Jim Rendon, 10 Things Human Resources Won’t Say:

1. “We’re Squeezed Too.”
2. “We’re Not Always Your Advocate…”
3. “…But We Can Help Your Career.”
4. “Want the job? Then You’ll Want to Get to Know Us.”
5. “Yes, Facebook Can Get You Fired.”
6. “In Some Companies, We’re Not Very Useful at All.”
7. “You’re Not Paranoid — We are Watching You.”
8. “Read the Fine Print.”
9. “We Know More About You Than You think.”
10. “We Love Tests.”

It echoes some of the observations made in one of this blog’s most popular posts, “HR was useless”, which discusses some of the realities of relying on HR to help workers.

Targets of workplace bullying, sexual harassment, etc., and potential whistleblowers, take heed.

One response

  1. Oh yes, I was harassed and bullied at Disney, and HR did nothing. What had started as sexual harassment / unprofessional workplace, had segued to retribution, when I’d asked for intervention.

    when I complained to HR, I didn’t realize that HR was just a conduit to Disney lawyers, whose job it was to get rid of any perceived trouble, period.

    In fact, a “kangaroo” court was set up where I was told I “didn’t have the right sense of humor”. That’s when I really should have left and talked to a lawyer.

    Meanwhile, the passive-aggressive – sometimes obvious – harassment and work sabotage continued – just really juvenile.

    For awhile, I kept all the relevant/ incriminating emails, which proved my situation – Gloria Allred even wanted to take my case – but I decided I didn’t want to spend my time that way (It would likely take years) so I tossed the documents – big mistake.

    What Disney did then was: first lay me off (even though I had more tenure, which was against union rules). Then, when the rest of the crew was laid off, most of them were also blackballed for about 2 years.

    I got rehired some months later, in a new department by new boss and department head who both believed me when I explained everything. Then, some of my former bullying cohorts got hired into my new department, and even though they weren’t even on my show, they made a point of starting a new whisper campaign. I got laid off again, blackballed again by the new department manager – who had originally believed me. (My newest boss, who actually wanted me back, told me.)

    Then, this manager died (!) – the coast was clear, and my newest boss re-hired me.

    I finished this last show, and then, when my boss tried to re-hire me for a new show, I was called in for what I thought was a cursory interview. Instead, it turned out to be a kind of kangaroo cross-examination. I was vaguely accused of all sorts of things and told to prove otherwise – which was impossible. They were so vague, there was nothing to counter. It was a sham.

    My boss then took me for a walk around the grounds, and told me that, even though he wanted to re-hire me, the new manager told him: “We can’t tell you you can’t hire her, but you can’t hire her”. He said he was scared for his own job at that point, so he told me, “I’m not going to fall on my sword for you” – even though he knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact, I was the injured party from the start, when I first stood up to the workplace harassment.

    I’d heard Disney could be nasty – I can tell you now – it’s true.

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