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TL;DR: Partner might no be able to sit exams due to manager refusing/ignoring having to "sign off" her logbook, meaning she wouldn't qualify for a higher senior salary for at least another 6 months.

My domestic partner is set to sit some exams to become a senior (and get a higher senior salary) in her role in a few weeks, and part of the registration process is completing a logbook. This logbook is comprised of 40 pieces of work, her comments on each piece of work, and her manager's comments on each piece of work. She has filled in all her parts, and all that is left to do is the manager's comments which he is showing absolutely no signs of doing, even though over the last 2 weeks he has "promised" to do it "tomorrow" or "at the weekend".

His latest offence was on Friday, where he said "I will absolutely get it done this weekend". Monday afternoon when he came into work (he should work 9-5:30, and nobody including his manager knew where he was), he hadn't done it, and was bragging that "he got drunk Friday, was hungover all Saturday, and decided to play golf Sunday". This to me shows a complete lack of respect for my partner, her training, and interest in him doing the work, and come this Friday (the deadline for entries) I have 0 confidence he will have done it.

If he doesn't do it, she can't sit on her exams for another 6 months, potentially losing 6 months worth of a higher salary. What kind of protections does my partner have from this type of process abuse? How can she best exert those protections?

  • 35
    Can she go over her manager's head? – user1666620 Jun 26 '18 at 13:48
  • @TMH, since the legal question is off-topic here, I edited your question to something that is on-topic but should still be helpful to your situation. Feel free to edit your question further. – David K Jun 26 '18 at 13:55
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    I updated the post to be squarely on topic(What can i do when negotiating the workplace in this scenerio) and away from the legal danger zone. I clarified domestic partner because when I first read this I thought legal or business partner. If that reading was wrong please update. Great Question – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 26 '18 at 16:27
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Keep a paper trail, documentation is your friend

That being said, your partner should request that it be done immediately, and stress the potential impact it can have on their career. They should do this in an e-mail or some other form of trackable communication. If it does not get done ASAP, they should then escalate it up the chain of command to this individuals direct superior.

Having a paper trail where they act professionally is critical in covering for themself and protecting their best interests. If he doesn't do his job, they can use that trail to push for concessions without damaging their relationship with their employer, or they can pre-emptively push to have someone else complete the paperwork in time to avoid a 6-month delay.

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Escalate the issue to more senior management

Ultimately your supervisor sets your priorities. This is true not only for your partner, but for her manager as well. (For the sake of brevity, let's call him Bill.) If this logbook isn't a priority for your partner's manager (Bill,) she should escalate to his/her supervisor.

In a calm and professional manner she should explain to Bill's boss that she is worried about whether or not the log book will be completed on time. She should explain the importance of the log book and how it will affect her career, and ask for his/her help in insuring that Bill completes the required work on schedule despite the many competing demands for his time. Doing so in writing will be best for the sake of future documentation, but doing so in person will be best for sending a more nuanced and personal message. If it were me I would prefer to talk to the big boss in person.

I would also downplay the personal attacks and try to express an understanding (even if it is feigned) for how busy Bill must be and how hard it can be to juggle multiple priorities at once in a demanding environment. Try to take the high road, as attacking Bill to his boss won't likely go over well.

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    100% agree with downplaying the personal issue, and making it seem like he might just be too busy. IMO this is more professional than any other approach when going over someone's head. – GOATNine Jun 26 '18 at 14:18
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    I also prefer talking to the manager's manager in person, but with a follow up e-mail... "Dear Sally, thank you for meeting with me about my logbook. Just to make sure I haven't missed anything, action items from our meeting are: 1) I will hand over my logbook to bill today (done). 2) Bill will sign my logbook by Thursday. ... This will ensure that my logbook is completed by the deadline of Friday." – user3067860 Jun 26 '18 at 17:22
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    “Bill will sign my logbook on Wednesday morning” so that she can kick his ass on Wednesday lunch time, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning, strangle him Thursday evening, no exam, but it should make her feel better. – gnasher729 Jun 26 '18 at 21:03
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    Going over someone's head is a very serious thing you can't go back from. That said, I think this is the right way to go. This raise will mean a boost to the person's salary not just now, but for the rest of their career! Every extra raise will be based on this. Plus, it might look bad on the record to be like "This person didn't get their required documents in" which might be taken into account for future promotions. You don't want that. – corsiKa Jun 27 '18 at 4:07
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    In any case, the logbook should be submitted by the deadline. If the manager's comments are extremely short to the point of non-existence (meaning that senior management didn't provide sufficient motivation), include a note identifying the manager and when the work was delivered to receive his comments. In the fields I'm familiar with that require this sort of examination, obtaining a license includes the obligation to honestly review the work of underlings. Not doing so becomes an issue subject to discipline by the board up to and including revocation of the lazy supervisor's own license. – Ben Voigt Jun 27 '18 at 4:34
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You are right, we cannot offer legal counsel here as it is out of the scope of the Workplace.

What she can try, however, is to apply pressure on this manager. What I mean is that the only person applying pressure is your partner. Your manager has made it it clear that it doesn't matter to him.

You have mentioned multiple managers have to comment on her work. She could ask the following question to one of the other managers:

Manage X has not commented yet on my work. Does that mean my exams will be delayed by another 6 months ?

This manager should realize this is a mismanagement issue and try and solve it. Either by making sure the delay doesn't occur because of something out of her control, or by telling the manager to do his job.

Also, the only reason I am suggesting going to one of the other managers is because your partner has already tried the direct way (multiple times).

Edit: user1666620 has suggested CC'ing all of the managers in an e-mail. This is a good idea.

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    Don't say "does that mean my exams will be delayed by another 6 months?" That creates a reality where the exams are delayed. Assume for a fact that there will be no delay, figure out the things that need to happen for this, and tell the other manager what must happen. – gnasher729 Jun 26 '18 at 14:53
  • @gnasher Agreed. Replacing that with "my exams absolutely cannot be delayed for another 6 months" and you're closer. Yes, that may sound forceful, but you're entitled to feel strongly about things which personally disadvantage you. – Graham Jun 27 '18 at 0:17
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He says he will do it tomorrow. Which seems to mean "mañana" which means "not today".

This matter is important. Therefore you go to his desk, and insist that these forms are filled out now. While you wait. There is nothing more important. If there are any objections, you ask "You should have done this a long time ago, so will it help if I call (whoever his manager is) and explain the matter to them?"

If you have to call his manager, tell them that X's job is to fill out these papers, that you will miss your exam if he doesn't, that he has come with lame excuses for weeks, and that now he refuses to do his job. Remember his latest excuse was that he got too drunk on Friday, and was so hungover that he turned up at work late in the afternoon. That will go down very well with his manager (who surely knows what kind of employee he's got).

  • When asking the manager to fill the forms out now, it might be helpful to schedule a meeting to block out the manager's time. It depends on the culture and the partner's relationship with the manager i.e. if it is common to send meeting requests in the company. He may feel overwhelmed by all his tasks and that approach might help. If that doesn't work, or he refuses, then option 2 is a good one (at that point he's just being a jerk) – Colin Young Jun 27 '18 at 16:15
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Assuming she has regularly asked him to do it, I think the blunt approach is needed. She should go up to him and ask why he is trying to sabotage her career by not doing up the documents. If necessary she can soften the tone of the question, but often blunt works better than being nice.

Another option is to ask the same question via email but include all of the managers' supervisors as well. Nobody likes looking bad in front of their boss. If your partner is brave enough, remind him in the email that he had promised to do the comments over the weekend but on Monday had told her he had spent the weekend getting hammered or hungover.

  • -1 Negligence is not necessarily malice. This is bad advice because it assumes bad faith on part of the manager. Even if the manager is malicious, it's never a good idea to go hard against someone who has power over your future (as managers usually do). No reason to go for the showdown, even if you win you'll still have to work with the guy – rath Jun 26 '18 at 14:12
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    @rath If I understand the question properly, there are 3 days left for the OP's partner to get the comments before she is forced to wait 6 months. At this stage negligence is indistinguishable from malice. The point is to force the manager to act immediately and this is a valid way to get him to do itm the nice approach seemingly hasn't worked yet, so there's no point repeating it. – user1666620 Jun 26 '18 at 14:18
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    Negligence that costs your subordinate a promotion for six months is malice. – gnasher729 Jun 26 '18 at 14:51
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You can sue for anything, but only a lawyer can advise you on whether the cost of litigation would be justified in what you could gain from a lawsuit. Also, litigation would likely destroy the relationship between your partner and her company. I imagine a much better solution would be to have your partner go to her managers supervisor, as this does not directly cost the company anything other than handling a problem that already exists within their chain of command.

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