So, I’ve read enough posts to understand how HR works however, after reading several similar topics, I am still unsure of what to do.

I have been a bookkeeper/assistant manager for a very large apartment complex for over 3 years. I have had the same manager who is on site with me the whole time. We are actually good friends, but his behavior and management has been a serious concern since we’ve first started working together.

Our property has changed management companies 3 times since we’ve been there. I contacted HR with Corporate Management #1 around 6 months after starting my position. They never even responded to me but my boss made it very well known that they told him about it. Things were awkward for a while. Eventually I learned how to get into “his good graces” and keep my mouth shut. The problem is, for the past 3 years I have been taken advantage of and overworked to the point that I couldn’t possibly take anymore.

Now, I tried dealing with this on my own for years! Every time I attempted to have a professional conversation about my position and my concerns, I was immediately met with aggressive and defensive sarcasm. A lot of times he would even laugh at me.

Recently, I’ve hit my limit. I’m not exactly sure why. I decided that I can’t do this anymore so I can either quit with no explanation or I can contact HR for help.

This new management company, unlike the others is great with communication. I’ve already spoken with our corporate manager several times. He’s asked me before how I feel about my boss but I always said, “I don’t want to say anything”.

So, I sent my corporate manager an email. Starting out the email with “I have some serious concerns that I feel it is my job to our staff and our residents to make you aware of. I’ve been reluctant to come forward in the past because 3 years ago, I went to Corporate Management #1 and my confidentiality was broken and nothing was done to fix the issues”. I then laid out several bullet points of concerns and said to please not say anything until we can talk.

He immediately called me. The first thing he emphasized was that my name will absolutely NOT be involved. He asked me to elaborate on a few things. The main thing that upset him was that my boss is constantly speaking very poorly of our new management and specifically him. I told him about text messages proving exactly that. He asked that I send him screenshots of those messages. Of course, I did.

3 days later HR shows up at the office (a woman I’ve never met) and she speaks to everyone individually. I already had to cover myself because I was the only one she took for a drive to talk to. Everyone was suspicious of that but I said “I have no clue why she did that”. The next day, the corporate manager was there. He first met with my boss. Then he came into my office and shut the door. He said that he’s been informed that I go around telling everyone that he constantly texts and calls me looking for dirt on my coworkers. This is completely untrue. But I attempted to say that’s not true but he was clearly upset so I just let him talk. He didn’t say much else other than he’s never had a company with as many personal issues as ours. He also mentioned that he spoke with my boss about retaliation and that it won’t be tolerated. This was odd, since I didn’t think retaliation was a concern since my name was not to come up.

About 30 minutes later, the second the corporate manager steps out, my boss comes into my office and says, “What did I ever do to you?” I said I didn’t know what you are talking about. He then says that he was shown the screenshots that I had sent to the corporate manager! He knew it was me since he sent it only to me. I basically panicked and said “I’m not allowed to say anything right now”

Naturally the rest of the day was extremely awkward. I honestly don’t know How we are suppose to work with each other now.

I’m not sure out of all the concerns I gave him, the texts being a smaller concern in my opinion; Why show him the text?! I’m not sure if he even realizes that he called me out.

This happened today. So, do I say something tomorrow about the screenshot being shown to him and causing and uncomfortable work environment for me or do I let this go and learn my lesson? I guess I’d like to know if that is all that will come of my coming forward. What was the point of of calling me out? Was it even intentional? I really want to ask these things to my corporate manager but I do not want to be unprofessional or dig myself into a hole. This is driving me nuts. Advise is much appreciated.

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    "I let this go and learn my lesson" It's too late for that now. You are all in. The only end result I can see now is that one of you has to go. If you don't want that to be you, you'll have to report everything to HR from now on. Of course, they still could get rid of you in the end. Prepare your exit strategy, just in case. – Roland Dec 12 '18 at 7:33
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    @AdrianoRepetti She might have approached HR in the wrong way but "Every time I attempted to have a professional conversation about my position and my concerns, I was immediately met with aggressive and defensive sarcasm." is a valid reason to complain about a manager (although I would have found a new position instead). – Roland Dec 12 '18 at 7:44
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    Please could you use paragraphs to make this readable – Ed Heal Dec 12 '18 at 7:51
  • Thank you Adriano Repetti. I appreciate and understand where Roland is coming from. I actually regret saying anything about the text because it was unnecessary and petty. But the point is, that was a tiny detail compared to the serious issues that I addressed. When your property is failing and people are unable to do their jobs, something had to be said. – Daisy05 Dec 12 '18 at 7:52
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    @daisy however what and how is important. The comment about "personal issues" made by corporate manager should be enlightening because that's how they saw your criticism. There might be a chance that things will change but your relationship with your manager (and possibly with corporate) is permanently doomed. Criticisms MUST always be CONSTRUCTIVE and professional and, at lease from what I can understand from your question, you missed both points. – Adriano Repetti Dec 12 '18 at 7:59

So, do I say something tomorrow about the screenshot being shown to him and causing and uncomfortable work environment for me or do I let this go and learn my lesson?

It's way too late to try to make friends back on this one.

He won't care about causing an uncomfortable work environment for you. Heck, he'll probably relish in it.

Treat it as a lesson - HR are not going to cuddle up to you and keep you anonymous just to make your life easier. They'll do what's easier for them, and even if they didn't mention you by name, you have to assume others would have worked it out.

As for this job, I think you have to accept two things now:

  • You're not likely to have an enjoyable day at work for a long while, if ever. You've got a reputation as an office snitch, and no-one trusts you.
  • You need to make an extra attempt to cover your backside, because if you step out of line in a reportable way, then you have to assume people will retaliate and report you. (The fact HR said "don't worry about retaliation" is irrelevant.)

If it were me, based on the above two points, I'd be looking for new work ASAP.

  • IMMEDIATELY get a lawyer and contact your union representative if you're in a union.
    Gather everything that happened in writing with as much proof as you can to show them.

  • Avoid and deflect conversations about anything but day to day operations until you talked to your counsel and got advice how to handle yourself.
    If possible take a day or two off for this.

  • Also, it is probably time to look for a new job (if only as a backup plan).
    Your immediate manager seems to have taken advantage of you and bullied you.
    Things will get most likely worse now that he knows you told on him

    He also seems to have slandered you and upper management seems to have bought it.
    Corporate management may let you go soon as a result.

When you get legal counsel make sure to present your documents in a chronological order and with short, concise and precise sentences.

Your post is hard to follow.
I understand that you're emotional and really upset but now it's important to be calm.

Good luck!

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