I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Back story: I was put on a project that was far behind and was very low developer quality adhering to no set of standards or practices. The project was not following the company's Standard Operating Procedures even the most essential like code reviews. I had begun communicating that in our messaging application to the team and kept trying to push for change in a positive way. Sadly, the team manager refused to listen was actively combative and would do the opposite or disagree for the sake of disagreeing with me, it was a rough scenario. I persevered and made changes to the standard where I could and the other developers came to rely on me and I was able to help them finish their sprint goals and aid them in their coding while doing my own and the improvements when time permitted. Later on another developer came onto the project as an architect and was able to tell the team manager to implement the changes I proposed.

Flash forward to yesterday. I have a review with our group manager, the team managers long time friend. I am told that my communication was distracting the other team members and I am responsible for sprint delays despite having a mountain of evidence to the contrary and the project being further when I joined. She, the group manager, had proceeded to tell me she had told this to upper management. When asked how my core job capacity was I was told everything was fine. When asked if she could point to a message that was distracting or non-constructive she would not. I was then told that all of the changes that I was able to get implemented thanks to the architect were all the architects credit. She was also unable to provide any means of improvement for my core job capacity.

Now I fully intend to tender my resignation, but I do not want to leave with upper management thinking that I was incompetent or the cause of them losing a few hundred thousand dollars. I have all the messages and I even have proof that the two managers were lying to upper management on the reason why some features were just ignore.

I do not know if I should go to HR with this first or email the department manager with examples show casing everyplace he has been lied to along with examples of my supposed negative communication. There's also a possibility of letting it go but that would leave a bad taste in my mouth along with a stain on my professional career which I am proud of.

  • Can you clarify what your role is in the company, and with the group? If you were just a new developer hired in to help out but given no further authority, then going against the team lead/supervisor because you decide you know better will, 95%+ of the time in the corporate world, result in you being run over by the Bus of Management - you won't even need to be thrown, they will swerve towards you. Most management seeks preservation of their authority and position first, results second - and when the results can be ascribed to other sources (you didn't write a sale agreement), its hard to win.
    – BrianH
    May 29, 2019 at 13:15
  • Mid level developer started as a contractor brought on full time been a little over a year now. With in the group I'm a full stack developer.
    – SCFi
    May 29, 2019 at 14:40
  • 5
    Is the architect on your side? Are there any messages where the architect gives you credit? That would bolster your position if s/he is willing to corroborate.
    – mkennedy
    May 29, 2019 at 16:43
  • Are you sure you still have proof? Backup your email and chat log to external media ASAP. I won a legal battle and had quite a hefty compensation almost on the basis of having a personal backup of my corporate email box with lots of emails proving they were lying through their teeth. May 29, 2019 at 20:47
  • "Brought on as a contractor" - you. should get a much higher daily pay, but one of your job responsibilities is unfortunately to be the scapegoat in situations like this.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 22, 2022 at 16:39

5 Answers 5


I do not know if I should go to HR

First of all, that is not going to help in your case, HR is not your friend.

What you should do is to

  • Collect whatever proof you have or you can for the suggestions you made and were rejected earlier (before the architect joined in).
  • Collect all the incidents where you helped the team to achieve their goals.
  • Request for a formal meeting (in writing), again, with your group manager and team manager, for a follow up on the review discussion and present all the evidences you have gathered. then ask them the same question again:

"I was told that my communication was distracting the other team members and I am responsible for sprint delays - Can you help me understand it in detail? Can you supply me with example events / scenarios where I went wrong and how can I improve myself?"

There is a high possibility that the situation will improve. However, if they insist on their version, without providing any information to support their "claim" - they probably don't have a valid reason. In that case, you need to bring this to the notice of the higher management.

In a way, this is indirect bullying - which has no place in a healthy workplace.

Create a MoM (Minutes of Meeting), and circulate the summary in writing. Based on the situation mentioned above, you may need to include the appropriate higher authority in the email loop.

  • 5
    Collect whatever proof you have or you can and get printed and/or offsite copies. Be prepared to return this when/if they ask for it (not when you leave, in case you take this further, e.g. tribunal). If you're having this meeting, formal or otherwise, get a dictaphone* and record it. As has been pointed out, HR is not your friend; they will almost certainly doctor the minutes (MoM) or slant them to disfavour you. (* most smartphones have an audio recorder).
    – Justin
    May 29, 2019 at 12:01
  • 4
    @Justin Recording audio..without permission, is not a very good idea, it may very well be illegal. That said, for email, you always have a copy with you where you can showcase what you sent - if challenged. May 29, 2019 at 12:05
  • 2
    don't do it without permission (check jurisdiction). Sorry, I didn't mean to imply covert recording. At the start of the meeting stick it on the table and announce that it will help with writing up the minutes. If there are objections, switch it off and assume its going to be a hostile meeting and they will likely act in bad faith. Or just leave.
    – Justin
    May 29, 2019 at 12:20
  • 6
    HR is not your enemy either. This type of treatment of employees could easily lead to trouble for the company, it's HR's job to protect the company from having this happen
    – cdkMoose
    May 29, 2019 at 12:58
  • 4
    @SouravGhosh Audio record because (and I can tell you from having witnessed this on 3/4 occasions) their written summary will contain omissions and inaccuracies which will portray OP in a negative way, and because it's the only record, it becomes the official, indisputable record of what happened. Even if you take and summarize your own written notes (or have a colleague do it), it will be disregarded because it's not "official". An audio record allows you to dispute their summary.
    – Justin
    May 29, 2019 at 14:20

You didn`t mention your location, so my comment can be a bit out.

In my experience almost all of he places with more than one level of bureaucracy have favoritism. Unless you have a "pull" in the chain of command, there is a chance you will be scapegoated, especially if you outspoken, sad i know, but that`s the way it is.

This kind of place can be treasure for some and extremely toxic to others In these places, HR is your way of making your voice heard, not much of the influence thou.

As i see it , you have only one choice:

Document everything locally on your home machine and personal phone. I cannot emphasize it enough, corporate resources are not in your control and can / will be changed according to whatever needed.

Line up your next position,shield yourself as much is possible from any misconduct accusations and report to HR inappropriate behavior.

I am sure in company directory you have several level of authority accessible to you, use them all in BCC or even CC fashion, also CC you personal email to show that material is going to be stored off property as well.

And Good luck, toxic places need to be left as soon as possible to avoid the mental strain


Once you have your new position lined up, then hand in your resignation and see the senior manager on the same day giving the evidence and explaining why.

They may or may not require you to work the notice period, but in many cases they take you to the door and pay you out.

Do make sure that your positive achievements are shown with proof.


I think what you're looking for here is a reference from your current employer. What you want to get out of this is, "I'm going to look for another job anyway, but when my future employer asks my current employer about my performance, I want a good review".

Given that you've tagged the question united-states, I presume this company is in the US. I am neither a lawyer nor American, but my understanding is that there are various laws in place in the US which would prevent your employer from giving a review of your work to a potential future employer at all, positive or negative; by law the only thing they are allowed to say is whether or not you actually worked there and had the job title you say you did for the dates you say you did on your resume, and that's all. So they're not going to badmouth you to prospective future employers, that's not how it works. Nor will they praise you, not even if you are able to convince them that you did all these great and wonderful things.

What you should do is drop it. You know what you did, they know what you did (even if they won't admit it). You are doing the right thing by getting out of there as quickly as you can. Just keep doing what you're doing, because you're on the right track.

If you want recommendations to present to future employers, you should get those from your coworkers on an individual basis, not writ-large from "the company". Perhaps before you leave, perhaps after, or if you can figure out a way to get recommendations from your coworkers without telling them you're leaving (or maybe with telling them, maybe you don't care), contact coworkers you know who will have a good impression of you and ask them, one-on-one, for a recommendation. That will give you the results you are looking for.

  • "here are various laws in place in the US which would prevent your employer from giving a review of your work" - I am not sure what laws you might be referring to. If the author uses this company as a reference they can provide their opionion.
    – Donald
    May 29, 2019 at 19:30
  • It is not so much as a reference, but professional reputation. As I do contracting work word of mouth can always spread and this company has a habit of pinning all the blame on people that leave or quit.
    – SCFi
    May 30, 2019 at 16:43

Why would you go against the team manager in the first place? There's a way to promote positive changes in the place you're working in, and essentially if you encounter resistance from your higher-ups, you should reconsider what you're doing (it might not be such good changes after all).

Anyways, what's done is done. Find yourself a new position elsewhere, and hopefully use a more subtle attitude next time - remember, you might not always see the bigger picture, when facing your senior managers in such manner.

As for the point being - why do you find it so important for the department manager to know what you perceive to be the truth about what really happened? You are aware of the fact that he might know the truth (or sees the situation in an entirely different way), and "showing" him your side might even make things worse? If you're feeling so strongly about it, I think it'd be better to have a little chat with him just before you leave and carefully and politely explain him your point of view.

I don't think that sending him a "bag of facts" would do any good, it might picture you as a trouble-maker, gathering materials about your co-workers or managers for your own purposes.

I don't know where you're from, but in my country we tend to say that the industry (software development) is not that big and you might face that guy again sometime in the future, and he might remember what you did and think badly on you.

Posting such "revenge" emails is primarily good for movie scenes, not for real life - just suck it up, and take this as an opportunity to find a better place to work in, this time try to pick a place which suites you better in terms of operating procedures.

  • 5
    your answer is suggesting that whatever op did was his own fault but from the way question is I find that op is the victim here. May 29, 2019 at 12:37
  • @nightfury101 I was not trying to put a blame of any sort on anyone, just to reflect the situation as each side might see it. Keep in mind though, that since OP is writing his point of view here, it'll most likely be presented in such manner that OP is the victim. Anyways, apologies if anyone got offended by my answer, that was not my intention. May 29, 2019 at 12:58
  • 1
    I wouldn't consider it going against management suggesting basic programming practices and following SoP's. As for "revenge" that is an incorrect word. My goal is to clear my name and not have undo prejudice levied against me or said about me due to word of mouth.
    – SCFi
    May 29, 2019 at 14:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .