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After completing an anonymous 360 evaluation in our company, our boss received a score 2.5/5 as an average of 8 evaluations. He gathered all 8 of us in his office, demanding to speak up and support the negative review of each of the factors, not knowing which ones have ranked him with 1/5 and which on with 5/5. Not getting what he asked for, since what was the point of an anonymous evaluation after all, he threatened us that our time is up and he will now be a different person to all of us and anyone that does not follow his orders, will be out. I am mainly wondering if his initiative to have us all present in a room and demanding to know who were the "bad ones" is legal, or we have a right to report this behavior to HR at least. Thanks!

Just to answer to few of your questions: my country is Greece and his horizontal and top-down evaluation was also low (he has the lowest overall score among all management positions). The 360 evaluation was initiated by HR and no, I do not believe that the specific HR manager will act on it in our favor.

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    in which country are you? – LaughU Jul 3 at 12:38
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    You always have the right to report something to HR. Whether it's professional, useful or whether HR will act upon are three different questions though. – Abigail Jul 3 at 12:39
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    Who initiated 360 evaluation? your company? hr? or your boss? How it is happening in other teams? – NiceGuy Jul 3 at 12:47
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    @Abigail HR is NOT your friend. If the manager has a good relationship with HR, the reporting employee may be fired as retaliation. – xxbbcc Jul 3 at 15:42
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    @xxbbcc We've no idea where the OP lives. Where I live, that would not be ground to be fired -- and if the manager tries that, (s)he'll be in hot water. However, I never argued the OP should or should not go to HR. The OP has the right, but I pointed out that whether that's a good thing to do is a different question. – Abigail Jul 3 at 16:19
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A country tag may be helpful here.

A person could argue he is creating a hostile work environment which could lead to trouble for the company. Typically going to HR is not wise, since they are not your friend and only look out for the company's best interest. This may be a case where HR should be involved to correct a manager that is clearly out of line. If you do go to HR, get written and signed accounts from the others in your team, so it doesn't look like just one person is upset. A whole team of upset people has more power than a single person.

Regardless as to what action you take, I would highly suggest you brush up the CV/resume and start looking for an exit.

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    +1 for CV/Resume - You may end up as the target of your bosses ire and become the scapegoat just by pure bad luck. – Smock Jul 3 at 12:57
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    +1 IME, HR is worse than worthless here. They tend to default to siding with management and “help” by going directly to that manager, without seeming to understand that it will generally only anger him more that his insubordinates are now tattling. On top of it, they’re generally a paper tiger, ineffective at doing anything to curb the manager’s behavior. – John Spiegel Jul 3 at 13:13
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    As such evaluations are often driven by HR and top management, I'd say they can be far from worthless, but it really depends on company structure and culture. If the manager has a bad evaluation that should get him into trouble anyway. Then again, a good HR would be involved with the feedback process in the first place. So if you want to talk to them, maybe start with suggesting that they host a feedback evaluation together with the manager. If they aren't a paper tiger anything the manager says in front of the HR representative can be used against him, and no one needs to be the black sheep. – Frank Hopkins Jul 3 at 14:38
  • As mentioned in many other answers here on Workplace, HR is more to keep the company out of legal trouble than to help the employees. If the manager becomes a liability, which it sounds like he is or is becoming, then HR could be the right direction. As also stated many places on this site, HR is not your friend, so be careful. That "paper tiger" can cut you as easily as the manager. – computercarguy Jul 3 at 23:05
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    I like how people keep saying "HR looks out for the company", as if a raging, disruptive employee threatening his coworkers is somehow good for the company?? – Clay07g Jul 4 at 4:22
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Please review the documentation the company gave you regarding the 360 review. Pay attention to anything related to protecting your anonymity. Pulling everybody into his office, either as a group or individually, would seem to be a violation of the process.

The company needs to know this happened, because if this behavior is allowed that means nobody will complete the 360 review next time. Even if they try to force people to complete the review, the ratings will be worthless because nobody will be honest.

Legal opinions require us to know your location. Knowing what the company will do will require knowing what information they have given you.

I would try to see if it can be reported to HR or the office in charge of the 360 review anonymously. That complaint should be specific regarding manager, date, content of meeting, and number of people involved.

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    This is why I never do any 360 reviews. Anonymity may be guaranteed -- it's way to easy to write something which could obviously mark you. – Abigail Jul 3 at 12:42
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    @Abigail that's why most such reviews mainly consist of multiple choice answers, so it cannot be traced back by your personal style of writing etc. – Frank Hopkins Jul 3 at 14:39
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    @FrankHopkins - Even so, it's better to just swerve it. You never know what a crafty employer has done to mark them. – Richard Jul 3 at 23:55
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If you go to HR, remember to present it as a company problem, not yours.

What your boss has basically done is to give anyone fired in the future grounds to sue the company for unlawful termination. Anyone in that room has 7 witnesses that he has threatened to fire anyone as repercussion for their bad review - not based on performance of each employee.

IMHO, this is how it should be taken to HR. Not to mention that he defied the logic behind anonymous evaluation. If he holds his position after this, evaluations make no sense because everyone will be afraid of being fired if they don't give 5/5.

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    I would give the idiot 0/5 for this in the next evaluation. – Rui F Ribeiro Jul 4 at 23:59
  • Is "gave my boss a bad 360 review" a protected class or activity in Greece? I am not aware that it is in the US (unless I guess the questions included things like "Have you seen your boss illegally discriminate" and whatnot). – stannius Jul 9 at 1:14
  • @stannous Greece as a part of EU have EU labour laws. You need to have a reason to fire an employee. And with statement from his boss like this any reason would be thrown out in court. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 9 at 7:20
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Your boss's reaction is inappropriate and hostile - you should alert a trusted leader in the company or HR if you feel comfortable doing so.

Anticipate that your report will not be anonymous. If you're concerned about backlash, make that clear to HR and keep track of any adverse treatment you believe is a result of you raising a concern about your boss.

If you feel as though you can no longer work with this person, make your feelings clear to HR and ask for help finding a new role within the organization.


However, if you're intending to stay in your position and continuing to work with your manager, there are some things you might consider doing:

1. Offer feedback to your manager outside of formalized reviews. It sounds like your manager may have been surprised by some of the feedback in the 360. This should not have been the case. If you have concerns that you felt compelled to write about in your manager's review, you should have also communicated them to your manager directly.

2. Back up your manager to help him/her feel secure. Part of your manager's reaction may stem from insecurity about his/her continued employment. A bad review will put anyone on edge. Make it clear to your manager you're there to do great work and make sure the department performs well, even if there are some interpersonal issues to work through.

3. Get back to business as usual. If this was a one-time outburst, let it go for the time-being. Don't dwell on it in discussions with colleagues. You don't need to act like it never happened, but you should also make efforts to return to a calm and normal work environment.

4. Confront your manager. Let your manager know how the interaction made you feel. Keep in mind that you manager likely also feels bad about the encounter and is ready to move on. Make it clear that you felt threatened by the meeting, don't want it to happen again, but are ready to move past it.

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The first thing you need to do is brush up your resume and start looking for a new place to work. This is more of an insurance plan than anything as your boss has already threatened to make you and your colleague's work environment miserable. He has also threatened to fire all of you.

Next, you and your other colleagues that were present for this meeting need to collectively go to HR and explain exactly what your boss said. Keep in mind, this will likely make the boss even more furious if he finds out and there is no guarantee that HR will take the appropriate action to either fire the boss or remove you and your colleague's from your boss' supervision.

This is why the first step of preparing your resume is most important, there are more bad things that will come out of this situation than good.

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If you're in a workplace that has a union, go to your union. This sort of stuff is literally what they're there for, and unlike HR, whose job is to protect the company from liability, the union's job is to promote the best interests of the workers.

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    While I totally support going to your union if you have one, I don't get this "HR is (purely) there to protect the company from liability". Sure, they will try to solve anything in ways that doesn't hurt the company. But in all companies I've been so far, the main goal of HR was to 1) retain the workforce as a whole, 2) help establish and maintain company values/culture and 3) provide professional support when it comes to people management and legal questions. Sure thing, if it's your interests against company interests they will tend to be on company side. [cont] – Frank Hopkins Jul 4 at 9:19
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    [cont] but here the issue is with an individual manager, so there is no reason for them to side with this single worker against all of his team, for the company it seems more beneficial to rather loose that one bad apple than a whole team, unless the issue isn't as one-sided as OP's question describes. – Frank Hopkins Jul 4 at 9:21

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