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My line manager has told one of my colleagues that I am going to be fired soon.

This manager has already been verbally warned about undermining me and spreading malicious untrue rumors' about me and things I apparently said, which cause major arguments within the team. I have plenty of witnesses who can vouch for the fact he has been trying to drive me out.

Is this misconduct on his part?

  • 45
    How completely do you trust the colleague who told you this? You seem to be assuming an accurate report, but it might be in the colleague's interest to get you to leave. – Patricia Shanahan Sep 25 at 18:48
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    Who has he been "verbally warned" by? His superiors? It may be worth going to them and asking about it. – David K Sep 25 at 20:03
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    What country are you in? Trying to drive you out is often worse than misconduct, and actually illegal. Where I live it's known as "constructive dismissal", and you could take your employer to court if they don't put a stop to your manager's actions. – Player One Sep 25 at 22:36
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    @DarkCygnus Even better, edit the original comment to clarify how completely the OP trusts the reporter. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Sep 26 at 13:02
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    In the UK this could give you a strong legal case if you got a witness statement from the colleague. – Ian Sep 26 at 17:00
120

Is this misconduct on his part? Surely he shouldn't be saying that..

Don't know if "misconduct" is the word but surely this is something unprofessional to do.

However, I fear that the point here is that you were hinted that you may be getting fired soon, so I would be preparing my resume and start applying to jobs ASAP.

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    Do this even if you aren't really being fired. You don't want to work for this person anymore. Get out. – Seth R Sep 25 at 20:42
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    Depending on the country, this can be considered as proof of unfair or constructive dismissal as it might prove manager's bias or improper conduct. In this case seeking legal advice might be a good idea. – Denis Sep 26 at 11:06
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    @SethR It's possible that, if the manager isn't the top person in the company, the manager might face disciplinary action for this kind of behaviour. – wizzwizz4 Sep 26 at 17:53
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    @wizzwizz4, maybe. Maybe not. Have an escape route and it doesn't matter what might happen. – Seth R Sep 27 at 3:17
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    Like a lot of answers on this site, my problem with this answer is that it seems to assume the asker is an “at-will” employee (i.e. USAian) and therefore you “just need to take it on the chin”. No, in most civilised countries you can’t just be fired without due cause and shrugging it off and moving on is not the way to go. – Darren Sep 27 at 18:58
40

Is this misconduct on his part?

Yes, it is. He most certainly should not be discussing that with his subordinates.

But at this point does it matter for you? Surely you will be fired regardless if the information being shared with you is accurate...

My advise to you would be to ask your line manager directly, without revealing your source. If you are not 100% comfortable with the response given, then it is time to find a new job immediately.

Based on the OP's comment below, I would look for a new job regardless of what is said ASAP.

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    This manager has already been verbally warned about undermining me and spreading malicious untrue rumours about me and things i apparently said, which cause major arguments within the team. I have plenty of witnesses who can vouch for the fact he has been trying to drive me out. – Thomas Clark Sep 25 at 18:55
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    @ThomasClark Time to find a new job then, sooner rather than later. – Mister Positive Sep 25 at 18:56
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    @MisterPositive not necessarily. Depending on how upper management feels about things, the manager could be the one fired. I've seen a manager two levels above me get fired for making demonstrably false statements about one of my peers. – Charles E. Grant Sep 25 at 19:05
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    Don't ask the manager, are you crazy? What makes you think he has any obligation/motivation to tell the truth, one way or the other? You're in enough trouble without adding confrontation to the mix. – user90842 Sep 26 at 16:41
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    @GeorgeM, I agree. Talk to the bosses boss about it. At this point, the OPs manager is no longer reliable in the "chain of command" and so they would generally be appropriate to be skipped. The OP just needs to make sure the source of info is reliable and to ask that source if they want to remain anonymous when talking to the higher level boss. – computercarguy Sep 27 at 17:02
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While I agree with some of the other answers that depending on the situation it would be wise to start looking for other work opportunities, I would like to address another point that you have in your question.

Keep in mind this will depend on your organization's culture and structure, so you will have to judge that for yourself.

You say he has been verbally warned about spreading rumors about you. If this was from his boss, he may very well not have the authority to fire you. If you report this to the people who reprimanded him, there is a possibility that he will be the one who is let go, or one of you will be moved to another department.

If he is clearly out of line, and has a history of similar behavior that is not accepted from his superiors, then it may be in your best interest to report this to them.

  • Depending on how bad the OPs name has been dragged through the mud, it might still be appropriate for them to find a new job, but if everyone understands it was all defamation and the reason the manager was fired, it might be ok to stay. Although it might still be uncomfortable knowing you got your manager fired. – computercarguy Sep 27 at 17:05
3

Is this misconduct on his part? Surely he shouldn't be saying that..

This all depends on whether or not your colleague will be taking on your responsibilities after you are let go. I have seen many cases where managers will speak to employees directly affected by a firing before the soon to be fired knows.

Sometimes it is to get ahead on knowledge transfer while other times the colleague has a more direct role in your firing ( e.g. they are tasked with locking your account ).

Now, if your manager simply told a colleague and your being fired has no direct effect on them I would agree that it is definitely unprofessional behavior. Regardless, you should polish up your resume and start looking for a new place to work.

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    "Getting ahead on knowledge transfer" is not an acceptable reason to divulge information about other peoples employment status when the firing hasn't even happened yet. That's grossly unprofessional and unethical. – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 26 at 12:33
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit I'm not sure it's actually as private as all that. Obviously the person who's going to tell you you're fired knows, and anyone who was in the meeting where it was decided on, and anyone who has to out process you, HR and payroll, and possibly some of the facilities staff ("we can put the new person starting next Monday in Cube 3, it will be empty")... maybe even people who are on the hiring group trying to hire your replacement. The thing I see that's unprofessional in this case is that they were gossiping about it, not discussing it for business purposes. – user3067860 Sep 26 at 17:21
  • @user3067860 Exactly. As far as I can tell, there was no valid reason to inform the mentioned colleague of this. I think it would also be unfair to tell facilities staff. You tell the person who's getting fired, before you tell their colleagues. Obviously HR and your manager (and possibly people more senior than that) will know ahead of time though, as they are the ones making the decision. – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 26 at 17:33
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    @user3067860 I didn't say unfair is synonymous with unprofessional; I'm saying that this is both. And just because someone you told didn't go and tell anyone else, doesn't make it ok that you told them. – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 27 at 0:00
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    @user3067860 You wouldn't "tell the payroll person", unless they needed to know immediately. The reason HR already knows is because they were part of the decision making process; they already knew. But you just don't go around spreading this news until, at the very least, the person being fired knows about it. The person who does desk assignments can wait to find out like everybody else. Telling them before the actual employee who's getting fired is astonishing. – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 27 at 14:29
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Yup, totally unprofessional and in many cases consideration for constructive dismissal - in that he expects you to find out and resign, saving the company the trouble of firing you or his personal preference to get rid of you without any means of firing you.

So, start keeping a diary of all the times he has been like this, all the things you've heard or been told. Then go to HR with this evidence (even if it feels circumstantial and hearsay to you) and demand something be done to stop it now, and stop it in the future. Take someone with you to act as a witness, and HR will understand you are serious (and they also give you "got your back" support that really helps deal with a HR who will want you to just go away and stop giving them a hard time)

HR will instantly recognise this as a serious legal problem for them, and their job of protecting the company will ensure they deal with it (this applies even if you have no intention of going down the legal sue-the-company route, just leave that hint hanging)

Working in a place where your manage is undermining you will cause a great deal of stress, you don't need that. Don't think it'll sort itself out, it'll only get worse if unchecked.

-2

I have been in 'senior management' since 1988 and as a consultant in a lot of 'huge' corporations/conglomerates/multi-nationals and also small businesses.

What your mid-manager is doing is NORMAL in most work places, sadly. Mid managers are usually afraid of young people coming up the ladder, and sadly, top management condones this...

So, what your mid (or top) -manager is doing to you is (in order of priority):

  1. You are bad at your job (think critically).
  2. Giving you a pre-warning (to find a new job).
  3. Your mid-manager is afraid of losing his position to you (sadly is very common).
  4. Your 'colleague' is lying.

You can have a 'chat' with your 'mid-manager'... this will at best buy you some time.

The others who have answered your questions has the rest...

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