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I worked at a workplace that I was eventually fired from after 3 1/2 years.

My issues there most of the times were colleagues bullying me and then claiming that I had done a bad job when that was not the case, and always behind my back to my manager so that unless my manager approached me about the issue I was blamed for mistakes that had nothing to do with me at all.

One instance is a girl who could not keep up with her role, that she made mistakes, then when asked why the mistakes were made she had said that she gets too many emails, at least one every few minutes.

When asked who these emails were from and what the emails entailed, she blamed me, saying that I had sent her too many emails.

I had known that this was a politically charged environment and I was always careful never to send anyone anything other than an email telling them to action something that was within their exact role title and job description. I never asked a question via email, nor had a conversation via email, nor brainstormed a solution via email. I was aware that it could turn against me at anytime.

I explained that I only send emails for action items which are someone’s job and that I can not action myself.

I was asked to list each email and content in one sentence for the last 3 months.

It averaged that I had sent her only 2 - 3 emails per week.

So, one email every few minutes definitely didn’t come from me.

When this was flagged to her and her manager, she said “I don’t know if that were true...”.

The manager immediately changed the topic towards a new system that would be implemented to assist her to receive less emails by placing the information in a dashboard on a system that she regularly looks at.

The issue of her blaming me for something which clearly was not my fault was never addressed.

She basically got away with it, and the entire company continued to get away with similar stories, some of which were never brought to my attention.
So then the real issues where the real company problems actually were, were never addressed and I got blamed for most things.

At one stage the manager actually said to me, “people are saying that you’re doing a bad job” and when I asked who, he replied “the entire company”.

This was ongoing the entire 3 1/2 years and my manager had seen that most things were actually not my fault and had defended me for 3 1/2 years, but was then I believe also blamed for things which went wrong as a result.

My question is:

When people blame you for things which are not your fault, have nothing to do with you, and you are doing a good job at the tasks of your own work, how do you defend yourself? How do you make sure that the person who is blaming you, their bad behaviour, gets addressed? And stop this from happening again? Especially when it is behind your back and you are never made aware?

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    Out of curiosity, what exactly did you do? because apparently the entire company knows who you are... that usually means what you do impacts everyone at the company. – Shadowzee Oct 17 '19 at 2:20
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    Type of work is indeed important. Does your work naturally leave paper trails? And are you talking about big companies or small companies? In general I would say adress such things as soon as possible with either HR, a manager or a confidant person (not sure of the exact english title) within the company. – user180146 Oct 17 '19 at 6:52
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    How big is this company? It's very strange that the entire company would single you out for targeted harassment. What was your job role? – Baron Oct 17 '19 at 11:24
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I explained that I only send emails for action items which are someone’s job and that I can not action myself.

One way to read this is that you never emailed anyone except to order them to do something.

I never asked a question via email, nor had a conversation via email, nor brainstormed a solution via email.

Is it possible that you simply didn't provide any actual value? I'd say: do less politics, more work, and just let people notice the work done.

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I don't know what more to advice than to address those people blame.
In few of my previous jobs such things was called "Extracting the weeds". There are people who make their job blaming others. They don't do anything they were hired for, just try to find people on whom the can put blame for not doing their task.
Some companies are aware that in the process of hiring many people there will be some that look only good on paper. They leave for the rest of the employees to find and "extract the weed".
If not, the weed can overgrown the whole deparments and then spread to others. I've worked in company where one department (all employees and their manager) found a scapegoat to blame for not doing their work. During regular employees interactions other people get to know that there are some things they could get away with if they point fingers.

The main thing is that you cannot leave such issues to be resolved by themself. You need to push for complete explanation and adressing the problem. In the case of employee getting too many emails there are few point I would follow:

  1. Why getting to many emails stop her from completing the task? Is she easily distracted, cannot arrange her own work, don't know what to do and wait for instructions?
  2. When proved wrong about emails from you - Why she blamed you in the first place? There are ways to find how many emails were really send. It's not for her to know if it's true or not. It's a matter of pursuing the facts.
  3. Make a rule and make people aware of it - Anyone talking behind back and not taking it to managers or HR means they don't do their work at all. "If you have time to gossip it means you're not busy doing your work".
  • My question is,..., how do I address this,..., when I don’t know that it is happening? – BUSQ Oct 22 '19 at 0:33
  • Staff members were blaming me for things which had nothing to do with me,...., completely behind my back,..., so I would never find out,..., unless a manager approached me. If that manager took what they said as true,..., and didn’t ever address it with me,...., how was I to ever know that these complaints were happening. – BUSQ Oct 22 '19 at 0:35
  • The situation was that some people in the company found a scapegoat. (me). How do you change the culture of the people in the company,..., so that you are not made a scapegoat? – BUSQ Oct 22 '19 at 0:36
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I think the real issue here is the company, and this is independent, to some degree, to the fact that you may have been inefficient or not.

A sane company should provide sane feedback.

This means that:

  • it should not be based on hearsay
  • it should never present generic/vague accusations, but detailed description to which the problem is and a proactive discussion on how to make things better
  • expressions like "the whole company talks bad about you" are inherently manipulative and wrong, and can in fact border into harassment
  • the feedback should be mutual, so you should have the opportunity to address your coworkers (at least the ones in your team) and your supervisor

Conclusions:

It's difficult from here to say if there was actual grounds for all or some of the accusations. It's also difficult to estabilish if you can evaluate your performance properly; but the environment seems pretty toxic to me and the company processes not mature.

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