Today a HR representative (G) made a mistake; she left confidential material in the printer, and someone unknown put it on the desk of the person (P) whose name appears on top of the documents. P went to his boss (B) to ask what this is about (the document should not have come forward at this time of the year as it is not due yet). Probably because B has some input on said document, B reported this (that P reported to B) to G immediately. G in turn then rushed to P and demanded to return the documents to G.
Few things to note here:
- The documents are highly confidential as they contain personal information that less than a handful of people should have access to at all times. Amongst those people is P, so P thought (rightfully IMHO) that the document was placed in his desk for him to read.
- P's name was on top of the document, and the document is actually "for him" in the sense that P is the one who should read through it. Think of a payslip: It "belongs" to the person whose pay the slip is about, so naturally if you find a payslip with your name on it, you would think that it is "for you". At some point later in the year, P would have gotten this document anyway, its content is indeed in regards to him. It was just not the time yet for him to receive this. It was a preliminary version. Confidential, nevertheless.
- Multiple copies of the document were printed, however only one copy landed on P's desk. The other copies are now floating around the office.
- The dress-down of P by G was done in a public area. She yelled at him and threatened to fire him on the spot if he doesn't comply. (He did.) I happened to witness this scenario. IMHO this is unprofessional behaviour in general and in particular unbecoming of an HR representative.
- This is not the first such incidence. G has a history of using intimidating behaviour (yelling, threatening to fire, messing with employees in general, overstepping her authority, not following procedures).
- Should this be escalated, with the goal to stop this kind of behaviour by G in the future?
- IMHO, that mistake lead to a confidentiality breach, in particular because we have procedures that outline how to deal with confidential documents, in particular how to print them (secure print etc.). Should that confidentiality breach be addressed, independently of the HR issue?