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There is a social media group and I noticed someone posted saying they had trouble getting paid from an employer. I work for the employer too and said I have found them to be dishonest. My manager saw this post and retaliated by posting that there has been multiple sexual harassment claims about me. I took a screenshot and reported this to HR. HR contacted me getting my side of the story. Now they want to have another phone call with me and for me to sign a confidentiality agreement saying I won't discuss the issue.

Why would I sign this? In my first call the HR advisor told me there hadn't been any sexual harassment claims against me. This was my main concern. Should I tell them they can drop their investigation?

I only work for this company a couple days per week. I've already spent over an hour dealing with HR regarding this. I don't want to spend a lot of time for something that I'm not getting paid for and don't know what the end result is supposed to be. I thought it would be simple to send them the screen shot but now they were asking if I could provide them with witnesses who might have seen the post on social media.

If I chose not to sign the confidentiality agreement, what's the best way to decline?

For an idea of what the confidentiality agreement says, it can be found here.

EDIT: in response to some of the comments, it is true that I asked a secret shopper for her phone number. My manager brought this to my attention a month ago but nothing further happened. It is possible my manager exaggerate a great deal and called this incident "sexual harassment" but in her Facebook post she said their had been multiple. Regardless, a manager shouldn't post this on social media. Hypothetically even if I did harass someone and their was a proven case against me, the manager shouldn't post that on social media.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Snow Nov 9 at 8:44
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"Why would I sign this?"

You would not. No advantage accrues to you from agreeing to a gag order.

"Should I tell them they can drop their investigation?"

No. That's none of your business, really. Anyway, HR has rules they must follow.

"...what's the best way to decline?"

"I am not going to sign that."

The natural human impulse to avoid hurting the other person's feeling makes you want to soften your "No" with reasons, questions, or excuses. Resist this impulse. Reasons, questions, and excuses only open the door to discussion, argument, and pressure. Even if you have excellent sales resistance it's still a colossal waste of your time. Just repeat as necessary, "I am not going to sign that."


Don't sign anything! Do not sign the confidentiality agreement or any other promise about this issue, even if you have to be discourteous about it. HR is not your friend, it's the company's.

Manager has slandered and probably libeled you by claiming that there have been multiple sexual harassment claims about you. This goes beyond a disagreement between employer and employee and is a violation of the law of the land. HR is trying to protect Company from the serious legal claims for relief that you may have against Manager and Company. HR will also try to protect Manager if convenient, but as Manager has lied about you, in writing, HR will not hesitate to throw Manager under the bus if necessary.

You don't have to do anything. You have brought Manager's lies to the attention of HR, and it is up to them to decide what to do about it. The only reason you would ever have to attend further meetings with HR, find witnesses of the offending email, etc. would be if you wanted to see Manager punished for his behavior. If you don't care what HR does about or to Manager, then you have no further duty to Company.

In any case you have no reason to sign an additional agreement presented by HR, or attend endless meetings and interviews, or even attend a meeting at Company on a day when you're not scheduled to be there.

  • I have never been in this situation before. I am wondering, is it normal/standard for HR to have someone sign a confidentiality agreement before they investigate and interview people? – user109861 Nov 8 at 11:28
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    @user109861, Yes, it's standard. HR is not your friend. They'll try to make you sign away your rights any opportunity they can. What's more is that if they can make you sign an NDA first, they're hoping that they won't need to investigate this at all. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 8 at 11:39
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    @user109861 it's in the name "Human Resources": you're a resource. HR's job is to protect the company, to manage the resources. Not to help them. Add to that: there's lots of people, making you an expendable resource. – rkeet Nov 8 at 14:28
  • I've editted your answer a bit, putting a little more emphasis on the fact that HR is not your friend. They're not helping you, they're helping the company. – Martijn Nov 8 at 14:37
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    HR is not your friend, but it’s not your manager’s friend either. Your manager is not the company. So don’t let “HR is not your friend” scare you too much into thinking HR will take your manager’s side. As long as it’s clear that it’s your manager, not you, whose behaviour is a liability to the company, then your position should be fine. – PLL Nov 8 at 18:19
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So let's be honest you screwed up a bit here.

You should not be making public postings saying that your employer is dishonest. It's written into most contracts that you won't say negative things about your employer, and for those where it isn't made explicit it's definitely expected. It's very likely that if nothing else had happened your company would be now disciplining you for unprofessional conduct.

However that wasn't what happened. Instead your manager went ape and posted defamatory lies about you. This is a massive error of judgement, and in any other situation is going to cost your manager his job. If the story of what he has done gets out, the company looks much worse than anything you said about it.

Now lets look at what the two sides want. The company very, very badly wants this to go away and never be spoken of again. Partly the things you said, but mainly what the manager did. That's what the non-disclosure agreement is for. They want you never to speak of it, recognizing the huge amount of damage they might suffer if you do.

Now lets look at what you want. Firstly you should want the accusations made by the manager to be unreservedly retracted. First and most obvious for the post to be removed, and there be documents that you can present showing what happened if this accusation ever turns up again. You certainly want an apology. If I were you I would demand that the manager be fired, or at the very least moved from his position as your boss, and a guarantee that he would never be in a position of authority over you again. I would never want to work for someone who would do that. And for the sake of future employees who might be under him, I would hold out for him being fired.

So I'm reaching the point. The point is that you shouldn't say "I will never sign that". Instead you negotiate. You want certain things - they want you to promise never to talk about this. That's not unreasonable, as long as justice is done.

So your response should be a list of demands - an apology, the firing of the manager, and a document stating what really happened in case the accusations are repeated again. you should also consider apologizing yourself for posting bad things about your employer.

Be aware that your employer will probably try to strongarm you into hushing this up. You need some serious ammunition, and yo may want to consult a lawyer anyway. But also be aware that accusations like this could reasonably be considered sexual harassement, or at least workplace bullying.

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Now they want to have another phone call with me and for me to sign a confidentiality agreement saying I won't discuss the issue.

They're just protecting themselves by making sure you don't go out into the public with whatever it is. Since you posted on social media, I imagine they also know you can easily take every communication currently made and simply dump it online which would look bad for them.

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