I work in a small software team in the UK (so UK law applies here). I was recently informed that my colleague of over 10 years was leaving this week.
Things have been 'unpleasant' since our company bought some other companies and put them in charge. My new line manager is based in a different country. We also have new a product manager in a third country who doesn't understand our products. Both speak good English, but as a second language.
So I would not be entirely surprised if he had handed his notice in. However, some things strike me as fishy.
Normally he would have had a three month notice period. Yet he left with seven days or less notice to me. He could have given his notice in three months ago with both him and the company we work for not bothering to inform me. I don't think that is the case.
Our line manager and our line manager's manager both claim not to know whether he resigned or not. This strikes me as highly unlikely.
I asked him privately (including an offer to testify if there is some kind of employment tribunal pending) and he said only the following:
- The official reason for his leaving is listed as redundancy
- There is an agreement between him and the company that he cannot discuss, but as a result of which there would be no tribunal
- He does not currently have another job to go
Given the current COVID-19 lockdown crisis it seems an odd time to 'choose to leave'.
The situation raises all kinds of questions for me:
- Is there a genuine way that my line manager could not know if he resigned or not or why he was leaving? It seems like an obvious lie to me, but maybe there is an HR reason that would make sense.
This is my main question as it adds to the increasing distrust we have.
Why did he leave?
Only speculation is possible here of course. My guess would be he raised a grievance of some kind and the company was unable to resolve it and so they parted ways with a suitable agreement to avoid a tribunal.
Why does this matter to me?
I want to know if I can trust my manager. Normally a manager will say "I can't tell you" rather than "I don't know".
I may well have similar grievances and am not as well versed in the legalities as my colleague to know how to handle them.
A related question. What can I get my HR department to help me with here?
Closest related question here is:
I don't think this is directly relevant to my question, but in case someone asks to expand on the 'unpleasant' I mentioned above.
- The workplace feels hostile. (I don't know if it reaches the legal definition. I am not well versed on the legal side.)
- We have been given work below our skill levels
- We have been excluded from discussions
- Our line manager rarely talked to us at all
- Our opinions are ignored. Sometimes our e-mails as well
- For example, I have warned about potential legal and securities problems
- We are not given resources we need to do our jobs
- We have been kept on to service the legacy product (which actually makes the company money) while they work on the new one which is currently just a money pit)
- There is zero chance of advancement
- Pay reviews are based on performance against objectives, but we have not been given any
Some other examples:
- My manager filed an appraisal for me with HR without actually having any kind of meeting with me. In it he suggested I should change departments as I was unhappy.
This is very stressful and unsurprisingly, I have been thinking of leaving for some time myself, but I have not got around to it yet. I have an easy commute and family commitments to consider. Given the COVID-19 crisis I have deferred my decision again.
So it's a toxic workplace, but I'm not sure I would be able to prove it or prove constructive dismissal if I quit without somewhere to go first.
On the other hand I am now the only person qualified to work with the legacy products which will be here for a while. Technically I have them over a barrel, though I cannot think of a good way of using that to my advantage.