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The company that I work for (IT company) has undergone cost-cutting and laying off employees. As a result, a few teams are down to one person, including two of my teams. One of these two, let's call him Joe.

Joe talked to another team manager, telling him that I was OK with Joe moving to his team. That manager brought this up to me, and I got a little frustrated. I discussed with Joe that he should have talked to me first. Also, it is not acceptable to tell someone I say something that I do not say.

I explained that he needed to support the product until we find someone to carry over the work. I support him as long as it aligns with the company's values. A few weeks later, he went to HR and told them that I said OK for him to move effective immediately.

HR did not check with me and updated the team assignment. I got the notification and reached out to HR, finding that Joe caused another misunderstanding. I talked to Joe again, explaining that his behavior is not acceptable. This is the second time he caused a misunderstanding, and if he continues doing this again, I will give a formal warning.

After the meeting, I emailed HR and him about undoing the change and stating if Joe does this again, I will give him a formal warning letter. He replied to that email, asking for a warning letter, and insisted HR proceed with the team assignment change.

At this point, I need to set it straight that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. I will ask HR to move him back to my team, give him two formal warning letters, one that he requested and another for his insubordination. He is basically on the way out.

For me, it's not OK to lie and behave like this. I know sending Joe out will cause some challenges in the short term, but I want to send a clear message that it is not OK to lie, and employees should priority the company's values over their wants.

Joe has been requested to move teams three times in the last ten months for the sake of learning new technology. We invested in training for 1-2 months every time, and he works for a month before another jump. Again, he asked for another move, this time because the current team is down to one person, and he doesn't like the tech stack after learning it.

I feel like he wants to play around with different technology without doing the actual work.

Is my plan of sending him out and handle a short-term impact the best course I can take out of this? What are some other options I have?

Added clarification
It is the company's policy to discuss with the current and new manager. After that, we work out the timeline and inform HR of the date.

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    Joe wants to leave and you want him out. Except you don't want him out. Is that a fair summary of your question? Can you be clearer about your actual issue here, aside from your ever-so-hurt feelings? If you don't want Joe to work for you, you have a solution already. Jul 4 at 7:35
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    The location may help define the answer: western world one decision, India another...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 4 at 7:37
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    @CodeProject The underyling problem I see here is the company's policy that requires the existing manager's approval for internal moves. Joe can leave and go to another company, internal moves are intended as an alternative to avoid companies losing skills. But, as a manager, you are also an employee of the company. Ask yourself, what plan of action serves the company's interests best here? Jul 4 at 7:43
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    @CodeProject One final thought. I think it is OK here to let the new manager know that you were not OK with the move, and that Joe has misrepresented your position. But if you go beyond that and try to get Joe fired, you start to look petty (not to mention inconsistent). Jul 4 at 7:47
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    @JoeStevens Is it the company's policy for internal moves to require the approval of the existing manager? I can't see where OP has stated that. The fact that HR didn't contact OP for approval suggests maybe it's not actually a firm policy.
    – B. Ithica
    Jul 5 at 8:17
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So summarized, you want an employee to remain/put back in your team just so you can discipline him and possibly have him fired? I think this just looks petty, vengeful and certainly also not in the company's best interest. If Joe is such a lying manipulator just be glad he will be the problem of someone else soon. You will just have to accept that sometimes people get away with some sleazy stuff, it's not your job to make sure they get punished for it.

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    Can you explain why it isn't in the company's best interest to fire someone who lies and causes misunderstandings? Jul 5 at 14:06
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    just be glad he will be the problem of someone else soon This looks like bureaucratically-motivated ethics at work. it's not your job to make sure they get punished for it Who would be that person, if not the manager(s) of the individual?
    – Chris
    Jul 7 at 19:02
  • Best answer so far. OP seems toxic, contradicting himself. If HR are responsible for transfer, then Joe has no impact saying that OP is ok. OP seems to want Joe to be punished because Joe does not act like he wanted him to do. Even if OP is right, just let Joe go.
    – PowerCat
    Jul 22 at 12:25
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Let Joe go; his behavior then becomes someone else's problem. Set up a meeting with HR, and ask how/why they can authorize internal transfers without checking with you. Then, talk to your manager about finding someone qualified to backfill Joes position.

Joes habit of moving between teams will eventually be noticed.

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    I talked to HR last week and it was all done by mistake. HR said they approved the transfer because Joe told them I approved the transfer. In the future, they will always double-check with both current and new manager before approving internal transfer Jul 5 at 13:53
  • @CodeProject well, if HR approved a transfer without checking it with the manager then it was done or purpose or you're lying. Procedure or not, this is the very basic of hiearchy. I think that the real question is why did they ignored you ?
    – PowerCat
    Jul 22 at 12:28
  • @PowerCat As I said above, Joe told HR that I approved the transfer and they forgot to double-check. HR person admitted that he made a mistake. Jul 23 at 9:37
  • As I said too, you should question yourself because HR clearly disregarded / disrespected your opinion. Looks like HR avoided you. As some and I said, you seems to want someone to be punished which is a very, very, discussable behavior and that's why I'm telling you that you should rethink the whole situation.
    – PowerCat
    Jul 23 at 15:09
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Employees don't need their boss's permission to leave for another job. All they are required to do is give you the notice period that you specified in their contract. That notice period is supposed to be time for you to find a replacement.

Internal moves are similar. If he wants to go, and the other team want him, you can't stop him. He could resign, work his notice and then be re-employed by the other team.

The difference with internal moves is that if management feel that the other team needs the employee more than you do, the move can be immediate.

When it comes to changing jobs, you don't have a superior/subordinate relationship, but one of two parties in a negotiation. That negotiation has failed because you didn't offer anything in return for what you wanted.

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    There is a clear difference with internal moves. In some companies, internal moves can be vetoed. Trying to get around it by quitting and getting hired is likely to get a stern work from management. They are not idiots. Jul 5 at 11:17
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    This is realistically incorrect. In most large orgs the current team leader can indeed veto a transfer, especially if there are compelling reasons for it.
    – magisch
    Jul 5 at 12:56
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    You are right that an employee can leave on a notice period. However, an internal transfer is different. The employee, current manager, and new manager need to sit down and discuss the timeline. That's according to the policy Jul 5 at 13:57
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HR did not check with me

Are you sure HR is required to check with you, or are you just assuming they would?

if Joe does this again, I will give him a formal warning letter. He replied to that email, asking for a warning letter

A very clear signal that he does not fear you.

At this point, I need to set it straight that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

You mean, this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated on your team. Or do you have a wider authority than that? It doesn't matter though, because he clearly sees no need to recognize your authority, in any case.

I know sending Joe out will cause some challenges in the short term

This is what you should be concentrating on. If you want to prevent Joe from moving teams, talk to the manager of the team that Joe is trying to transfer to. Explain how critical it is to the business as a whole that he stay on supporting what he's currently supporting. The other team may see why it is important for the business as a whole, which includes themselves, that the transfer should be prevented from happening.

On the other hand, if he's not so critical that you can't lose him, then just lose him. It's not worth trying to teach him a lesson.

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  • It's the policy that HR checks with the current and new manager before moving an employee. The new manager understands the needs and impact on the business and he said he specifically told him to move after we get someone to support the business. I agree with you that I think I will let him go and deal with a short term impact Jul 5 at 14:01
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I explained that he needed to support the product until we find someone to carry over the work. I support him as long as it aligns with the company's values. A few weeks later, he went to HR and told them that I said OK for him to move effective immediately.

HR did not check with me and updated the team assignment.

You have an unprofessional HR team, though he could have very easily justified his behaviour saying that it aligns with the company's values.

I will ask HR to move him back to my team, give him two formal warning letters, one that he requested and another for his insubordination. He is basically on the way out.

It's unlikely such a formal warnings would stand. You usually cannot issue warnings for something somebody has said to HR. You may not be aware of the full context of what he said, and if he complained he was getting bullied or somehow harassed by you, it would be highly improper for you to issue warning for that.

For me, it's not OK to lie and behave like this. I know sending Joe out will cause some challenges in the short term, but I want to send a clear message that it is not OK to lie, and employees should priority the company's values over their wants.

You would have to tie your their behaviour into some sort of breach of policy.

HR are best placed to understand the full extent of what he said, so they are best placed to decide if warnings should be issued. In addition, because you are the aggrieved party, it would be more suitable if HR were engaged to determine what remedies may need to occur.

Joe has been requested to move teams three times in the last ten months for the sake of learning new technology. We invested in training for 1-2 months every time, and he works for a month before another jump. Again, he asked for another move, this time because the current team is down to one person, and he doesn't like the tech stack after learning it.

If you had a professional HR team, they would recognize this pattern, and prevent such moves. This is outside your scope of concern, though maybe you should have recognized the pattern yourself before bringing them on-board.

Is my plan of sending him out and handle a short-term impact the best course I can take out of this? What are some other options I have?

You options are to get HR onside, and ensure they discuss any potential moves with you in the future, but you have to assess if it's worthwhile keeping this person in your team. You could encourage HR to assess if this person is worthwhile keeping at the company.

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  • I have discussed the first point with HR that they need to follow the policy of checking with all parties before moving people going forward. They admitted it was their mistake. Jul 5 at 14:04

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