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I (F22) am an intern right now together with my 2 friends that are both female. The company and other employees are friendly except for this HR personnel. She's (F45+) so mad at me. Take note: ONLY AT ME. I don't know why.

For instance, other interns are late, she will just ask them why and when they answered why, she'll just respond "oh, okay". But when I was late she said "You should wake up earlier", "Make some adjustment to your body clock or routine." She asked me if I had already undergone orientation because it looks like I am unaware that being late is not okay. But the reason why I am late because I am not feeling well and waited a few minutes if I can really go to work. And also I am aware that late is not okay that's why ahead of time, I already ask or chatted my supervisor (to whom I am reporting to) that I might be late or absent. Also, everytime someone from the office asks for my help to do this and that, she will watch me for her to find mistakes on what I am doing and later on she will be able to embarrass me in front of the applicants and other employees in the office. I don't know what to do.

I am running for Latin honor and I am scared that she might be the done who will answer the evaluation. What should I do? How can I resolve this without her getting even angrier at me?

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    Did you try talking to her directly about this?
    – Sherry
    Commented Apr 2 at 14:22
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    There are many reasons. You might be late more often than the others, or much later, or in some other way your lateness might be different from that you see being excused. You might have offended her on your first day and not noticed, but she remembers. She might think the others are going to come and go, but you have a bright future in the company if she can just make you a little better than you are. She might be prejudiced against people with your kind of background, name, appearance, etc etc. We cannot tell from "she is not being fair to me". Commented Apr 2 at 14:51
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    A better question might be "how can I approach someone who I think is treating me differently from my peers, to find out why?" Commented Apr 2 at 14:52
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    Hi, please see workplace.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask This site isnt like a chat forum, the questions have to be worded in a way that it is useful for people in the future as well. If you reword in such a way your question will stay open and get more replies as well as help others in a similar situation.
    – solarflare
    Commented Apr 2 at 22:56
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    "I am running for latin honor..." What does that mean ? Commented Apr 3 at 4:58

3 Answers 3

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My strategy is to take the wind out of her sails. Don't apologize, stay friendly and stick to facts. Never blame.

Don't let her watch you from a distance. If you notice her, include her in your activities, so she will hopefully be annoyed enough to stop visiting you. If she gives some half-assed arguments, don't let her get away with it. Ask her what she means or how you can realise her advice. Most people will shut up quickly after that.

For the particular points:

If you are late and already informed your manager, just say so.

I spoke with my manager, that I would come 30 mins later today, and they said it's ok.

If she watches you do your work, be proactive and approach her. Regard and treat it as an opportunity to learn.

Hey, do you have some tips for doing this task?

Hey, just want to make sure that doing XYZ is the right way to handle this.

If she calls you out in front of everyone, call her out on it, in a calm and professional demeanor:

Hey Xyz, it makes me a bit uncomfortable when you criticise me in front of everyone. I'd appreciate it if we could discuss this in private.

Also, doesn't matter if the advice or criticism is actually useful or valid, a great answer is always

Thanks, I'll think about/consider it.

You can also cautiously escalate to your manager

Xyz from HR told me to do / not to do ABC. Why is this a problem // I wanted to double check with you.

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From your initial question and the subsequent question and answer - I believe that this is a form of bullying that is mostly unique to Women - which is an older woman feels threatened by a younger, more attractive woman.

(before you decide to downvote this - just know I am merely stating something that happens)

The solution for you is that you need to Document everything - either in a Personal email account, or a physical Pen and Paper.

Each time that your Manager has a go at you for something and lets it slide for someone else - you need to write down the Time, the Date, what was said (doesn't need to be verbatim, but the more info the better) and who was present.

e.g.

07-04-2024 - 11:23 am - Me and Jane turned in our work assignments. Manager gave me a 5 minute lecture about insufficient detail, despite my assignment being 2,000 words longer than Janes.

You keep doing this for a period of days or weeks or a month - it depends on how frequently it is occurring. When you have a good number of incidents (like 10-20) then you approach the head of HR (or if that is the person in question - the person above them) and outline that you would like to raise a grievance against the person in question.

Quick note - you may want to research your local HR laws - in most places there are magic sets of words (usually the wording in the relevant statute) that you want to use e.g. 'I want to raise an issue of harassement' or 'I am being discriminated against on the basis of a protected characteristic' - as these words have legal weight to them.

Then you present your evidence. Ideally, you record this meeting as well, on a Cell-phone voice recorder if possible.

One of 3 things will happen:

1: You get fired - then you waltz on down to your local employment lawyer, present them your evidence, say you were fire in retribution, they write a threatening legal letter and you get a nice big settlement.
2: The harassment continues - you keep documenting, then you waltz on down to your local employment lawyer, present them your evidence, say you raised a harasement/grievance claim and the company did nothing, they write a threatning legal letter and you get a nice big settlement.
3: The company actually does something - you are no longer being bullied by this person - everyone wins.

The better you can document where you received unequal treatment, the stronger your argument will be. If you can get things in writing where they have been rude to you about your work - do so e.g. 'Can I get the critique on my work project in email, so I can refer to it for next time to do better?' - if you can get other people to corroborate your version of events, even better.

But if it is as bad as you say - then this is your best course of action - document, then present.

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You should get up, go to the F45+ and ask:

Hey, I feel like you are being overtly harsh with me, why is that ?

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    I think considering her position, bringing words like "Hard time" can backfire. Better approach can be "Hey, I have been wanting to get a feedback from you so that I can self improve on areas......" and build the case from there and then probably at some stage bring this up in a non-confrontational way.
    – Sherry
    Commented Apr 2 at 16:38
  • I am not the one who downvoted you though.
    – Sherry
    Commented Apr 2 at 16:38
  • @Sherry I understand, but that won't clear things up (not anytime before she graduates). The OP also seems to feel attacked on a personal level, which this questions explain in its intent. I don't much care for downvotes, as they are not indicative or quality anyway.
    – Or4ng3h4t
    Commented Apr 2 at 17:47

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