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After 5 months in a 6 month probation period, I got a new boss. I feared that the new boss didn't like me and wanted to get rid of me. After 4 weeks under my new boss, I received a performance review with all "needs improvement" and none of the criticisms had anything to do with how I was performing.

My first boss wrote a letter to the new boss and copied it to the HR department. He gave me a glowing report and said that if he had been there to evaluate me, I would have been promoted to the next pay grade and title advancement. The new boss and HR determined that I should serve 6 more months probation.

Four weeks following the first review, I was given another performance evaluation that was rated "unsatisfactory" in all categories with the boss recommending that I not be hired permanently. They called it a Pre-Disciplinary Conference (PDC). I had the opportunity to comment on all of the negative evaluations at that time. I submitted proof that each of the offenses that I was accused of doing or not doing were false. At that review, I was given 91 days of unpaid suspension pending a further investigation.

Now, after nearly 4 weeks, I was sent a letter telling me that more charges are being thrown at me and the PDC would reconvene. I would like to answer each charge with a "no comment" and end this kangaroo court proceeding. Nothing I said the first time around changed their position and nothing I say to my benefit would matter at the one coming up.

Do you think that I should do that to lessen the drama? I know that this has been a witch hunt and that I never had a chance of surviving to work another day.

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, mhoran_psprep, yochannah, Myles Jul 14 '15 at 13:44

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – gnat, scaaahu, mhoran_psprep, yochannah
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    That just sucks. What do you think set the new boss off? – paparazzo Jul 14 '15 at 4:47
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    "I received a performance review with all "needs improvement" and none of the criticisms had anything to do with how I was performing." Ok, so what were the criticisms then? Sounds like you have conveniently left out some important parts to this question. If this boss truly just has it out for you, then there's nothing you can do but report him to HR. If they let him go, stay. Otherwise is there a scenario where you continue to work under him? I would hope not – jmorc Jul 14 '15 at 12:35
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    What were the nature of the criticisms if the they weren't related to how you were performing and yet they appeared in a Performance Review? – Laconic Droid Jul 14 '15 at 13:27
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    Oh, wish this did not get closed. There is something the OP is not sharing as things don't escalate like that for no valid reason. – paparazzo Jul 14 '15 at 16:52
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    The moment you characterize it as "i have been wronged", drama is unavoidable. – keshlam Jul 14 '15 at 17:23
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Short answer: If there are no more internal avenues you can follow, then you may have no option other than to look elsewhere.

From your post it sounds like it's a toxic environment, and that you are on somebody's wrong side for whatever reason while the company's HR department is backing them up. Your best bet is to contact your previous boss to act as a reference for you, and go looking for another position elsewhere.

If you leave first, you can honestly state that you left because the probation indicated to you that the environment was not a good fit for you. It's better that than be terminated and have to explain why. Pre-emptive action may work better in this situation. Definitely keep in contact with your old boss, he is the key to navigating any negativity from your old employer.

Quitting is always a last option. You should always look for any internal avenues you can take before taking the drastic step. But if you have exhausted every other option, you may need to consider pre-emptively moving on.

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    Yep, find a new job (using your original boss as a reference) and get out. – Carson63000 Jul 14 '15 at 4:06
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    @gnat I understand your point, but if the OP has tried every internal avenue and has had no effect, then a suggestion to look elsewhere becomes a valid option. – Jane S Jul 14 '15 at 5:12
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    @gnat I took your comment on board and edited the answer accordingly. – Jane S Jul 14 '15 at 5:19
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    @gnat I've seem that Meta discussion and cast my votes that "quit!" is indeed sometimes an acceptable and correct answer. :-) – Carson63000 Jul 14 '15 at 5:59
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What can you do? Nothing. There are two things to keep in mind here, the balance of power is in favor of your manager and no employee should ever trust HR. This is a matter of organizational dynamic, your HR counterparts know who holds the power in the company and they have nothing to gain from helping you, this is unfortunately very common and why many people rightfully don't trust HR.

From your story, it sounds like you're done at this company. Would you even want to work here after this? Fighting it, even passively, can be regarded that you're in denial about the infallibility of HR and your management and they are the ones who get to write the story. Going along with what you see as your own persecution is emotionally unhealthy and will only amplify your stress.

If all you've said is true about the PDC and such, you have no future at this company. Accept that, cut your losses and try to move on with your life. Leave a Glassdoor review if that makes you feel better about warning others away from what you see as a difficult workplace, it can be cathartic.

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That is very unfortunate.

It is clear that they are not willing to have you there anymore for whatever reason. However, I might suggest that you do two things. First, line up the next job using your old boss as your reference (as noted in another answer). Second, even though you won't stay, do not make it overly easy for them.

At this point you are looking at a wrongful dismissal situation so be sure to document the process. If you happen to know someone in the legal profession see if you can get a lawyer to write up a letter concerning this aspect of the situation. You can write such a letter yourself and provide it to the lawyer as a template (internet resources are pretty good). It's unlikely they will back down but they may have to lawyer up and act very carefully.

Other than a lawyer's letter or formal replies I would not put anything in writing.

I don't suggest this course of action for vindictive reasons but you don't want them doing this to anyone else and you don't want them to feel free to slander your reputation after you are gone.

You could even have your lawyer propose that any such future discussions around dismissal, which might entail loss of benefits as opposed to being let go for other reasons, be held in a neutral location after work hours (as you will hopefully be in another job). It sounds silly but making things inconvenient and costly to do the wrong thing may just have them choose to make an offer to encourage you to leave on your own.

Of course, you have to look at the nature of the situation and see if you are willing to deal with it further. You could just say, "Look, it's clear you want me to leave. How about instead of inventing a reason for dismissal you simply give me a decent letter of reference and then I'll find a new position? That way we skip all this hassle."

  • Good answer! :) I like your suggestion of documenting the process and getting legal advice to cover any future issues the OP may face. – Jane S Jul 14 '15 at 11:14
  • I like the idea of making things inconvenient for them "to do the wrong thing" and fully appreciate it is not for vindictive reasons. – Mike Jul 14 '15 at 14:11
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From your post, I'd gather that the chances that you'll keep your job are practically nil. It doesn't matter whether the charges are true or false, you're clearly being railroaded out. Clearly, by any means necessary. Your question about "what I should do to lessen the drama" is seriously out of touch with the situation that you are in. You call it "drama". I call it "they are hell bent on taking your head off, and they won't stop until they have it in their hands". And right now, they're building up the paper trail to make sure that it happens.

My advice to you is to look for another job immediately. Use your former boss as reference - you stayed in touch with your former boss through Linkedin, did you? If not, fix your neglect at once. And if a prospective employer asks you why you want to leave, simply state the fact that the new boss is providing a very stressful professional environment, and don't editorialize. Because fairly or unfairly, anything negative that you add about your new boss reflects on you not on your new boss.

Just get out and save your time and energy for those who appreciate your contributions. Don't take forever to line up a new job and leave, because you probably prefer to explain why you quit rather than why you got fired. Aside from that, being focused on getting a new job will make it easier for you to put up with the every day aggravation of having to show up and work for people who are out to fire you, and who are not particular about what they say to get you fired.

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