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I have a co-worker on a peer level with me. He is a term employee and the company has opted to not extend his term. He will be done at the end of the month. The company line is that there is not enough work to justify his role but that is clearly untrue. He feels there is some sort of management conspiracy against him but it seems clear to me that he is just not a good fit here.

With his finish date coming up, he steers every conversation with me to how two specific managers are against him, how they only want engineers of their own race, and how unprofessional they are. I don't buy any of it. I keep coming back with the fact that if he feels that is the case then working here is not a good fit for him since he would necessarily be working under one of them.

I'm a bit concerned that he is having these conversations with others and sowing discord against management in his last couple of weeks. Is this sort of concern something that should be brought to HR or kept to myself?

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    I would just tell one of two specific managers – paparazzo Jun 15 '16 at 15:12
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    Since the company has decided to not renew his contact I suspect that they are aware of his attitude. What would you want to see out of a conversation with HR? – JasonJ Jun 15 '16 at 15:13
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    @JasonJanowitz If I were in management I would seriously rethink letting him serve out his last two weeks if he were trying to paint management as a pack of racists who regularly break the ethical obligations of their P.Eng designation. – Myles Jun 15 '16 at 17:25
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    "I keep coming back with the fact that..." - This is the problem. Instead, next time your colleague starts complaining, listen politely but then stay out of the fight. Bite your lip and don't give your opinion about the specifics of what he's saying. – Brandin Jun 16 '16 at 6:46
  • Just let him be - if management will be affected by the rantings of an employee that's leaving - then that's a larger issue that I'd worry about first. Everybody will know that an employee that's been left off will be biased in his experiences. – Allan S. Hansen Jun 16 '16 at 12:03
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There is no benefit to anyone if you go to HR.

You will get the label of "office rat", and that won't work out well for you.

He will become even more disruptive, as he has nothing to lose, which might prompt him to foul the waters even more before he leaves, plus he might end up with a bad mark that follows him.

The managers actions WILL be reviewed by HR, as they will have to cover the company's posterior, so life will be made more difficult for them.

And, of course, when it gets back to him, you'll have a brand new enemy who has no compunction against speaking ill of people.

It's probably just sour grapes, and it isn't long that everyone has to deal with him. Let it go unless it goes beyond words. If he starts to actively disrupt things THEN go to HR, but only as a last resort.

IMO, at this point, going the HR would cause more problems than it solves. They may even ask you why you are bothering them about someone who's going to be gone before they can take meaningful action.

Be careful on this one.

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    Also, the problem of this employee sowing discord is probably nothing to worry about. Most likely, other people will recognize this complaining for what it is (just like the OP did). – user45590 Jun 15 '16 at 16:28
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    @dan1111 yep, and an employee bitter at being let go is nothing new. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 15 '16 at 16:55
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    I initially downvoted this as there's nor really such a thing as "snitching" in the workplace, but I believe we just disagree on what constitutes "active disruption". Ultimately, whether this is just grumbling or someone trying to poison the workplace is a situational call and not one we can make for the OP. But if he raises it at all I'd suggest going to the manager(s) instead of HR. – Lilienthal Jun 16 '16 at 11:01
  • @Lilienthal It may be a cultural thing as well. In the USA, going to HR is the equivalent of bringing out the nukes. As I said, it would also result in the managers getting investigated as well because in reporting the coworker, he would have to include the fact that the coworker was grousing about racism. At that point, HR would have to investigate the managers to make sure that there was no such thing going on, as HR is out to protect the company, not the employees. Nobody would trust him again. It may be different elsewhere. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 16 '16 at 12:16
  • @RichardU In my organization going to HR and informing them that this is happening isn't a demand that drastic (or any) action be taken. I would consider it unlikely that my conversation would leave the room unless more than one person came forward. I'm sorry that the organizations you've worked for has HR like that, it's counterproductive if you can't talk to HR about items affecting the organization without fear that those conversations will become common knowledge. – Myles Jun 16 '16 at 14:08
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You should have no fear of being a 'rat'. I'd see his actions as unhelpful towards the company and at worst toxic. You should raise this with a manager you have confidence in.

As a manager this sort of feedback helps as I can follow it up as I see fit. I would find this information useful as I'd be able to either have a quiet word (keeping yours and others' anonymity, and you should make sure to request this) or look to other lengths such as reducing their notice/garden leave.

If you trust your manager to deal with the situation tactfully then you should at least give them the information. They may well ask you what you feel would help the situation and you will at least feel that your concerns have been heard.

  • opening up a can of worms for an employee who will be gone before the ink is dry on the first draft of paperwork is a waste of time and company resources. What are they going to do, let him go twice? There is nothing required for not renewing a contract, but a firing requires a whole process that will take longer than the remaining two weeks he will be onsite. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 16 '16 at 12:57
  • I wouldn't see this as a firing or a letting go. It's to instead say to someone who not only isn't being productive but having negative effects on productivity to not bother coming into work for his last couple of weeks. If there's administrative difficulties in doing this (on a company or possibly country legislature basis), then at least the manager will know and may still be able to mitigate the negative effects. – Dave Hollows Jun 16 '16 at 15:24
  • Yeah, buying him off would probably cause the least amount of grief. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 16 '16 at 15:40

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