I'm wondering whether you wonderful people here could offer me some advice on how to deal with a written warning that I received today.
I've been working for a software company for the last 8 years who deals with broadcast email. Clients use our service to upload their customer lists and send them promotional emails, track email responses etc. Some of these emails can be sent out to hundreds of thousands of people at a time.
There was a problem with one of the applications involved in sending the email. I was assigned to look at the problem by my immediate manager. I had not really seen this part of the application before, so its process was completely new to me; I had to learn as I went.
After some investigation I found the issue and reported back. My manager then asked me to make a change in order to fix the bug. However, I was asked to do make this change in the live version of the application, not the development version. For the non-software developers out there, this is not best practice and is potentially dangerous.
I didn't question my manager as I assumed (wrongly) that if he's willing to allow me to make a change like this to the live application, it couldn't really be that catastrophic if something went wrong, so I made the change. I asked about how we could test this and he replied:
"Client X have scheduled an email to go out to 5k clients in 10 minutes; that'll be a good test".
He then left for his lunch, and so did I. Upon returning, I was informed by the support staff that the process had failed, meaning an incorrect email had been sent to their entire database rather than a subset of their clients.
This morning, our managing director arrived at the office and was extremely cross at what happened. He hauled both my manager and myself in to a meeting immediately and asked what happened. My manager stayed mostly silent throughout the entire meeting, leaving me to do all the talking. At the time, I didn't want to throw my manager under the bus as I wanted to allow him to admit his mistake in instructing me to do the job on a live system. However, this time did not come. The managing director then stopped me talking and issued us both with a written disciplinary notice as there is a potential to lose this client who is worth about £200k per year.
I've been given the right to appeal the written notice, however I must do so within 7 days. I feel as if this written notice I have been issued with is unfair as I was only acting under direct instruction from my manager. I spoke to my colleague about it today, and she told me that she heard the entire conversation between my manager and I about testing on live data and thinks that my notice is unfair.
Do you think I have a point for appealing this decision? and if so, how would I approach it? We're a small company (10 employees), and I don't really want to make things awkward between me and my manager in the office.