Is it safe to approach them with an issue or not?
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I've said this more than once, Cummins middle management and lower is going to get the company into a major class action lawsuit that will make the news. I bet anything that womans issues never made it to corporate HR, it was local aka family was involved if you get my meaning. So much good ole boy and nepotism is in Cummins where they protect each other. They are going to make a mistake that is going to air out all their issues and problems. I'm surprised HR did what they did to that woman, because the optics was truly bad on them. But it tells me that the manager had family and/or friends in HR who where protecting him.
I recall a female who reported her male manager to HR for conduct issues. She had been in her role less than 2 years, and he had been in his role for several years. She was the only female on the team. The process for HR lasted a few months; final result, she was terminated. She was not offered an opportunity to move onto a different team, a different building, etc. She was fired.
You have to be careful with HR, they can be dangerous to the employee when it's against a manager. As many have said document, document and document some more.
To directly answer your question, I have not personally reported an issue to HR. Like others have said, just remember the sole purpose of HR is to keep the company's best interests in mind, not the employee's best interests. That being said, you shouldn't have to tolerate a manager's abuse, so use "HR protecting the company" to your advantage. "You come at the king, you best not miss." If you report something to HR without any evidence, you're going to be put in a real hurt locker. Luckily, we all have recording devices on our person at all times. If you know some verbal abuse is forthcoming (say, in a scheduled one-on-one meeting), put your cell phone on record and put it in your shirt pocket. Record the conversation, and take that to HR (record multiple instances, because "harassment" technically has to be persistent abuse). If HR knows hard evidence exists that could be let out in the wild and hurt the stock price, they'll be more willing to play game. Worst comes to worst and HR takes the stance of "snitches get stitches" and you get RIF'd for "purely performance reasons," then fu-k 'em, you're better off not being under their boot anymore.
HR is not there for the employee, it pays to remember that, and if you ever stop and think that you need to talk to HR about anything, go back and remember HR is not their for employees. The only reason to ever go to HR is if you have fully documented proof that you have been wronged. Keep notes, and document, document, document, because HR will.
I concur with Pat McCrotch. Write on several sheets of paper exactly why you feel abused, and an HR outcome to the issue that exceeds your expectations. Take your time, work on it for a month. Thats how you deal with problems as a company man! Then, only after you feel satisfied, crumple it up into a ball and throw it away. You have to go along to get along. And remember, nothing related to HR is anonymous - why does every document have a serial number and unique identifier, and so much spyware tech packed on your work station it would make the Kremlin blush? Have you noticed the cameras in your work space?
Absolutely not! You'll be first to be let go when times are bad. No employee has ever been disciplined for violating the code of conduct. HR exists for 2 reasons: 1) protect the company from you, and 2) figure out how to pay you the minimum wage to keep you coming to work everyday. Age discrimination starts at 32 - its called a succession plan. If you are not on a succession plan, you will never get the experience or skills required to advance. Think of yourself as a pupa, 80% of employees are never developed. Did you see the 6 VPs promoted last September? Only 1 white male, I don't know him, but its safe to assume he's openly g-y, or at the very least, knows someone who is. If complaining to HR worked, everyone would do it. My advice is to keep your head down - turkeys with the longest neck get shot first. Goal is to simply keep the paycheck coming. Participate in activities outside of work to gain skills and experience and fulfillment. And as always, start drinking heavily to deal with the abuse - yes, it is possible to drink it off your mind. Good night, and good luck.
I'm trying to determine if it would be worth it reporting my manager for verbal abuse or if I would simply be putting a target on my back.