I am a HR Assistant and am slightly upset at the treatment of one of the girls in the office.  She came onboard about 6 months ago as team support and is line managed by one of the PAs.  There seemed to be friction from the start between them.  This particular PA can be very assertive and controlling and everyone seems to cow tow to her in the office. Admittedly I do too.  The new girl seemed to react to this quite badly and came to see my boss, the HR business partner, for advice as to how to handle the situation. 

Since then a decision was made for the new girl to change line managers.  I have heard the PA line manager whinge about her repeatedly in the office and she seems to be bolstering support for her point of view.  The girls new line manager is another manager within the team she supports.  She is quite a shy girl, not overly communicative, but has come to me really upset and I dont know what to do for the best. 

Her new line manager has asked her to move desks as she sits next to the PA line manager. Citing that he thinks it’s for the best.  She does not want to do this as she feels it will be humiliating and that her old boss, the PA, will be gossiping about how she made her move desks to get her away from her.  She feels it will really undermine her in the office and cause her to feel very uncomfortable around the rest of the team.

She does not want me to escalate this to the business partner as she feels he is in cahoots with the managers anyway.  I guess she is speaking to me about it as she sees me on a similar level to her.

I don’t know what to advise her for the best.  Is she within her rights to refuse to move desks explaining the reasons above or does she have to move if told to do so?

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