The company I work undervalues HR. This has contributed to a very stressful workplace for my team and I. When things go wrong we are the first place that the finger is pointed.

Recently my manager launched into a tirade against HR in which she said there was ‘no bloody point in HR’, no point in us being there if we didn’t make sure things were done right; that we were incompetent. The approach was agressive, uncontrolled, her voice was raised…and this was in front of my 2 direct reports. Both members of my team were shocked and upset, as was I.

Nobody has raised any performance issues with me, my appraisal has no complaints, and when I have asked for feedback to check all is well (it never comes unprompted) I have been assured that there is nothing wrong.

My argument is (unsurprisingly) that even if the complaints were well-founded (which they were not) then there are far better, more appropriate ways to offer this feedback.

I have submitted a grievance: concerned about repercussions, but determined to stand up for myself. Rightly or wrongly the grievance included my equal pay ‘claim’ that I had been holding on to ‘not wanting to rock the boat’. Since this time I have been pretty much ignored by senior management. I got my written response to the grievance 5 minutes before the period stated in the policy expired… it was terse and said that I really should have raised the grievance with my line manager, but that it would be looked into anyway!!! No comment has been made about the seriousness of my claims. No attempts have been made to interview either of my team, or to seek any further information from me.

From experience I know what other people tend to do: this is where they would go off with stress – and the whole HR team grumble about it. I have had all sorts of advice about what I do next: stick it out, resign, go off with stress… I am too close to this one to know what is the right thing to do… my first question is what would you advise?

My second question relates to my reply from the Company. Our policy states that we must get a response to the grievance within 5 days – what I received was a holding letter: a ‘response’ according to the letter of the policy, but the spirit of the policy I would argue would be that there is some kind of resolution. Someone advised me that this could therefore be breach of contract – I am not so sure… I would like to hear your views
Katie Dane

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