Bosses Keep Investigating Me!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about sleeping on the job:

I am a production manager and was recently accused of sleeping on the night shift. Apparently they found some coats made into a bed in a room upstairs and my name was reported to my line manager as the person who did it. I basically got a phone call and called to my line managers office and accused of the mentioned act. I was told I was to have my promotion removed and that they would find me a job somewhere else. I lodged a formal grievance against the procedures they followed and asked to be reinstated to my position. I have since won my case and told that, subject to a medical exam, I will be returning to my position.

However, I have not been asked to attend a meeting to discuss the accusation again and my line manager has been asked to re-investigate it. (I still have not returned to my position yet) I’m feeling like they won’t leave me alone. I have just won a case and now they are re-investigating me? I really want to know if they can do this. I’m currently going through a divorce and I really could do without this right now. They will not leave me alone to get on with my job.

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

I’m sorry, but we are unable to provide legal advice and also are not able to advise about what might be the rules for your management under the employment contract you may have.You mention that you are in a civil service job and I see that you are from the United Kingdom (UK), there may be much different requirements and restrictions than we have here in the US.If you had assistance with your grievance process, you may want to talk to that person or group. Or, discuss this with a trusted resource there–someone who understands the system and who also knows the circumstances of your situation more closely.

Let me note this, however, which may give you a perspective that would be helpful: Even though you were considered correct in your grievance about the processes used to investigate the complaint, you were not necessarily absolved of wrongdoing. So, it may be that this recent investigation is designed to find out the truth more accurately, either to clear you of it or to remedy the procedural errors they made before and show they were correct about the essential issue, which is that you were sleeping on the job.

If you were not sleeping on the job it seems unlikely they could show that you were, unless someone deliberately lies and says they saw you doing it. If you were sleeping on the job, now is the time to focus on reassuring them that, whatever they may think happened, it will never happen again.I’m not making a judgment one way or the other, just presenting those options.

Whatever the situation, you may want to write a memo to your manager letting him know that even though you’re very frustrated with the situation, you are anxious to get back to work and to show that you are a dependable employee. If there are things you can point to, to show how much you have accomplished, you might mention a few of those. If you have plans for the future to help the company succeed or are in the middle of something, let them know of that. In that way, even if they feel they were right about the accusation they may be more willing to move forward now and not keep investigating this matter. Best wishes with this difficult and challenging situation, made more so because of your personal issues right now. I hope this can be resolved quickly so you can move forward with your life and work.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.