Falsely Accused by HR

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about false accusations.

What happens when a totally false accusation is put upon you by HR and they will not budge? You comply w/the penalty but then another is brought. It is getting to be slander I believe. These are fireable offenses and this is a state office.

Signed, Need Help

Dear Need Help:

If you are being charged with rules or policy violations and being penalized. Most likely HR is simply putting together the disciplinary packages. It is your supervisor and manager who are submitting the investigation and requests for discipline. Since we don’t know what the charges are, it’s hard to know what would be the best thing for you to do, but obviously something has to change or you may lose your job there.It is doubtful that employment issues would be considered slander under the law. But, if you feel that you are deliberately being lied about to cause you to lose your job, you may want to get an attorney to help you find a solution.

Consider these initial responses, based on what is happening:

1. Get everything together that you think will show you should not be found guilty of an infraction. If you have witnesses, list those. If you have performance evaluations over time that show you are a different kind of employee than you are being portrayed right now, get copies of those from HR (even though you aren’t feeling very positive about them right now, for obvious reasons.)Ask to talk to your supervisor and let him or her know that you value your job, you think you are doing a good job and you’d like to ask for a discussion to clear the air about the matter. Or, you might say that you want a discussion to find out exactly what you need to do instead of what you are now doing, in order to move forward and get past these situations.I often tell employees to ask those important questions: What should I be doing instead of what I’m doing now? What would you like me to do more of? What would you like me to do less of? What is that you think I do well and that I should keep doing?The very fact that you would ask is a positive thing in the eyes of most supervisors and managers. It may be hard to do that, if your relationship with them is bad. But, if you can do it, you may really get something good accomplished.

2. Do some self-assessment. Could it be that you are judging yourself by your intentions but they are judging you by your actions? So, even though you don’t see yourself as being a problem, they do? Or, if you’re a good employee, could it be that you haven’t sold that part of yourself well enough for them to see what you have to offer?I often advise people to work to gain influence; and it takes three things to have influence:You must be credible. You must be valuable. You must communicate effectively.If any of those three are missing, you will be less influential and more likely to have problems.

3. Talk to someone who knows the situation and will give you honest views. There is no point in only talking to friends who agree with you. So, see if you can ask someone for advice and input, who knows your work and knows the people involved and can give you their thoughts.4. Government workplaces are not anxious to fire someone because they know it’s not easy to get a replacement. But, if someone is not providing the behavior and performance for which they were hired, that may be the only way to get the whole workplace back to normal. It’s upsetting when there are disciplinary actions and complaints going on.

So, stop for a moment and see what you can do to calm things down. You may need to learn to do your job better, break some habits, learn new skills, swallow your pride and put up with a bruised ego for awhile. But, if you want your job those may not be difficult to do.If you have clients or customers, internal or external, put your focus on them. What can you do to provide them with great service, great assistance, timely work and a smile? Become the best representative of your office that you can. See if you can get past this problem and hold on. Often these things run in cycles. For awhile everyone is very upset, then it calms down. If you can get it to the calm down time, you may find your feelings will change and your worries about being slandered or fired will disappear too.Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

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.