What To Do Now That Boss Has Apologized?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a bully boss who has apologized:

I work for a large bank. We have 4 weeks of training and I am in the 3rd week. My boss has been hyper-aggressive towards other employees in the past and last week she was that way towards me. I’m in training! But still, she reprimanded me, threatened me with termination if I forget to follow a sign off procedure and other things. She also asked me to clean up spilled water on the floor that had only been there for a second.

She jumps down people’s throats and twists stories around. I have filed a harassment letter to her boss and her bosses’ boss. I have also asked to be transferred. It turns out that three other people are doing the same thing. I asked to finish training in another location and I am now in another location. She contacted me and apologized and asked to come back to her office on Saturday. HR will probably get my letter by Friday or Monday at the latest. I’m not sure if I should go on Saturday. What if someone responds to the complaint I made? I’m not sure what to do.

Signed, Undecided

Dear Undecided:

You know your work situation best, so my suggestions may not be exactly correct for it. However, perhaps they will give you ideas you can adapt.You have felt your boss was not treating you or others right and you wrote a letter of complaint about her. You also moved to another area to be trained. Now, your boss has apologized for her behavior and wants you to come to her office on Saturday. I’m not clear if you mean she wants to talk to you or if she means she wants you to come back to that work site again. And, I’m not sure if Saturday is a work day or if you would both be off work. I’ll respond from a several perspectives.

Here is something to consider. If others have complained as well, your boss probably realizes she went too far in her actions. She might have been justified to correct you, but she didn’t handle it correctly.Your complaint, combined with the complaints of others, (and perhaps more complaints in the past) puts her own position in jeopardy, so she wants to convince you that it won’t happen again. That may NOT be why she wants to talk to you, but it seems the most likely. I think, now that you have written a letter about her actions, you should let the HR system and the management system, handle it and not go to her office to talk to her, unless you have no other options.If she has been treating people this way all along, she isn’t going to stop just because one trainee got upset. She might stop if she thinks her job is at risk. But, if you go talk to her, she might be able to use that as a way to say that you two are getting along OK now.Also, if you go talk to her you will feel hypocritical to be friendly, feeling as you do. Or, if you simply don’t want to talk to her, there isn’t really any reason to do it, given that you feel she has treated you unprofessionally, inappropriately and rudely. That doesn’t change overnight!Consider calling or emailing HR, if that is where the letter went.

Tell the HR person who seems best for handling this, that you sent a letter and now are being asked by the person you complained about, to come to her office, but you feel uncomfortable about that. Ask them if they have a suggestion. They might tell you to do it, because they aren’t going to do much about your complaint anyway. Or, they might tell you not to do it because there is going to be an investigation of your complaint and the complaints of others.Whatever they suggest, at least you can say you consulted with someone about it.If you are supposed to be off on Saturday or if she is supposed to be off, say you are busy and don’t go in. If you are in training in another bank, say you can’t leave training. Find a reason to not do it, or don’t respond at all. Or, call before opening and leave a voice message saying you can’t make it.

If she asks you directly why you won’t meet, you might say that you’ve felt so badly about what happened, that even though she has apologized you need to get through the weekend and let your brain relax before you can discuss this with her. If you finally are stuck and you simply can’t get out of it, go ahead and meet, but try not to get in a situation of formally accepting her apology and promising to go on as before. Instead, tell her that you can’t get over the stress and frustration that easily and you need a few days to get back to normal.I t wouldn’t hurt to tell her that you want to do a good job and understand that you can’t make serious mistakes. But, like most people, you don’t respond well to yelling or threats and you are worried that it will happen in the future.At some point you might have to say that you wrote a letter to HR or to her boss.

She probably knows that already. But, keep in mind that she is the one who behaved poorly. You might have made mistakes and you might need to correct some training problems, but she did not behave professionally. You can tell her you are sorry for the circumstances that caused it, but not sorry that you did it, because you think it is best for the bank and all employees.

While all of this is going on, someone will get your letter and either look into it or not. You may be asked more about it. HR or your boss’s manager may interview people. Or, it could be that nothing will be done. Then, you will need to decide what to do next.I think your question was essentially, should you talk to her or wait until you know for sure the letter you wrote has been read. If you can get out of talking to her until HR can get the letter and you can follow-up with them by phone or in person, I think that is what you should do.

Remember though that you are responsible for learning to do your job without any serious problems and without excessive assistance. Whatever your boss is like, you are responsible for that for yourself. Keep that as your priority and try to mentally keep the attitude that your own work is the most important thing for you to consider right now.I’m hoping that HR will get your letter, act on it and allow you put that behind you as you learn to do your job, either working with an improved boss or working with someone else.I also hope these ideas are helpful. 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.