Human Resources/Went over heads?


My husband was recently suspended, with pay, until the investigation of his alleged wrondoings was complete. It is very complicated, but it was the result of a customer complaint.In dealing with an irate customer, husband lost his cool and acted unprofessionally because he raised  his voice and used the F word. He did not however assualt or give the finger as the customer said. He was 'mostly' innocent. Their are witnesses to support him, though I dont believe they were questioned. Other than this incident, his record is pretty good.
He works in municipal goverment. At the first meeting with his supervisors, a rep from HR was present, taking notes. The meeting was cordial. Moments later, was called into a second meeting, without the HR person. This meeting was more confrontational on the part of the supervisors.
Against my advice, he sent an email to the HR rep, since she wasnt at the meeting, to give her his side of the story.
He was shocked to find out when he got back to work he was suspended for three days without pay.
Since the punishment was very harsh, I cant help but wonder if the HR person forwarded it to his supervisores, and they might have felt he 'went over their heads', and being vindictive, gave him a harsher than necessary punishment. He said this had happened to another employee a few years ago when he met with the head of the department, who also got a harsher than required punishment.
He feels that it was OK to send the email to HR, he was just giving her his side, which he was unable to do. He doesnt think it is going over heads.
I think it was a mistake.
What is your opinion?


Since you are looking for opinions, I can help, however in this case it wont be any more valuable than the barber's opinion.   

Obviously, I don't know your husband or his personality or how his work had been performed or his way of presenting himself in a discussion / confrontation.    I know a lot of good people, and a lot of assholes- to put it bluntly....

I don't know if this behavior is uncharacteristic of his normal behavior or if he is always rude or looking for a confrontation.   Not suggesting he is, I just don't know him.   Some people look for fights, others avoid them at all costs.   The fact is if he allowed himself to use the F word in a confrontational situation with a "customer"  or citizen, again, I was not there.     Also, maybe the citizens with whom he had the confrontation was a  " s_ithead" and  deserved someone to let loose on him with the  F-Bomb and more.   But when you are working, you need to represent yourself better,  hold your tongue, do your work.  If he was on his day off and used the F- Bomb, so what-- that is his decision and that may not directly impact his employer.     ANYTHING you do while working reflects on your employer whether you are justified or not.   So, whatever happened, this customer felt it was right to take the time to go to his employer and file a complaint.       So, your husband, in the end was wrong in what he did.

Same argument for the HR person and the supervisors...  I don't know them, I don't know the details of the situation and the timeline for what happened first, second, etc.    I don't know if they discipline their employees  at the drop of a hat, of if this employer is less proactive in handing out discipline.  

So, it is hard for me to decide if something is "fair"  or "too harsh" in terms of a punishment for something that was said, or something that was done.    I don't know all the facts and like you said yourself this is a complicated situation.

That being said, and looking at the limited facts that are there most importantly he admitted to using the F word to a customer,  he is fortunate not to be terminated.  So, he should take his 3 day suspension and learn a lesson to control his temper and at a minimum learn how to walk away and/ or not blast people with the   "F"  Bomb.    

Not the side of the argument you may have wanted, but that is all I can offer.  Thank you for your question.  

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Brian Phillips


Foreign and US university students -*PLEASE*- DO NOT waste your time asking for my opinions, comments or analysis of your homework questions. Homework questions are not answered and are rejected. I am happy to help answer questions asked by employees and employers regarding United States based state and Federal wage and hour, OT, Fair labor standards, FMLA, COBRA, Recruiting, Interviewing techniques, employee manuals, discipline, terminations/quits, unemployment, HRIS rollout, Employee Leasing or Staffing company cost analysis, day to day scenarios, work situations and more. Essentially a well rounded HR generalist who operates Harvis, Inc., a human resource consulting and service business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania "NEPA".


At Harvis, Inc., we provide Human Resource products, services and advice to small businesses that may not have the time or resources to hire a full time HR department. For larger companies with HR managers in place, we compliment their expertise to help with time consuming or time sensitive projects like updating policy manuals, screening and interviewing and more. We make workplaces better by becoming that 1/2 person they need to help handle HR responsibilities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Formerly responsible for all Human Resource activity for a staffing agency with 2,500 annual employees as well as an employee leasing / PEO business with 1,500 annual employees. Designed and implemented the HR structure to support hundreds of clients in excess of $ 500 million in payroll volume over career in Human Resources.

* President 2006- Harvis Inc. HR Services * President 2010-13 Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area - Shickshinny PA * President 2013- ShickshinnyForward Not for Profit Community Long Term Revitalization Organization and former member of varios Chambers of Commerce and HR Taskforce, former President of NBC Business Club 2 years

Bloomsburg University - 1993 BS Marketing, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Community College - 1991 Business Administration, Nanticoke Pennsylvania

Awards and Honors
* Better than average - 20/10 vision * Bestowed with an occasional "Thank You" from clients and their employees.

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