You are here:

Human Resources/Crisis Suspension/Discrimination

Advertisement


Question
Hi Jim,

I am a co-op student at a pulp and paper factory. Lately, there is a formal complaint brought up against me, stating that I threatened one of my coworkers, I will refer her as "M" from now on.
In my case, I totally did not say the sentence that my coworker accused me for threatening. (Not the case that I said it, but she took it wrong. I didn't even say it.) I was not able to provide any evidence that I did not say such thing. My coworker, M, can't not provide any evidence that I said such thing either. This case is a dead end now.

Therefore, the investigation was conducted. However, the HR did not let me know that this investigation was about me. HR just told me there was an incident, and started asking questions. My direct supervisor or any supervisor in my department was not involved in the investigation process. My coworker, M,'s supervisor, even a friend coworker, were both present when I was asked questions. They were both taking notes.
Throughout the investigation, HR used languages like "You are just a coop student. Your coworker M has been here for 20 years. How can I believe you over her?" and "You are so close to telling me the truth, but you did not" were used.

Then I was put on "crisis suspension". I was not notified what "crisis suspension" meant exactly. My supervisor was not aware that I was suspended, until I told him myself. My supervisor totally believed in me. When I attempt to ask more questions about my suspension, HR asked me to leave immediately. HR said she would call me on next business day.

Now, I have been doing a great job at work. My supervisor is willing to speak for me. However, I am just a intern/coop student, therefore is not a union member. Can I file a complaint about discrimination against coop students in this case? What else can I do in this case to prevent being falsely accused? Is this okay that HR can say things like that during an ongoing investigation? Were my supervisors supposed to be involved in such process?

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you
Nina

Answer
Nina
Sorry for the delay in responding as I have been on travel. Is your suspension over?  If so...
I dont know how long your co-op lasts but at this point I would suggest you keep your head down do your job and chalk this up to a learning experience.
There are a few quotes that might explain this a bit.  "perception is reality" and Whtere is what you said, what you meant and what the other person heard"
There are a number of union folks in business that feel threatened by co-ops and look for any reason to cause trouble.   I would ask your supervisors to write letters of recommendation to demonstrate your quality and move on.  The supervisors etc have to live with the union after you've gone so you're expendable.
While you potentially have a valid complaint, by the time anything happens to address it, you will have graduated.
I know this wont make you feel any better but its probably the best way to deal with it.
Hope this helps.
Jim

Human Resources

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Jim Dromsky

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to Management/Executive recruitment, retention and development. How to's relating to Organizational Development, Training, Succession planning, Management assessment and when to go outside instead of promoting from within. Additionally, questions on performance based compensation incentives, employment law, harassment, etc.

Experience

James Dromsky is Founder and CEO of Orion Consulting, Inc. During his twenty-five year career he has conducted and managed Executive Search and Human Resources consulting engagements in the Consumer Products, Electronics/Computer, Financial Services, Information Services, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Transportation and DOD related industries. Prior to founding Orion Consulting, Inc., Mr. Dromsky functioned as Engagement Manager and Consultant for regional and national Search and Consulting Firms. He has successfully completed Search assignments for positions including President, General Manager, Vice President Operations, Vice President Finance/CFO, Vice President Marketing/Sales, Vice President Manufacturing, Vice President Engineering, Vice President R&D, Vice President Human Resources as well as Managerial, Supervisory and Professional Direct Contributor positions in all functional areas. As President of Orion Consulting for the past 23 years, Mr. Dromsky is directly involved in and responsible for all Search and Consulting engagements. These engagements have ranged on the Search side from a single top management assignment for a start-up firm to a 75 hire multi-year reconstruction of a major appliance manufacturing concern. The Consulting engagements have ranged in scope from individual assignments such as a targeted salary survey; development and implementation of database applications for a H.R. Information System in the consulting industry; design and growth of a software development team for the information services arena to the conceptualization and installation of a complete corporate Human Resources function. Mr. Dromsky received his education in Biology and Chemistry from Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. In addition, he has taken graduate course work at the same university in the area of Business and Marketing. Mr. Dromsky served in the U.S. Navy, which included a tour of duty in Southeast Asia.

Education/Credentials
Mr. Dromsky received his education in Biology and Chemistry from Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. In addition, he has taken graduate course work at the same university in the area of Business and Marketing. Mr. Dromsky served in the U.S. Navy, which included a tour of duty in Southeast Asia.

Past/Present Clients
Client list furnished upon request

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.