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Rebuildling trust in a work relationship

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BaileyCatts, May 10, 2010.

  1. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    Not good. I think I am going to get fired. When I went back on TH, I barely had time to change my shoes and my boss and HR came to my desk and said "can we talk". They took me to a conferene room and said it was a "serious violation of our PVP Principles", they cut off my access to a forms system (uh, all it does is complete forms, I don't know what they thought I could do with that) and told me they changed all the locks in my bosses cube! They said they have discussed this with the VP and the President of our section! The HR person said that 'trust and integrity are our most important values and there is no where I can move you to' (what?). I was so shocked I could not say anything. I barely got out a "it was a mistake" and and they left me alone to "compose myself". They told me I was being sent home for the next two days on paid administrative leave while they investigated (uhm, this happned on May 5, its now May 13 and they haven't investiagted yet? Or was it because I had my laptop with me when I was out May 10-11-12? And why would they have not taken it from me on and done all this on May 7 when they knew I was out for the next 3 days?) and they would call me on Friday. They took my laptop from me.

    I was hysterical all day Thursday, begged my sister to take off work and stay with me on Friday. We waited all day for that call .... ALL DAY .... they never called!!! I don't understand why they didn't call! Even if they are not done "investigating" yet, shouldn't they have at least called me and said "we are still looking into this situation, you are still on paid leave, we will contact you on Monday?? They didn't call at all!!! So now I don't even know what to do on Monday? Do I get up like normal and get dressed for work and then call them right before I leave the house to see if I am allowed to come to work? Do I just show up to work? I know I have no rights here, but wouldn't the courtsey thing to do would be to at least effing call me on Friday and tell me SOMETHING instead of letting me sit here all weekend stressed about it even more!?! I've heard nothing from them since 9:30am on Thursday!

    I had finally calmed down a little because my sister/BIL think maybe that's a good thing. Their first concern was a security breech. They don't know what you did so they are looking at your computer to see if you sent anything to outsiders (which I did not). And that maybe now they are stuck in they don't know what to do. That maybe they are discussing with legal what to do? That maybe I won't get fired and maybe just moved out of my job? They also think maybe they are talking to legal to see what would my response be and what would be the best option to make sure I don't do anything like sue or something, so maybe try to determine some kind of severance package? Why didn't they call me on Friday at all!!!

    What do you think? Do you think I am going to get fired? The bottomline is that my boss did not know I had access to his email, I was in it, he saw me. Those are the facts. Do you think I am going to get fired and all they are doing now is determining there are no criminal charges they can file against me (like if I was sending stuff to outsiders, which I did not!!!)??

    I have worked there for 22 years!!!! Yes, I admit to having an attitude problem and I don't get along with the other girls, and people think I am 'unapproachable' when I am not. I am just very very introverted so people think I'm a bytch. Frankly I don't talk to people unless they talk to me. Yes, I have a sucky personality, I admit it. But I am a good, hard worker, I show up on time for work every day (unlike the other girls who seem to get away with showing up whenever they want), I do my job, I do it well, I get good performance reviews, I was even rated a 1 (the best) in 2008! Am I really going to get fired over this??????
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  2. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    After 22 years, could they be looking for a reason, especially if you don't get along with your coworkers?

    It certainly sounds like you shouldn't have given yourself access to your boss' email. I think you could be fired for that. If you go to another meeting, make sure you can point out all of your good work, WITHOUT comparing yourself to your coworkers. You're a good worker because you're a good worker, not because your coworkers are late etc. Are you doing anything about the attitude problem you know you have? I think I would find someone who has an attitude problem unapproachable. It takes more than being a hard worker who shows up on time to be a good worker, a good worker also has a good attitude towards working, including with those you're working with - whether you like them or not.
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  3. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I hope it all works out. Did you get a chance to better explain yourself and what happened and how and why you lied at first? It sounds like it is too late now, but did they give you a chance in the meeting? I don't know what you should do about Monday. That is a very weird situation and they should have called, knowing you would be in limbo come Monday morning if they didn't contact you. If it were me, I would just call first thing Monday morning. I wouldn't show up and be embarrassed and not allowed in the building or something. I am so sorry all of this happened, it sounds like a lot of things happened in just the right way for this to all go wrong. I guess that is life and all you can do is learn from what happened so it wont happen again. 22 years at one place is a very long time, hopefully they will take this into account and just put you on some kind of probation or something.
  4. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    I was too shocked to say anything. I never never never thought they would send me home on paid administrative leave, remove my systems access, change my bosses locks! I couldn't say anything! I couldn't move! I couldn't even form words in my head! All I could say was "am I going to get fired" and she said "yes that is a strong possiblity", I still coudn't say anything until I barely got out "it was a mistake" when they left me in the room. I sat there for almost an hour and could barely even breath, I couldn't move, they sent the nurse up from Health Services and she made me leave with her and go to Health Services! I sat there for another hour crying and all I kept saying to the nurse was "I want my stuff back! all of it!". I don't know what I was doing. I barely remember driving home.

    And my boss is not even here next week. He is traveling and not back until Thursday? Does that even matter if he is there at this point since it is now an HR matter? Did he not want to be there when they fired me? But why could he just not be there Friday if they made me come up Friday late to fire me? I don't understand why they did not call me!

    Do you really think I am going to get fired?
  5. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    Can can you file for Unemployment if you get fired for cause? Because this would be violating policy, wouldn't it? Can you file for unemployment in the USA if you get fired that way?
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Sounds like they are checking out the security situation. This is a big issue for companies. We recently lost access to our personal email accounts like hotmail because someone used it for sending out company documents. So everyone got punished. However we still have access to internet. So maybe there have been problems and you are now being punished for what others have done.

    I agree with BigB08822. I wouldn't go in on Monday but ring and ask what is going on. Still I would be documenting everything and maybe give that to them. From what you have described, you have probably given them many reasons for them to think that you are guilty of something (because of your body language and the way you responded when your boss caught you out initially), regardless of whether you actually are.

    Still 22 years in a workplace is an very long time. If attitude is a problem (which you have made comment on), that may not be in your favour. The other thing to consider though, is that if it works out that you may get fired, look on it as an opportunity for something else. The fact that they have taken this so seriously regardless of your length of service may indicate other issues. So even with this, I would probably start thinking about moving on from this workplace. Because you are probably never going to feel comfortable working there again.
  7. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    It did!! It all happened in a matter of 15 seconds!!!! My boss sent the chart, he got up and walked to person's desk, I clicked it open, he walked back and saw it on my screen as I quickly clicked it off .... it all happened that fast!! I don't click that box at the exact second in time that I did, this never ever happens! That is how fast it happened! The worst part was that I lied! Of course he knows what he saw on my screen! I don't know why I lied about it, and again, and again when he kept asking me until I spit out some lame fake apology!! I don't know why I didn't just tell the truth that it was just a mistake!!! Why did I do that?????
  8. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member


    This may very well be true. I've seen it happen over and over again with the one in any job who is considered, uhm, "the bitch" as you put it yourself. One slip up is what they wait for.

    At any rate, I would go to work on Monday. The suspension was for two days, the two days are over, phone call or not. Go to work on Monday and face whatever is going to happen.

    I hope it all works out for you BaileyCatts, whichever way it turns out.
  9. Stormy

    Stormy Well-Known Member

    But here's what I don't get, if you were in your bosses e-mail, didn't you say there were two folders, one for yours and one for his? He must have known you had access to it, right? I know you were blindsided by this when you came back, but I wouldn't have left without making sure they knew your side of the story. Even if you try to do that when you go back on Monday, it might be a little too late since you already had two other opportunities to rectify the situation and you didn't. I mean, if they said your getting fired is a strong possibility, they were probably telling the truth. But I agree with those that have said if you've been there that long and the situation is being handled like this, then something else is probably going on. It does not sound like the ideal environment for you anyways, since you even said you don't get along with others there. There's probably better workplace environments for you, so even if you are let go, finding a new opportunity could be a good thing in the long run.
  10. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

    (((BaileyCatts))) I hope things work out. As overedge pointed out, if they have email logging on a central server , hopefully the investigation will show that it was a simple mistake and that you weren't deliberately compromising security.

    And I agree with everyone that you really need to be firm about what happened and explain your side of the story clearly. No matter what happens, your boss and HR need to know the truth of what happened, that you made a mistake. Document any evidence you can to support your story, and be very careful about what you are asked to sign (for ex don't sign an admission that you did something wrong or an agreement to resign). All of that will factor into whether you are able to get unemployment.
  11. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member


    Aren't most people fired for just cause? Also, I always that most states are at-will states, which means they can fire you for any reason at all.

    I always thought you could file unemployment only if you are let go/fired, but not if you quit. Maybe they are hoping that you quit. DO NOT.

    Also, if he knew you had access to his email, what's the big deal? He must have some shit on their that he wondered if you saw. You should say nobody ever told you that you could not have personal access to his emails, that you dont have time to read themand clicked on it by accident. Stick to whatever story you had, and don't waiver.

    Show up Monday with your head held high.
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  12. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member


    Companies have their "favorites" I'm finding out. People who can get away with all sorts of behavior like showing up late, cutting out early, because they have a likeable "personality" or whatever. You're not at work to make friends, but to do a job and sounds like you do it well.

    I think they're sitting tight on this because they are checking with Legal. I think they are hoping you'd be so uncomfortable that you will quit. Which would be the easiest avenue for them. Don't quit!
  13. pilgrimsoul

    pilgrimsoul Active Member

    I'm not a lawyer, but I work closely with them. Whatever you do, DO NOT just call in tomorrow to see if they want you to come in. SHOW UP on time. If they're going to fire you, then just steel yourself and accept it. I know it will be horrible, but it will serve your best interests in the long run to face this head on.

    If you don't show up Monday morning, they can claim that you quit and then they're off the hook in terms of firing you (even if you call). This would be very bad for you because your employer could cite it as grounds for opposing your unemployment claim. You can't take the chance of just calling in because you'll probably get voice mail or no answer. This is an old trick - don't fall for it.

    If they're determined to fire you, make sure they do it by the book. I know it will be painful for you, but there's more at stake than just losing your job now - you need to ensure that you will receive funds to cover your living expenses until you find another job.

    Another thing they might do is instead of firing you is to offer you a couple of months severance pay in exchange for signing a separation agreement. This option, IMHO, is the best possible outcome for you (other than keeping your job) because executing a separation agreement isn't technically a "firing" - this distinction would make it easier for you to explain to prospective employers why you left your current job. You could just say, "After 22 years with the same company, I decided it was time for a new challenge and felt it was time to move on."

    If you go this route, make sure the separation agreement contains a clause prohibiting them from disclosing the circumstances surrounding your departure with anyone, or from giving you a negative employment reference.

    As I stated before, I'm not an attorney - so if you have the means to do so, you should consult one instead of relying on my advice. It is money well spent.

    I'm sorry this has happened to you and wish you well as you face whatever comes tomorrow.
    nerdycool and (deleted member) like this.
  14. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that you are going through this.
    Indeed, keep your head high.
    As best you can, determine your options.

    It does sound as though they are trying to find a reason to let you go.
    If it wasn't done immediately, things aren't "cut and dried"; so, hang in there.

    Keep us updated, We care.

    Edited to add: I believe that pilgrimsoul offered some very good suggestions.
  15. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Something is fishy here...

    1. Why did boss not know that you have access to his email?
    2. Why did you feel so guilty to lie about how you opened the file?
    3. Why, after 22 years of working there do they feel the need to treat you so harshly?

    I am *not* siding with them, BC, but these are questions that I would ask myself. I think that you said that this was a reorg chart. Has there been gossip about the reorg? Maybe they think that the gossip is coming from you.

    Whatever the situation, show up to work tomorrow on time, and be prepared to be fired.
  16. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Pilgrimsoul has excellent advice. I also agree that it sounds like something else is going on.

    I am not a lawyer either, but it seems to me that if you have 22 years of experience with this company *and* good performance reviews, it is going to be very hard for them to fire you "for cause" for one action that is relatively minor (looking at a single document in your boss' email by mistake). Yes, you lied about it, but you did not tell anyone else what was in the document, you closed it as soon as you realized what you had done, and you did not circulate the document or anything else that would compromise confidentiality.

    And your boss knew that you had access to his email - even if you never formally agreed that you would have that access, he is the one who is responsible for the security of his account. If he wasn't keeping an eye on who had access to his documents, then to fire you for making a mistake relating to access to his account....I can't help but feel that it would be very hard to defend that legally.

    On the other hand, as others have mentioned, if the company is going to treat you like this over a small mistake, then maybe you should consider what else is an option for you, because this is not a very good attitude on their part.

    As pilgrimsoul suggests, go in on Monday on time. Be prepared that they might fire you, or try to fire you, but I think your attitude should be "I made a mistake, I'm sorry, I'd like to work to see that it doesn't happen again, and let's move forward from there". And if they won't agree to that, then make them fire you by the book. Making noises about hiring a lawyer sometimes works wonders.....
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  17. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    No it wasn't a reorg chart, nothing like that. It was just one of those corporate happy feely lets feel good about ourselves things that don't mean anything! I didn't even read it! I guess I felt guilty and embarrassed and I had no explanation and when I am confronted I just shut down and can't respond rationally. That's just the way I am. I am not an emotionally mature person, I don't know how to answer other than that's just the way I am. I say the things in my head and I can't make them come out. Like I said, he probably didn't know because when I started working for him, I had to get access to his calendar, I just followed the instructions on how you do that and gave myself access to everything, and because I did manage my old bosses email, it was just normal for me to do it that way. But he was like no that's okay, you don't have to do that. I just never went back and turned it off, so the access was still there. If you have Outlook email, then you understand all that.

    The reason that I am being treated so harshly is because of what she told me, that they consider this a serious "PVP violation", which is like the company's values and principles, and that it violates integrity and trust. I know that, but it was just a stupid mistake! I didn't mean any harm! I don't know why I lied other than I was scared when I was confronted! When they pulled me into the conf. room on Thursday, I was too shocked to say anything! I couldn't even make my body move! I sat in that chair for almost an hour and could not move! I don't know why I did that and I don't know why I didn't answer other than it was a mistake!
    kosjenka and (deleted member) like this.
  18. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    So your boss did tell you that he didn't want you in his e-mail? That's a problem - b/c you were told not to have access to it but then never turned the access off.

    I'm not trying to pile on, but that's something you need to work on. Lying about it to your boss when he confronted you was as big of a mistake as looking at the e-mail in the first place. When he asked you about it, you should have immediately explained that you clicked by mistake, barely looked at it, etc - and try to make light of it. The fact that you got visibly scared, and denied and lied made it look like you did something far worse. By Thursday, the wheels were already in place and it was too late.

    The way they treated you, esp after working there for so many years, doesn't seem fair, but in a large company, people aren't going to hold your hand. I'm a little :eek: that they made you sit in a room alone for an hour and then called a nurse (or was that b/c of something you asked or said?) to come and get you, and I agree with those who have suggested that maybe the company was not a good fit. And I agree with pilgrimsoul and others have said about going to work tomorrow and throwing the ball back in their court. Just be prepared for anything.
  19. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Depends on the State. In Mass, it's difficult NOT to get unemployment awarded to you for a just cause termination. The Employer essentially has to prove that you violated a known policy AND that the violation was willful misconduct. Even if miscoduct is proven, the employee may get benefits if he/she can show that the misconduct was justified in some way. The State bends over backwards for the ex-employee.
  20. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Not to be a naybob of negativity, but I would assume you've been terminated. I would doubt the two days off were for them to investigate the situation. I would assume it is for them to get your stuff together and get you completely removed from their system. Yes, go to work tomorrow. But I would do so with the full understanding you're no longer employed there, and they aren't interested in hearing you explain the situation.

    If you can negotiate what Pilgrim Soul outlined, good for you. But I wouldn't assume any such negotiations will be made available to you.

    I only say this because if you know what's coming now, you can be mentally and emotionally prepared come tomorrow morning.

    Hang in there (((Baileycatts)))
  21. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    I am in Ohio if that makes a difference.

    It was maybe 45-50 minutes I was in the room. The whole 'meeting' at 9am took about 5 minutes then they left me alone to compose myself. After about 25 minutes, she came back in and I was still just sitting there and she asked me if I wanted to call anyone or go to health services and I shook my head no and again blurted out 'it was a mistake'. I hadn't eaten or slept for days because I was so worried about what would happen when I went back to work I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. She left me alone again and about 9:45a is when the nurse came in the room and was trying to talk to me just her role was only as a nurse to see that I was okay. About 9:50 she came in again and said we had to leave the conferece room because someone else had it booked. It took me about 5 more minutes to be able to get up and nurse walked me to my desk to get my things and all I kept doing was looking around my desk at 22 years for of personal items and things I bought with my own money saying I want all my stuff back! I blindly packed up my things like normal leaving for the day and put my laptop in my bag and that is when they took it from me. I sat down in the medical office for about an hour just crying until I finally kept saying I want to go home and the nurse walked me to my car. Then that's the last I heard from anyone.
  22. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

    Okay, I admit I know nothing about computers. I am curious about whether IT can check to see if you have been looking at Bosses email on a regular basis. I thought they could track everything that you do. Is there any chance that they have been checking on where you have been on the computer, during this 2 day suspension? :confused:
  23. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

    ((BaileyCats)) I feel for you, because from the little you've told about yourself, I gather that our personalities are very similar... so I can easily see myself doing the same things. It's not how most people would handle the situation, but everyone is different. And no matter how old you are, sometimes protective instincts kick in, though they can often lead one astray (which they did in your case).

    And based on how your company has handled it so far, I would agree with the others that your termination is probably coming. I also agree that you should show up for work on time tomorrow. It will suck to go in and face everyone, all the while waiting for the other shoe to drop, but at least you have this time to mentally prepare yourself as much as possible. But hopefully 22 years of good service to the company will count for something.
  24. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    I have barely been able to eat for days and have gotten little sleep. I had calmed down a little bit on Saturday for a while, but the closer it gets to tomorrow the more scared I am getting. I am so light headed and weak and I know I have to eat something but I can't. I can't believe how stupid I am, I don't think it would have gone to the extent it has if I would not have lied and I still don't understand why I did that and why I was given two chances yet still did not tell the truth. He is probably the greatest boss I have ever worked for in 22 years and we had such a great working relationship and he has done so much to support me in the organization when I have the problems that I do in not getting along with the other girls. I don't know why I did this and ruined my effing life. I have nothing else in my life but that job. I don't have any close friends, I'm not married, no boyfriend, as much as I did not like those girls, I could ignore that because I liked my boss so much and I looked forward to going to work because he was so nice and I ruined all that. I would have been able to work for him for at least a good 3+ years before he would have gotten moved to another role and I threw that all away over a stupid mistake. I know those girls are just salivating over telling everyone I got fired and that I got what was coming to me when they are just as bytchy to me as I may be to them.

    I just don't understand why if they are going to fire me anyway why they could not have called me up at 6p Friday night when everyone is gone and watch me pack my stuff and go and why this is taking so long. People work late in my group during the week, sometimes up til 8p people are still in the area working. Will they even let me up to my desk to watch me get my things or just pack up things like pictures and trinkets that would clearly be mine and I just lose everything else I can't remember is mine? I have 22 years worth of stuff crammed in every nook and cranny of that cube, and even stuff located and cabinets outside my cube no one would ever find that I will never get back and I want it all back.
    agalisgv and (deleted member) like this.
  25. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I would say the lying is far worse than the email, and to be honest, if this ends in a firing I would bet money that it's about the lying and not the email.

    I know you're upset. But if you want ANY chance of keeping this job (knowing that it might be too late, but this could also salvage a recommendation) you have GOT TO be able to go in there tomorrow and tell your side of what happened CALMLY and without tears. Don't wait for them to ask..tell them. It is critical that you not fall apart, no matter what happens. Even if they yell at you (I don't think that's going to happen, but often it's a fear when we know someone is angry with us). The hysterics make you look guilty.

    Focusing on your personal property at your desk is counter-productive. They will get it for you if it comes to that. If there's stuff hidden, make a list of what it is and where it is. But fretting about that is just whipping yourself into even further of a frenzy, which is likely to cause another breakdown.

    It probably is in your interest to work on your resume as well.
  26. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    I would think so also. That sent a huge warning sign to the company. If I were them, I'd wonder what else you might lie about. :( Your actions after the conference didn't go a long way toward building confidence. I'd have left the room and gone to the bathroom if I felt I was going to cry. Sitting there until they felt compelled to call a nurse didn't do you any favors regarding stability. But, as Genevieve said, you can't undo what's done. You have to focus on what you are going to do now and in the future. You may well need a reference. A future employer will ask why you left a company after such a long time. Do not say anything negative about the company or the circumstance. You need to practice what you're going to say. Good luck.
  27. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

    Yes, forget the shoulda couldas and just have do what you have to do. As genevieve said, you've got to be able to tell your side of the story calmly, even if it ends up falling on deaf ears. Personally, I wouldn't leave an employer after 22 years without challenging this serious accusation.

    Layoffs and terminations happen everywhere, all the time, especially in this economy. There's no such thing as job security. There's nothing particularly unique about your circumstances. A job is just a job. You say you don't have anything else but this job? You have your health, and that's the most important thing (Just ask my friend who has cystic fibrosis. She loves her family and friends, but she'd give up those relationships to be healthy). Don't ruin your health by getting depressed over this. If you're healthy, there's always other jobs and there's always a way.
  28. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    To be perfectly honest, that is not in their interest to consider anyone's feelings and that kind of thing would never occur to them. Employers have a habit of doing these things at the worst possible time (like firing people last thing Friday afternoon before the weekend). That is the nature of the beast.
  29. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    (((BaileyCatts))) Just checked this thread again today and found all this. I'm so sorry to hear it. :(
  30. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Whatever happens tomorrow, and I hope it works out for you, don't underestimate yourself. It's easy to fall into a pattern and not spend time examining other parts of your life when you're busy, but you're more than just your job. You're obviously well written, have good work skills, and have a sister who cares.

    I know it's scary and upsetting and hard to see how anything good can come from this. But I've had friends who've gone through similar things, and a year later most of them are amazed at the positive changes they've made in their lives and the skills the talents and strength they found in themselves.

    One mistake doesn't change a record of accomplishment, so even if this doesn't work out the way you want, don't beat yourself up or question your ability. Good luck!