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Non-formal complaint made against. What do I do next?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 13th, 2020 9:46 am
[OP]
Member
Dec 29, 2012
284 posts
88 upvotes
Toronto

Non-formal complaint made against. What do I do next?

I was working on a collaborative project with our sister organization and weeks after my work on the project was completed and I went back to my regular job, I was informed by a manager at the sister organization one their employees has filed a non-formal complaint against me and others (not sure how many others) about insensitive remarks made towards the employee.

The manager repeated the remarks that were claimed to be said towards said employee and I was appalled because they were sentences I would never say directly or anyone in the right mind would say to a colleague without offending someone. From my time working alongside said employee, we had many fun casual conversations and the employee would often go into personal details. The employee was very young, had a very social personality and liked to talk a lot. I do recall having conversations on the topic the employee made complaints about but I don't recall saying anything that would be seen as possibly insensitive and there was no hints or signs of the employee being uncomfortable around me. The complaint surprised me and caught me off guard.

The manager said my story sounds in line and heard enough. I don't know what will happen next and whether or not I should inform my manager of the situation. Should I follow up with the manager on the situation or leave it as is?

It feels bad to be wrongfully accused of something I did not do and I am going to assume everyone who worked on the project may have a bad image of me going forward. I will likely never see said employee again but I may encounter others at the sister organization on future projects. This is a first for me since I've always been known to avoid stepping on any toes and get along with everyone.

Any advice on how to move on from this would be appreciated.

TL;DR: Colleague made a non-formal complaint against me to their manager about things I said. I told the manager I never said such things and always got along with the colleague and the complaint surprised me. How do I move on from this?
8 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2245 posts
1007 upvotes
Alberta
Younger gen? Ya they are generally overly sensitive. I only talk business with them. Older gen can have very strong political views but won’t get over sensitive or hold it against you if your views differ. Comes with experience. Best to avoid and never speak to that employee again unless over email so that is documented.
Last edited by abc123yyz on May 11th, 2020 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 31, 2006
7006 posts
1740 upvotes
Toronto
abc123yyz wrote: Younger gen? Ya they are generally overly sensitive. I only talk business with them. Older gen. An have very strong political views but won’t get over sensitive or hold it against you if your views differ. Comes with experience. Best to avoid and never speak to that employee again unless over email so that is documented.
I wonder how will the younger generation comes up with the proof that Op's says such thing, if he/she does not any document to proves either?
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35231 posts
21214 upvotes
Center of Universe
Non-formal... don't worry about it.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3756 posts
3167 upvotes
hydewolf wrote: ... From my time working alongside said employee, we had many fun casual conversations and the employee would often go into personal details. ...
Use it as a learning experience and move on. The take away from this experience is that the workplace is not a safe environment. Fun, casual conversations are sometimes okay, but when personal details start to be involved it is time to shut that conversation down and exit.
Sr. Member
Sep 28, 2013
675 posts
377 upvotes
Sounds like the manager doesn't think too much of the complaint. I would just flat out ignore that person for the rest of the time you/they are around, other than being professional if it came down to having to work with them. That means no hi's/byes (unless they say it) and zero non-work conversation. The person should also realize the consequences of creating a toxic workplace - if they aren't equipped to handle social conversations, they deserve to have no-one engage with them socially for any reason.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4162 posts
2949 upvotes
OP this is very one-sided because you haven't shared what was said and are expecting us to believe your side.

In the event that your version of events is true, then there's nothing for you to worry about or do - it should be very easy to move on. Follow angrybanker's advice and just remember how someone else reacts is their business/problem, how you react is yours. If this person is overly sensitive that's something they need to figure out, you can't worry about it.

However, if this is still bothering you then there's a life lesson for you to learn - you will need to do some self-inquiry and reflection to get to the root of it (it might not be that obvious but once you figure it out, you'll instantly know - the energy around this issue will dissipate) otherwise it's going to resurface again and again in different situations.
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2016
1632 posts
2389 upvotes
hydewolf wrote: we had many fun casual conversations and the employee would often go into personal details. The employee was very young, had a very social personality and liked to talk a lot. I do recall having conversations on the topic the employee made complaints about but I don't recall saying anything
Welcome to 2020. Assuming what you wrote is 100% accurate....unfortunately there's no right answer there.
Said employee should not be engaging in any non-related work conversation which could potentially be offending....
Also, what is the point of filling a "non-formal" complaint besides to get attention?

I suggest not discussing this anyone and follow-up w/ your manager in 2 weeks. Its your work reputation and could potentially be used against you when it comes to promotions/bonuses etc.
Personally I would keep my mouth shut and my ear to the ground. If the employee talked to others about it then he/she would be in violation of breaking confidentiality if she/he mentioned you specifically then you should advise your manager (who writes your yearly review).
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2016
1632 posts
2389 upvotes
angrybanker wrote: That means no hi's/byes (unless they say it) and zero non-work conversation. The person should also realize the consequences of creating a toxic workplace
I can't agree w/ that. You're dealing w/ someone who is thinned skinned here.....Best say "good morning" then a "good day" ...otherwise you might get another complaint for making him/her feel uncomfortable.....and then keep the conversation work related as AngryBanker suggested.

Speaking from experience I had a colleague who insulted me a few times so I completely ignored him then got a warning from the manager as I was making him feel uncomfortable.

Nowadays people act so innocent and sensitive its impossible not to offend anyone. Nobody every farted in public or ever said/did something stupid while..

Last year we had a team meeting which ended up being a strong debate. One colleague had a really left field view so another colleague said, "whats wrong w/ you?"
The fellow was gay "something is wrong with me because am gay?!?!?!" and off to HR it went. He was 100% legitimately offended...

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