My manager has lied through my teeth about me. What do I do?
In December 2019, I went to see my doctor as I was experiencing pain the back of neck and shoulders. My doctor advised me she will make a referral for physio. I noticed the monitor was not the right height for me and used a box to adjust the height, thinking this will resolve it as I know the company won’t provide me additional resources. I continued working in the office from January until March 2020 then we went into lockdown. I was put on furlough just before the end of April 2020.
The physio did not make contact with me until the end of may 2020 and has just emailed me some exercises at the beginning of June. I didn’t think I had to mention this to anyone as I was on furlough and did not think it was work related
Anyway in September 2020, I returned to work in the office for a weeks and then continued working from home, I am still working from home. The pain in my neck became worse and I decided to see a private chiropractor on May 2021. I told him I started experiencing the pain in December 2019 and I am currently working from home. I have also brought myself a raiser for my laptop to stop bending as this could be a contributing factor. He advised me that a work ergonomics assessment would need to be carried out. I had even shown him photos of how I work in the office and at home and he said the chair at work is too big and your employer should complete an assessment.
In June of this year 2021 I brought it to the attention of my manager in a meeting virtual that I have been seeing a chiropractor and he will write to her in an email to explain that I need an assessment as there could be a possibility I may need to stand at work
She said let’s wait until he replied. He sent the email on 3rd June. There was no mention of the email from her, I take it she hadn't bothered reading it.
I noticed after this she kept putting me on the spot in our virtual meeting with other members of staff by saying ‘you look like you need a pillow is your neck hurting and you have a bad back.
We had a meeting on health and safety and she had nominated me to be the health and safety officer and said I would be responsible for completing risk assessments for staff sitting at the desks. She asked me to do some research which I did. I explained to her in an email that you need to be trained to complete this type of assessment and even then it is only a basic ergonomics assessment you can complete. If a staff a member is in pain they need to be seen by a specialist. I even looked at the costs for training and costs of a specialist providing assessments.
I also mentioned if this was something she could offer to me following the email my chiropractor sent to her. I forwarded a copy of the email to her as it was also sent to me.
She then called me to say, as we are charity and we cannot afford this as we are in deficit. I explained to her that I cannot complete these assessments with sufficient training as it would be un fair on me to asses someone without training.
She agreed to this but I also asked her if she had read the email from the chiropractor. she said oh but you went to see your doctor in 2019 and you only worked in the office for a few months after that. I explained to her that I had only seen been contacted by the physio next year and no physical assessments was done until I went out my way to see a chiropractor. So she said you can try the other chairs in the office to see if they are suitable and. I asked about my monitor, if a raiser could be purchased as I am using a box to adjust the height. She said the monitors can be adjusted. So I explained to her that as I am not in the office it can wait. I did inform her through that I had taken pictures of me working in the office and it was clear after speaking to my chiropractor that it is not a suitable set up. She asked for a picture of my chair at home which I have yet to send to her.
However, what has really upset me if that she has now sought legal advice about this and has lied through her teeth! She has said that I told her in April 2021 that I was experiencing pain in my neck before she was officially appointed as the new manager and never told the previous manager.
Also, that I just recently out of the blue raised this with her again and now wants a letters sent to me about this seeking legal advice.
I was so shocked to hear this and am feeling so distraught. I don’t have a good relationship with her. She is very manipulative and has a tendency to lie, but the fact that she has lied to our legal representative and asked her to draft a letter based on her lies has made me distraught and I am worried I will get into trouble. I don’t know what to do.
You need to involve HR and put your side of the story to them along with your doctors/chiros etc written and verbal support. Once your manager knows she's been shot down, then she may come to the party to support you.
Regardless of you guys being a charity, your workplace has the responsibility to supply you and other employees with safe working conditions and your manager cannot just appoint anyone to assess health and safety and you're correct - people need to be trained to be able to assess correctly and accurately. There's a reason why your manager sought legal advice but all you have to do, is provide the details for the truth to come out.
Thank you so much for your reply. It means a lot.
I am the HR person within the charity.its a small charity but we do have a legal representative who she has reported this to.
I just don't want to really escalate this to our directors but I may need to.
But could I ask what you mean by there's a reason she sought legal advice. Is it because she worried I will try to make a claim.
What “claim” do you think she thinks you will file?
Is this job exacerbating an already existing condition? Or did this job cause your current condition?
Perhaps sitting at a computer all day is not the best place to be for you.
There are so many options out now- including stand up desks. Maybe you are a candidate for that.
This small charity may not be able to accommodate your needs. May be time to make a move into another work setting. Sounds like working for her is going to get more and more intolerable.
Thank you for your reply
Different people have different reasons for seeking legal advice but it's usually because of doubt and the need to cover themselves. Your manager could have seen the need because she could see your issue escalating, with or without any further input from you, and it's happened on her shift.
If she's unreliable when it comes to the truth and is a manipulator, then taking it to your directors may be the only course of action. You're HR, and you should have some clout as to where this ends up but you should be looking to negotiating and resolving it the easiest and the quickest way that you can.
You are right. Thank you again Manalone.