1. Money
Susan M. Heathfield

Help With Supervisor Who Shares Confidential Information?

By September 14, 2007

Follow me on:

Can you help this reader out? Her supervisor shares confidential information, sends her religious propaganda, promotes employees spying on each other, and makes false statements about her. She's afraid to go to HR. Please reply in "comments" below or in the Forum.

To fellow readers: "I've discovered this week, by fellow co-workers that my Supervisor gave them information concerning my performance review, and other 'confidential' information. These employees did not have a need to know. It was confidential information that she used to make fun of me to my co-workers. A direct violation of the company's Code of Ethics.

"She has sat in on interviews with some of my co-workers and comes back to discuss how awful they did on their interviews, laughing and making fun of them. She knows I'm not religious, yet sent me an e-mail at work describing how I can read the books of the bible more quickly and efficiently? Which, I found to be highly disrespectful and inappropriate for a professional atmosphere. She encourages, even outright asks her employees to spy on each other. Promoting a hostile environment with little to no trust.

"People in the department are so fed up with her, that they're applying for any posting that comes up, just to get out of her department.

"I could really go on and on in lengthy detail, but I'll spare you. I've never been one to complain. I even try to eat my cold french fries from McDonalds with a smile. But, I'm deeply hurt and disturbed by this supervisor. I no longer have any trust or respect for her. She's diminishing my image based on false statements. I've received glowing reviews from every supervisor I've ever worked for. When she hired me for the position, she flat told me, she 'didn't want me, but needed my experience.'

"She's a 30 year veteran with the company, and I'm terrified of going to HR about her. I screen printed the chats of the employees who told me about her violations of my 'confidentiality.' I've also screen printed chats of employees who tell me I do a 'GREAT' job, in contradiction to her claims. I've printed the religious e-mails she's sent me. I've slowly been trying to grasp at any proof I can. But, I'm worried that no matter how much proof I have of her unsuitable supervision, the company will not discharge her; and leave me with a disgruntled supervisor that already doesn't like me.

"Is it worth going to HR about? Please Help! I love the company I work for, and have worked very hard to protect my image as a team player, and one who doesn't complain. I'd hate to ruffle feathers, if it's not going to do any good. Thank you!!!!

Please reply in "comments" below or in the Forum.

More Resources for Dealing With Your Bad Boss

September 17, 2007 at 8:13 am
(1) Jack says:

You have to take this to HR. They need to take point on this matter and get it resolved. Even if your supervisor has 30 years with the company she still should be held to the same standards of conduct as any other employee. If her behavior is allowed to continue without consequences – either because her supervisor takes no action or HR is of no help – you are fighting a losing battle and it’s time to find another job.

September 18, 2007 at 6:28 pm
(2) Dan says:

Take it to HR. HR are there to make sure you are happy in your workplace and free from harassment. What she is doing violates the workplace bullying and harassment code of conduct and she will have to be counseled on it if you provide evidence and support to the fact that she is acting in that way. I’m sure your HR department, as would I, would be really upset if they felt you couldn’t bring it up with them.

Also, in the current tight labor market, it’s not like you wouldn’t have another job to go to. It’ll be a good outcome if it gets resolved or not. The worse thing you could do is nothing.

September 20, 2007 at 12:00 am
(3) Needn2know says:

Thank you for you comments of encouragement. They are needed greatly. I did go to the HR representative of my area, who in response to my “confidential” concerns, she advised me to report it through the ethics hotline, anonymously. I wasn’t very pleased with this response, it implied that I have a need to hide. Throughout this process, and many discussions with co-workers; I have discovered that my supervisor has been reported many times before. Many co-workers are telling me that HR and other supervisors are very well aware of the issues associated with this supervisor, yet nothing is ever done to her. One even went so far as to tell me that my supervisor bragged about this to him, stating that “she steps on toes,” and she’ll “fight” if people don’t like it. Apparently the field rep’s fought back, I’ve since heard that they unionized because of her. I have quite a few people at work, “friends” who are trying to talk me out of taking action against her. They are concerned for me. And, I wasn’t very pleased with the reaction of the HR rep. I gave her a smidgeon of the information I have against my supervisor to test her reaction, and the woman didn’t even flinch. And, I don’t think it was because she believes my concerns are invalid. I think it’s because she’s probably used to hearing the same concerns. Her only dispassionate suggestion was the ethics hotline. I’m not sure how all of this will pan out. I did have an interview that I believe went very well in a different department yesterday, and am praying that my supervisor’s dislike of me will not prevent me from getting this new position. If it does, I’ve covered myself by putting out some resume’s with other company’s. I work for one of the better companies in town, and have three years invested there. But, if I do not get this promotion, I’ll know she’s hindered it. (Yes, my interview went that well.) :0)
I work for an enormous corporation, I’m not sure if this supervisor I interviewed with is familiar with my supervisor’s poor reputation.

And, if she’s ruined my promotability within this company, all bet’s are off, the boxing gloves will be on; and, I’ll do EVERYTHING I can to ensure that she’s aware of the “HORRID” reputation her thirty years of “toe stepping” has built for her.

I will make sure she knows that only a coward steps on the toes of the small, a true leader has the courage to stand up to a “Goliath” like her.

My apologies for the rhapsody guys, just tired of being bullied, tired of being afraid, tired of being disrespected, and tired of walking on eggshells to please the unpleasable.

But, most of all I am tired of hiding. Thank you for your time trying to help me.


Needn2know (A.K.A. Laurie)

September 24, 2007 at 8:58 pm
(4) Human Resource Man says:

that i do not like

September 25, 2007 at 10:23 am
(5) claire says:

I think you owe it to the company you work for as well as yourself and co-workers to go to HR. HR will understand the predicament they would be putting you in to disclose your identity to her and will do whatever they can to conceal that; however, they cannot run the risk of being sued by you (or someone else who is being mistreated in this manner). This supervisor is way out of line. If you absolutely feel that you cannot go to HR, collect all of the evidence, print it out and anonymously send it to someone in HR you feel you can trust.

September 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm
(6) Anne says:

Don’t damage your own reputation by being vindictive. If you are calling your boss out because you feel it is morally right, that’s one thing, but in your last post you sounded like you were out to get revenge. Don’t go that route or you won’t get that promotion you want (or maybe a position elsewhere where you need a reference from your current job).

Sometimes to get ahead you have to get out. In other words, go work for someone else. You don’t owe your boss or the company anything. I know you said that this company is a good one to work for and that it’s just the boss you can’t stand, but if that boss has been there 30 years, then it sounds to me like you should also be taking issue with the company’s culture and how it rates integrity and ethics among its organizational priorities. I’m sure you can find another good company that has honest people you like to work with. Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.