I don’t like writing much about my workplace, mainly because there’s not much that I can say about it that could be considered interesting.
I’ve been with my company for a while now and whilst it would be hard to see it has having a positive reputation, I’ve enjoyed the positions I’ve held there.
However, there’s been a couple of things that have happened recently that have left a far more sour taste in my mouth than usual.
Today I’ll be focusing on what is (for me) the most major issue.
About three weeks ago I was told off by the compliance officer of my workplace for having my mobile phone on my desk as we’re meant to have no electronic devices in the work area.
I asked the compliance officer if he was going to advise the managers to put their phones away as well, to which I was advised that he wouldn’t as they are exempt.
I know for a fact managers aren’t exempt.
This went back and forth for a while until the compliance officer advised me he would, by the end of the week, provide me with the document advising that managers were exempt.
The end of the week came a few days later and I was not provided with the document.
About three weeks ago, the same thing happened.
Apparently the code of conduct had been updated and I would find information about managers having exemption in there, but I was only told to look on one of the company pages.
A coworker of mine who is in a higher position that, until recently sat in the same pod as me found the document the compliance officer was referring to. It wasn’t the code of conduct though. It was the information security policy and it had nothing about exemptions.
My coworker emailed the compliance officer after coming across this. They responded by telling him not to encourage me.
I emailed the compliance officer as well, pointing out that there were no exemptions listed. Shortly after this, he came to me and said that the HR person and the boss of one of the higher managers told him that there was an exemption. I asked him if it was written down. He told me it wasn’t. I responded by telling him that as it’s not in the written policy, then there isn’t an exemption. He told me it didn’t need to be. He also referred to an addendum we had for Australia that would list managers being exempt, but I was unable to locate it. He ended up telling me that I could confirm with the HR person.
I emailed her and the first thing she asked me was what the issue was. I explained that there was no issue, then pointed out my concern with the policy not advising manager exemption.
She came to the floor I work on about thirty minutes later and we went into the meeting room. She asked me again what the issue was. I started telling her that again, there was no issue. She interrupted me and said “why are you comparing yourself to the managers?”. It was at this point where the way she was talking to me became somewhat aggressive. I told her I wasn’t and again tried to say what I was saying previously, getting up to voicing my concern that there was no validity behind managers having exemption from the company’s global policy of no mobiles on the floor unless it was in writing . However, I was interrupted again.
She told me that there was no document and word was good enough.
She also asked me how people would contact the managers if they were sick or late. I told her that people would call the hard phones on their desk (as all the managers have one for purposes such as calling in sick or calling about being late, as well as for making non-recorded calls). She then asked me about what would happen if a manager wasn’t at their desk. I started to say that someone would leave a message. However, I was yet again interrupted and quite patronisingly told that managers understand the risks of what they do and the importance they hold which is why they are in their positions.
After all of this, I said that I was going to go back to my desk as I felt I was being attacked and started heading towards the door. The HR person then asked why I felt that way. I started explaining as to why, starting with the comparing comment and how she was continuously interrupting me. Once more I was interrupted. I put my foot down at this stage and asked if I could finish repeatedly until she stopped talking. I then told her how I didn’t appreciate being interrupted when all I had done was ask a simple question for a document to confirm something of which she had advised me there was none. She then told me that there was a document but she didn’t have enough time to look for it. However, I was welcome to try to look for it if I wanted.
I said at this stage that I felt quite uncomfortable and was heading back to my desk.
The following day I was speaking to the compliance officer about what happened and that I was considering going to Workplace Relations in regards to how I was treated and the selective application of a policy. He told me that I might have a case in regards to the former but they would laugh at me in regards to the latter.
I asked why. He told me that there was no breach because I had been advised. I asked for it in writing again. He told me it wasn’t in writing and it didn’t need to be. I told him that if it wasn’t in writing, then it wasn’t true and was against the policy.
I suggested that an application be put forward to head office to add an exemption for managers. The reason why I suggested this was that after the meeting with HR, my coworker told me that they could put forward an application to allow managers to be exempt to head office, but they won’t because it would most likely be knocked back, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring that up as an option. I was told that wouldn’t be done as “it would open up a whole can of worms”.
He told me that it’s universally accepted and other places where he has worked allowed it without issue. I tried talking again and suddenly I found myself being interrupted.
I put my foot down again and told him to let me finish. I told him that he was being aggressive when all I did was ask a question and I was getting tired of it. He then told me he wasn’t being aggressive; he was exasperated because I wasn’t accepting an answer. I told him that the answer was bullshit. He went silent at this point.
I told him that it was a rubbish way to treat someone who is asking a question. I said I was quite over it and that I would be going to Workplace Relations. The compliance officer accepted this and we parted ways.
My problem not what had happened. If the policies are to be enforced, then I can accept that. My problem is that it shouldn’t be selectively enforced. Either everyone should follow it or everyone should be exempt. If the policy said that managers were exempt, then I would be fine with that. However, it doesn’t and I’m quite dissatisfied with how my company has handled my query.
My apologies for how poorly written this is.