For the past year I have worked contiuously, whether from home or the office, regardless of the Covid pandemic or any lockdowns.
In Julý 2020 I was promoted to Team Leader of my department due to our Manager going on maternity leave. In my first solo month we broke the company's revenue target. My team enjoys working under me and several managers were giving plenty of praise for my work. It started with samll things, where my previous manager (not the one of mat leave, the one before her) who now worked for a separate department on the same floor started feeding lies to my current manager, acusing me of gossiping and whispering with a coworker. I can categorically say I didn't do this, but there is a clique of managers amongst our floor, where they are all friends from school or outside of work (there is a lot of nepotism in this company). My current manager came down on me hard at first, but once she heard my side she calmed down.
Then they started attacking my team for petty things, like christmas decorations and secret santa, claiming my team was rude but without being able to provide examples, and stating that we were mocking the manager who was placed in charge of me in the absense of my mat leave. These were flagged to HR who came down on me strongly without even investigating. I replied with my side of the story and afterwards, with the advice of a manager asked for the examples of rudeness or cliquinesss that my team was being acused of. This time I was phisically brought up to HR and immediately attacked, acused of doubting the word od the two managers who had made the acusations. There were only two managers on our floor at the time and it became obvious who had made the acusations. The manager which had made the previous complaint of me whispering and her best friend from school (also a manager). Once I managed to explain my side the head of HR stated that she could see my side and off the record agreed that some of the accusations were petty.
A couple of weeks later we were placed under new management - one of the women who had accused us, and a Director, who was ok.
Enter lockdown nr3. My Director decided to furlough our entire team, with the exception of myself and one of my team members. I was promised flexibility and support. Was told not to suffer in silence and if we needed someone back from furlough we would, even if just a week here and there. I was then forced to not only fulfill all of my responsibilities but also fulfil the role of one of my team members, effectively doing two jobs at the same time. Second week of January and I asked the director for help, since things were spiralling out of control already. I gave a detailed reasoning why we needed someone back. I had no response for a week. Then my direct manager stated they were analysing to see if the sales volume was remaining the same that week. It increased. I chased again, and chased and chased, I asked for help 4 and 5 times. I could feel myself reaching a burnout point. Sales kept increasing, my workload was tripple the normal, due to work piling up and just not enough hours in the day to do it all. I started working late and through lunch breaks. All the while my requests for help had no response.
Then one day, a sales manager messed up with a customer (which he was already messing about for 2 weeks) and the customer decided to want to cancel. He then decided to place the blame on me, because the day before he had asked for me to call this customer urgently 5m before my end of day, and I just missed that email. He basically had promised the customer I would call outside of my working hours, and now was placing all of the blame on me repeatedly (on emails and phone calls). And I snapped. I used swear words (not swearing at the salesperson, but in conversation) I stated I didn't blame the customer for wanting to cancel and stated I would not do overtime for free (despite actually doing it all the time), and that my employer is not a charity. Bear in mind that I am not contracted to do overtime and I actually finished my day a few minutes after my actual closing time due to an end of day report I have to complete every day - the same reason I missed the email.
The next thing I know my director contacted me to tell me I can't say the things I said and get my side of the story. I broke down, explained everything and pointed out how I had been asking for help, and I was overworked and tired and codnt sleep, and the circumstances regarding this particular customer.
He seemed understanding and fed the information back to HR. Then a couple of days later I got an invitation to a disciplinary hearing in 5 days time. My director wasn't aware of this, and in the invitation there was my Director's response which didn't mention me being overworked and stressed, which was a bit frustrating.
That week I barely slept or ate, wrecked with anxiety and terrified of making mistakes, without being able to tell anyone. The eve of my hearing, another Sales Manager asked me to do something that isn't usually my responsibility, which involved send a customers details to the COO of the company due to an error a salesman had made. Never in my 3 years in the company I had seen an error like this allowed to go through, but the COO is entitled to review and authorise a customer to be processed with this error. Again, in the whole time in the company I had never seen it authorised by the COO. Eager to please in my current circumstances, I did. Then he asked me to chase the COO and give him a call. Bearing in mind there are many layers of management between us I chased him via email instead of calling, and I was also very busy, and performed incredibly well in my job that day. In the afternoon, I called the sales manager because I didn't have a response from the COO, and he asked me if I had called him, to which I replied I didn't and explained that I was afraid to call him, I never spoke with him before, and told him what I had done that day to show that i was actually productive.
The following morning I had an additional allegation, due to what happened with this Sales Manager claiming I had breached the company's procedures - even though it isn't procedure - and asking if I wanted to move the hearing till next week. I couldn't wait another 5 days in this anxiety so I agreed to confront all allegations in the same hearing. I also submitted plenty of evidence in advance of the hearing regarding the original allegations.
I had my hearing and explained everything as I did in this post, with even more detail. The person presiding the meeting was the Sales Dorector with someone from HR taking notes. With regards to the second allegation, their reasoning was that I could have cost the company 20k. Bearing in mind, that on that morning alone, I had made the company 100k.
I had the second hearing for my "sentence" and their veredict was that my offences warranted dismissal, but because I owned up to the fact I had made mistakes they didn't want to fire me. So they decided to demote me and issue a final written warning, which lasts 12 months. They also said that my demotion will remain under review but at this stage I've lost all faith. Although I am glad to still have a job in the middle of this pandemic I feel like this was harsh, since I have a spotless record, plenty of appraisal on my work, voted role model of 2019 and promoted within 2 years of working there. I supplied evidence of my requests for help, and all of the ground work on the customer, and evidence of the salesman misleading myself and the customer and I can't help to feel cheated.
Both these salesmen got away with a telling off and I was placed in an embarrassing and precarious situation.
I know I have the right to appeal but I also know that if I appeal I will most likely lose my job. I've lost all faith in the company, in the HR department, in my own managers.
I'm debating to find a job elsewhere but my concern is that the company will try to be vindictive and disclose my warning in my references - which I know they are entitled to do.
I've lost all moral, and I dread going to work. I feel that anyone will have the opportunity to get me fired in the next 12 months of my life and I cannot cope with this anxiety.
I was hoping for some advice on what would you guys do in my position.