Six to seven months ago: I had to sit down with my then boss and another associate to discuss a problem her and I were having at work. The problem was vague, but basically it was about associate A and me not seeing eye to eye on things, and old boss sensed that there may be some animosity between us. He told me I was insensitive and associate A was over sensitive. He told us the issues needed to stop and we needed to focus on the tasks at hand. Things in my mind seemed to be going fine from there. Associate A and I had personal conversations about her and her fiancés issue with custody over his kids. She asked me questions about the custody issues I went through to see what I did with my situation. She would show me pictures of her actor son and tell me about movies he was playing a roll in. She would tell me about things they were doing to their new house in NY. To me that seemed like a friendly working relationship.
One to two months ago, ********* hired my new boss to oversee my department. During his initial weeks at ******** it seemed as if new boss and associate A didn't see eye to eye on things and again she and I at that point started to revert back to when I had my initial meeting with old boss and associate A. One day associate A and I were in a meeting with our new boss and she got visibly upset because of the new seating arrangements we were going to have in our new department. Associate A and new boss argued about the seating which in turn made me very uncomfortable. During another meeting associate A, new boss, and I had with a rep from another company, associate A seemed very distant and standoffish during the meeting. At one point new boss asked associate A, a question about a program she implemented and he didn't understand how it worked. After the meeting she got back to us via email, with the answer to the question new boss had asked. The answer was short and in my mind seemed to be missing some information, so I had responded back to that email asking one simple question about the missing data. Since she sat next to me, I saw her get very upset, get up from her desk and heard her say to new boss "I need to talk to you right now". Associate A and new boss walked away from the department into a conference room.
The next thing I hear from old boss is that associate A has filed a "hostile" work environment claim against me (occurred on a Wednesday) and that I would probably have to sit down with Human Resources. I took the initiative and the direction from old boss and schedule a meeting with HR on the following Monday to meet with HR Rep to see what was going on with this claim. When I spoke to HR Rep, her first words to me were what's going on. My response was simple and said "I wish I knew". I told HR Rep that I heard associate A filed a claim against me; HR Rep did not confirm nor deny the statement. HR Rep said at this point there were no actual facts given to her about the accusation of a hostile work environment, and at this point the issue could not be discussed because HR Rep said associate A was out on Short term disability and was unsure when or if associate A would be coming back.
On Monday November 14th, new boss approached me at my desk around 1:30 and said "come on, we need to go downstairs". I asked new boss three times on the way downstairs where we were going and he refused to answer me, the next thing I knew we were walking into HR Rep office. When I sat down HR Rep said she has some concerns about what I have been saying to people in regards to associate A, and that she has been hearing that I have been telling people that associate A may or may not be coming back to company, she filed a hostile work environment claim against me, and other accusations that she claims I made such as "associate A is f'ing messed up", "I have friends in HR" and the issue was "squashed".
I told HR Rep that I only told a few people, and it was only about the fact that associate A was out on Short Term Disability, which I didn't see as a concern considering this was the information I received from my boss, and since I was the Manager of the ITC Department, I felt I had to inform my staff that associate A would be out on Short Term and wanted to make sure things in the department would be covered. HR Rep asked me if there was anything else I wanted to say about the issue. I told her no, and I wasn't sure where these accusations where coming from. HR Rep said that this issue would be investigated and that she would have more questions for me, and that I was not suppose to talk to anyone about this issue anymore.
On Wednesday November 16th, I was again asked to come down to HR Rep's office around 12:30. When I arrived she asked me, if I had ever borrowed money from associate B (ITC Analyst, reported to me), I said yes. She asked me how much? I told HR Rep that about 2 to 3 years ago, associate B who my wife and I were friends with outside of work, knew we were looking to buy a camper, and that the last time I had found one the seller wouldn't accept a down payment to hold it until we were able to pay him a week down the road. I told HR Rep that I was showing associate B a camper I had found on Craigslist the one day (either a Tuesday or Wednesday) during my lunch hour, and that I had said to associate B how I missed the last opportunity because I didn't have all the cash, and I really didn't want to miss out on this one.
Associate B then said do you want me to loan you the money, I was hesitant but associate B had said she could drive up the street to her bank and pull the money out of her safe deposit box. I agreed, and then associate B asked me how much I would need, I told her $3700, she said fine. I proceeded to tell associate B that there was someone coming to pick up a car my wife and I were selling on Saturday (same week) and that she would have the money back the following Monday (not even a week later). Monday comes and I gave associate B back the $3700 she had lent me. Then HR Rep asked if, I had ever borrowed any other money from associate B, I said yes but couldn't remember how much, but said it was under $500. I did tell HR Rep that all of that was also paid back.
HR Rep next question was, have I ever sent associate B a text message asking associate B if I could sleep on her couch. I said yes, but I never ended up going over there and don't even know what her house looks like. I told HR Rep I had sent associate B that text, because my wife and I had been fighting. HR Rep than proceeded to say that this didn't look good, because I was associate B's boss and she was my direct report. She asked me if I understood why it didn't look good and I had said yes because it could be looked at as favoritism towards associate B in the eyes of other associates or HR.
As stated above these issues mentioned were not spelled out in the Code of Ethics handbook, and where personal matters between two friends. I did not take money from the company or put the company at risk.
On Thursday November 17th, I came back into work and again around 1pm new boss came to my desk and said that we needed to go back down to see HR Rep, and he had joked and said this time I am going to tell you we are going down to see HR Rep. When we arrived at her office, she said well unfortunately we are going to have to suspend you until we can figure out what is going on and that she would have more questions for me and would call me the next day. HR Rep then asked if there was anything else I wanted to discuss or say, I proceed to say no, and that I just needed to transfer some work over to someone in my department so that nothing was missed during my suspension. I went back to my desk showed new boss what needed to be transfer and I left. When I was shutting down my computer, new boss asked me if I needed help taking anything out to my car, and had stated that "I have a box if you need it to take stuff to your car", even though I was told by HR Rep that I was suspended. It was almost if new boss knew I was going to get fired.
On November 18th HR Rep called my house today at 2:45 to ask me three questions, which did not pertain to the initial reason I was called down to HR and in my opinion, had no bearing on what was going on.
The first question was about an email I sent old boss on October 24th asking him if he knew about the status with HR and the "Hostile work environment" claim he told me about that associate A had filed against me. His response back to me was just sit tight and don't sweat it, and that they (old & new boss) would be meeting with associate B tomorrow. HR Rep asked me what old boss meant about "meeting with associate B". I told HR Rep that it was about her moving out of the ITC Dept into another department.
The second email HR Rep asked me about was in regards to an email old boss asked me to forward to him about an $8 million bonus. I told HR Rep that the quarterly earnings for the company had just come out and someone had changed CEO bonus to the number, just as a joke. I had told old boss this at break and he thought something was strange about it so he asked me to forward it to him.
The third question was about the phone call I made to associate B on November 15th. I did call associate B, earlier in the night, but she didn't answer so I sent her a text and she responded back saying, just got done eating dinner and will call you as soon as I am done cleaning up the dishes. She did call me at 8:01 and we spoke for 34 minutes about the issue. Associate B flat out told me that since I had reprimanded her in front of another associate, she felt she had nothing to lose since she was moving into another department, and that is why she told new boss, about the issues I initially stated above. HR Rep also asked me how I knew it was associate B who reported the issue to new boss, who in turn took it to HR. I told HR Rep that I had only spoke to a few people about the issue and since new boss was new to the company he didn't know any of the other associates I told, except for associate B.