Monday, December 29, 2008

Ask for Specifics

One tactic employers use against complaining employees is to use blanket statements and to make really vague accusations against the person. So, they make issues sound really egregious and problematic, but they haven't given a whole lot of detail as to what really happened or what the person is being accused of.

The reason is clear--if they provide specifics, they will actually need to bring in people to cover the entirety of the lie. The bigger the lie about the employee, the more staff and departments may need to get involved to cover the story. For instance, if you've been accused of causing a deadline to be missed on a specific project, everyone (or key people) on that project would have to be told to blame you for the missed deadline. And, they all would need to give consistent reasons as to why you were the blame. This would make your employer's complaint about you legitimate. A lie with backup. But, getting that kind of cooperation and getting everyone to remember the details of the lie is problematic. Not everyone is a good liar and some people will try to embellish and oversell the lie.

That's how lies start to unravel under questioning and analysis. So, being vague is the best defense for an employer.

It's your job to ask for specifics and clarification. You should do this in writing. Any response that you can get committed in writing, any little additional detail will provide you with opportunities to show lies and contradictions to events and/or previous statements.

If you are accused of certain behaviors, ask for examples of those behaviors, ask about projects you were working on when you exhibited the behaviors, ask for details!

Even if your supervisor or employer doesn't respond, it goes a long way to showing that there really is no there "there" and that the whole thing is pretext to cover up the real motive, which you may be arguing is racially based.

Don't forget that if you don't know what went wrong, you can't fix it. That's an easy argument to use, when asking for specifics and clarification. How can you improve your performance, if you don't know what the problems are?

Ask and then document everything!


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