The post was about a friend, who found some interesting pieces of evidence to use against her supervisor lying around the printers at her job.
My friend was complaining about conditions at her workplace and felt she was being subjected to a hostile work environment as punishment for speaking up. Her supervisor was going out of her way to antagonize her and had even told my friend that she would be evaluated on things such as her “soul” for her performance review (that is not a joke).
In the midst of all this scheming, the supervisor inadvertently left a document at the printer containing her plans for setting up my friend for termination. This included creating documentation to put in her personnel file, as well as the intent to hold a fraudulent meeting to discuss the fraudulent performance deficiencies. That would be followed by a meeting, a few days later, to terminate my friend.
In other words, the supervisor was going to put memos and other written evidence into my friend’s personnel file, was going to meet with her to discuss her so-called performance problems, and then was going to tell her that she showed no improvement or deteriorated in the areas of concern that were addressed. Even though she was making fraudulent claims, she wasn’t even going to pretend to give my friend a chance to improve. The termination was all planned out to happen over the course of about 1-2 weeks.
All this information was just lying around on the countertop by the printer.
This is not the first time that I’ve seen members of management careless enough to leave incriminating evidence just lying around the office in plain view of staff. That is why today’s suggestion is….
LEARN TO BE A SNOOP!!
If you’re having problems at work, you should be acting like a private investigator. You should be seeking any information you can use against a coworker, supervisor or anyone else who is discriminating against you, harassing you and/or retaliating against you.
If you’re at the printer, sneak a peek at everything coming off the printer. Even if someone is there, you can pick up the document, look at it, and hand it to them if it belongs to them. If it doesn’t, you can still look at it and place it on the countertop. You are simply waiting for your own file to come out and you have no choice but to look at the files being printed in order to claim what’s yours.
If documents have not been claimed and they are piled around the printer, take a look at every last document to see if there is anything about you or that is helpful to you.
Another story I can share, is having a coworker harassed by nasty memos and emails being intentionally left at various printers for staff to see. The memos and emails talked about this woman not knowing her job, not being liked by staff, not being liked by clients, and possibly being terminated due to incompetence. These documents included claims that she overcharged clients by working slowly and not knowing her job. And, included sarcastic comments that if you wanted to “chew through hours,” you should assign this woman to a project because she would waste time and couldn’t get anything done.
These documents were left everywhere on our floor. There is no way they weren’t intentionally left out. They were at various printers. More than one person was printing and leaving the files unclaimed. Everyone was talking about it. It got back to the woman. As a result of this behavior and other factors, she resigned about 2 months later.
In this case, documents were being left at a printer to cause someone a hostile and offensive work environment. This wasn’t an accident, where someone printed something and forgot to go get it! Despite all of the negative claims in the documents being left everywhere, no one was meeting with this woman to cite performance deficiencies. She was just having the "wagons circled around her." That was the running joke in the hallways. "Oh, they want her to leave." What this woman could have done was use the documents to show how the workplace was becoming unbearable and how she was being intentionally humiliated in front of her coworkers. She could have turned these documents into evidence.
So, my reminder for the day is that everyone should remember to be a snoop.
It is amazing what people will leave all over the office. If you see paper lying around, pick it up and take a look at what’s there. If it’s useful to you, make sure nobody is watching and just walk about with it. Put it in a file, quote from it, show it to your lawyer, forward it to EEOC or another investigatory agency, etc.
Put someone else’s carelessness or intentional malice to work for you! Snoop…eavesdrop…and do whatever it takes to build your case!