Grievance gripes: hot stuff for lunch

What’s the strangest or most awkward gripe you have ever come across? We want to hear from you. Get it off your chest here

In a previous HR job I was in the unenviable position of being the first port of call for grievances and general moaning by the staff.

My typical fare was sexual harassment, which I found very difficult to get to grips with. The worst case was a complaint against the managing director by a female employee who had spent the night with him – presumably not discussing corporate health and safety issues – at a well-appointed hotel suite where he was staying, having told his wife the journey home was too long.

She told me that the MD, generally an aggressive pain in the derriere, had tempted her with enough alcohol to turn a nun into a temptress and persuaded her to accompany him back to his hotel room where he had taken advantage of her, very much against her will.

I pointed out that if this were true then she could inform the police. “No, no,” she said, “I wouldn’t want the police to become involved.” I told her that in that case it would be a matter of “corporate policy” as it applied to social events.

Of course the managing director had by then contacted the HR director who told me the MD had been seduced last night and didn’t want the matter aired. He added that as there was no policy on staff behaviour at company socials there was nothing that could be done internally.

He then asked me to draft one but that its provision “must not be retrospective”.

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