A reader writes:
I have a passive-aggressive supervisor. Today she was friendlier than normal, which happens when she’s getting one over on you; you know it’s coming. Well, I figured out what it was late that morning. I think she tampered with my drink at work. I left an opened bottle of water in the refrigerator in my office, which is mine. It was a fresh bottle, and I took a big swallow of it. I think she put water in it from the toilet. I spit it out, washed my mouth out, brushed, etc. I poured the drink out and threw it in the trash.
I’m a new hire so I am under probational status, which denies me access to the grievance procedure. Two things have taken place within the last two weeks where I would have been able to file a grievance if it was past my anniversary. I went to her boss, my divisional head, about both incidents.
What do I do in this situation? HR is aware of the problems, but it’s up to the divisional head to address them. There has been a lot of turnover within our department these last few months and I am actively job searching. I realized now that I should have had the bottle tested with the water still in it. What do you recommend? Have any of your readers been in this situation?
I suspect they have not. Because this is far, far into the realm of crazy.
In fact, this is so far into the realm of crazy that not only are you unlikely to be able to prove it, but even making the allegation is going to raise questions about whether you’re the unstable one. That’s doubly true as a new hire. If a new hire came to me with this allegation, I’d be pretty concerned about the hire, not the manager (unless the manager had a track record of extreme craziness, but being able to believe this about a manager absent some sort of compelling evidence is pretty incompatible with having continued to employ them).
Honestly, if things are at the point where this is happening or you believe it’s happening, I’d just get out. Either way, this is a situation that sounds beyond repair and that’s far beyond the realm of “I’d just file a grievance if I weren’t on probationary status.”