Today, I’ve received through electronic mail a poison letter filled with malicious content against a department manager. As an HR personnel what actions should be taken?
From Philippines, Quezon City
poison letter ,,,,,,,,, mmmmmmmmm do a highly secret super duper confidential enquiry on that letter and its contents, it must just be hoax or truth also and might be the person sending email doesnt want to identify themselves because of security reasons. Just imagine when police gets call from anonymous person saying there is bomb at this place, do they just ignore it because the caller is unknown? No ,,,
so just check the validity of the letter and its truthness if found true u can take action against dept manager if not then file cyber crime case against the person sending spam mails,

From India, Madras

Please find my suggestions as noted below:
  • Separate the statement with feeling, to that with the data in the document. If a sentence says your Department Manager is lousy. Look for any instance provided, to substantiate it.
  • Investigate on the validity of the data, objectively.
  • Maintain a third party neutral stand point to the entire incident.
  • Seek for the source, once your investigation is over. Allow the person initiating this communication to contact you in person, without any fear of retaliation.
  • In case, you find the data to be valid, please be prepared for every show down that’s imminent.
  • If the data is invalid, you have a choice to ignore the entire incident and return to normalcy. However, please do set a ground rule, so that this kind of invalid attack gets nipped in the bud.
  • It’s important to set an environment for voicing concerns without any fear. At the same time, it should not be used as a weapon to distract or malign
  • Maintain confidentiality of the entire incident .

Wish you all the best !

(Cite Contribution)

From India, Mumbai

I second Ms.(Cite Contribution) in this matter. As said by Ms. (Cite Contribution), do all the investigation to find out the truth of the contents given in the letter. One side rectify the wrongful act of the department manager, if proved and on other side try to find the fact and reason for sending such a letter and in which way the sender got infringed by the Department Manager, if possible, give remedy to the originator of mail either directly in individual or indirectly in whole, but never try to retaliate the sender.
You can place the complaint / Suggestion Box in some places and it should be checked weekly once and the complaint and suggestions should be addressed properly, so that the work culture will improve.

From India, Kumbakonam
From your query it is not clear whether it is an anomymous mail or not. Irrespective, Deadsoul has given an apt example why it should be investigated. If the manager is is higher in rank to you, then you need to get your boss involved. Let me give some examples of how 2 situations (where complaints were anonymouus) were dealt with.

In the first case, an academic was accused of improper conduct under the influence of alcohol when on a away course with a mature female student. The matter was investigated by the departmental boss and the academic was given a warning. In the second case, a student had pasted posters accusing two tutors of racism at a few points over the campus. The dean of the faculty, who saw that, got it all removed, called the concerned tutors and asked a few questions and wanted to know how they would deal with it. The tutors did not want anything done as they did not know who the accuser was. And there the matter ended.

If such complaints are not investigated and just brushed under the carpet, the organisation will have more problems. Hence, kindly follow the sound advice of (Cite Contribution).

Have a nice day.

A retired academic in the UK

From United Kingdom
Dear Mr. noahjethro
Senior/Experienced members has posted their best suggestions, in a well structured manner.

I would suggest you to execute very confidential cross verification(360 degree) against the department manager without leaking information. Deadsoul had clearly indicated not to ignore the email.

In my previous organisation, someone wrote against me. My boss called for clarifications against those allegations. I had submitted my reply with proof. That means, there were many who were not interested to follow SYSTEMATIC PROCEDURES and they wanted me to ignore them.

These are the facts which you need to verify
A) Either department manager would have done something wrong for which you received an alert or
B) Anonymous(employee of your organisation) would have gone wrong and he is trying to play foul game against your department manager....

until the game is over, try not to reveal much about your investigation, as you may fail to identify the culprit.

Good luck........

With profound regards

for which the he would be a GENUINE GUY

From India, Chennai
Hello noahjethro,
(Cite Contribution), deadsoul2011, S. Bhaskar & Simhan have all given the most appropriate PoA for you to handle this situation--I don't think there's anything else to suggest, except one aspect.
Until you have done a preliminary enquiry about the whole aspect/complaint that absolves/indicts the Dept Manager, maybe it would be better to keep the news of this to the bare minimum exposure within the organisation. Else, if what the mail says is indeed true, then there is a strong chance that this info can be used for a cover-up. And more potent the info in the mail [you haven't mentioned the contents], more the chances of this happening.
And like Simhan & others have mentioned, PL DON'T IGNORE THIS SITUATION.

From India, Hyderabad
Very apt and valid suggestions by all.
You can also view this incident as a generic symptom that there may not be sufficient methods / channels for the staff to vent their grievances from the bottom to the top.
You can take a cue from this incident and try to incorporate free and fair direct communication channels and opportunities where junior members can convey issues to senior members.

From India, Delhi
I completely agree with Mr. Shaik Abdul Khadir coz even i faced the same incident and apply the same formula and got 100% results finally we caught the culprit who was hiding himself from 3years.
so dont ignore any mail unless & until u completely sure that it is invaild.
while investigated no one should know ur formula except you and any one if you appoint for that special work.
All the best!!!!!!!!!!!

From India, Kochi
Sensible advise has been given by all the members. I just wanted to let you know of an incident in my organisation. One employee wrote against his senior. Management chose to ignore it, despite knowing that the accusations may have merit. (The senior had good contacts in the higher management).The frustated employee then started writing to the media, to all the employees etc and the situtation got out of hand.
So act without delay, with detachment, investigate, take the required action and try and instill an environment where employees are not scared. Set up special grievance redressal committees, where the members are chosen based on merit and values. It would boost up the confidence of employees.
You must also take a firm stand in case you come to know that the mail was a hoax.
All the best!

From India, Visakhapatnam

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