My New Boss Believed a Lying Employee Over Me

I’m an experienced leader and just started a new job–that they heavily recruited me for. I come in with a solid reputation in my field and as a people manager. Three months onto the job, one of my direct reports came to me and said he’d like to move into a different position.

I talked with him about the pros and cons of this job, said I’d support him in whatever he decided, but I didn’t think this was a good career move. I’ve had these kinds of conversations a thousand times in my career. I thought it went well.

To my surprise, my employee went to the VP (my boss’s boss), said I had interrogated him, called him a loser, and that he refused to continue working for me. My boss came to me and instructed me to apologize, based on the instructions from the VP. She said she’s worked with this man for many years and trusts him.

What recourse does a manager have in this situation? We always hear about the employee, but nothing about if a manager is wronged.

I responded:

The recourse is tricky because you have only been there three months, so you don’t have a solid reputation yet.

However, you can go to your boss and express your concern that she did not listen to you.

She assumes the other person told the truth because she knows him and he has been there a long time. But it’s something you need to bring to her attention.

My reader responded:

Yes, that’s what I was thinking, and I did ask for a meeting with the VP, but it wasn’t granted. The VP also told an entire room of people how awful I had been, saying what the [squidlips] were you thinking?

At this point, I’d advise you to cut your losses and run. They wanted you, so assume someone else does too. Because even if you can get to the VP, the VP has already shown her toxic nature. She didn’t investigate. She insulted you in a group setting without talking to you. These are signs of things to come, and it won’t get better.

It can be tough to integrate as the new person, and I can see why the VP trusts the long-term employee–but this was an unacceptable way to handle it. Your direct boss should have insisted on hearing your side of the story as well. I suspect that, overall, this is not going to be a place you want to stay.

So, it’s time to start looking for a new job. Don’t worry about job-hopping. Assuming you don’t have a resume filled with three-month jobs, this is a blip. This was not a good fit. Get out.

When the culture is rotten from the top, you can’t fix it.

Image by Bill Kasman from Pixabay

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6 thoughts on “My New Boss Believed a Lying Employee Over Me

  1. I have BTDT. You could also submit a written rebuttal to the Supervisor’s statements and have that put into your Employee file. I have done this specifically when my side of the story was not asked for nor investigated, and I suffered a negative Job-impact from the Supervisor’s assumptions. Stand your ground while you are there, but as the advice said , do hunt down a better job because toxic bosses do not ever ‘get better.’
    The statement: “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses” is 100-percent truth.

  2. Holy wow.
    Yeah, I’d split. The culture is toxic, the bosses suck, and what is up with that employee? I’m wondering if he wanted to move into the OP’s position. They might not have recruited internally for it and now he’s sabotaging OP to position himself as a replacement.
    I hope the OP realizes that this is not about them, not at all. It’s not a failure on their part but on this horrible company.

  3. >When the culture is rotten from the top, you can’t fix it.

    Ooof, that hits home. I’m not in the same position as OP but I had to come to the realization this year that the bad behavior (ie ignoring instructions from C-suite) of a VP level person was never going to stop. She had been *rewarded* for that behavior by the C-suite.

  4. I agree with the advice given and hope that this person can leave that toxic situation asap even if they don’t have a new job lined up immediately before this company puts a blacklist reference out on the market cutting off that career path. I did have a question that was not covered concerning whether this company was researched by this individual prior to acceptance of the job offer. (It was stated that they recruited for this person (probably using a headhunter services). I, personally from experience, tend to view any headhunter approaching me, with skepticism because they are known not to present the full nature of the job but push an upsell move to make one feel needed by the company. From what I gather from this article, this company practices nepotism and tolerates this employee, who seems to have a close relationship with the VP but is definitely under qualified for the position or any position similar. Shortly after leaving this company, a review of the company dynamics needs to be posted online for those researching the company, since they obviously are not going to change their “stripes”.
    This is the type of employer/employee relationship which is causing staffing shortages.

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