What to do about a manager who plays fast and loose with policies? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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What to do about a manager who plays fast and loose with policies?

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in Human Resources,People Management,The HR Specialist Forum

One of the managers at our small firm constantly chooses on a whim which company policies apply to her people. She lets the departments she manages have privileges no other department in the company has. For example, they get great latitude when filling out time sheets (which has led to what I consider Fair Labor Standards Act violations). As the HR rep, I hear complaints all the time about this inequitable policy flexibility. What should I do? I’m worried about morale, but also about legal liability. — Louise, Pennsylvania

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mohan M prasad October 5, 2009 at 1:28 am

The bad news is that such favoritism exists in every second organization and you will always find some black sheep here and there who systemically flout the policy to their own ends.

The good news in this case is that the deviations caused can be identified through the data /record and the complaints you have heard gives you a good entry point to investigate and take the matter to conclusion .

The sooner you do and bring to books the delinquent Manager; you are safer legally and can take control of the morale issue.

The situation calls for affirmative speedy action and remember to create the desired demonstration effect of the action taken to check recurrence and that it becomes a deterrent for other department managers.

Louise , convert this problem into an opportunity for HR assertion


Tish June 26, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I agree with Allx. The manager is in violation of the policies and subject to disciplinary action. Speak with her supervisor and her regarding this and if it continues then follow your disciplinary procedures. She is a role model, subject to the same policies and if she ever brought a supervisee to HR for violation of policy you woud be hard press to discipline that employee without risking at the very least a grievance if not a lawsuit. You cannot hold her to a different standard when it comes to following policy. Everyone must follow policy.


JWG June 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I would document the manager’s violations and attach the violation expense that the company could incur. Not to mention potential lawsuits that could be filed by other employees (unfair, inconsistent, and unlawful practices). I would also inform the manager that she and/or others could be held financially and professionally liable as well.

Aligning dollars to violations and the adverse impact it can have on the company’s reputation and employee morale typically get the attention of those needing to support HR. I wish you well.


Allx June 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

I would document the complaints and discuss them with the offending manager immediately. She is not above reprimand if she is participating in violations of policy. As a manager she is bound to uphold those policies uniformly in a manner as to protect the company from litigation. She is publicly flounting them and in doing so subjects herself to disciplinary measures – same as the ‘rank-and-file’. The longer a rogue manager is allowed to continue unchecked, the lower the moral will become in employees that obey the rules. Sounds like you have your hands full.


J. Green June 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Do you have someone above the manager that she reports to that you could tell about these blantant violations? As long as she is allowed to get away with this, it will only continue. Is she aware that you are aware that she is doing this? Sometimes when you single out the violations it can cause a stir. I would list them all and present them to her. You are right-it will eventually cause an issue with inconsistent policy enforcement.


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