I received the following question from a reader:
I recently resigned from a role in a very male dominated environment. I had been on the fast track to promotion, but as my knowledge and confidence grew my boss/mentor seemed to use every opportunity to undermine and belittle me in front of my male counterparts. On numerous occasions he stated "Oh you're just a woman what do you know.” This even became the Friday sport.
Bullying is a common occurrence. I was sent interstate to work and thrown into a role I had no experience in. I worked directly with hostile customers and internal management. I tried discussing it with my boss on numerous occasions. After one incident, I called him to report the bullying. He responded by telling me to modify my behavior when dealing with this particular manager. Fed up I accepted a job in another industry.
Upon receiving my resignation, my manager accused me of not performing (which was a complete contradiction to the performance appraisal given to me two weeks prior.)
The following weeks have been difficult ones with my manager isolating and ignoring me. Now I wish he would have continued this behavior. With one week remaining, I submitted my expense claim and Amex reconciliation which turned out to have errors. He brought it to my attention and I offered to fix it immediately. He refused, involved HR and launched a massive investigation into my claims. I spent 3/4 of last year interstate with no support or guidance in what the travel reimbursement or reconciliation process was. So I did the best I could. With one day left working there, I will be presented with further 'evidence'. I admitted to making the mistake, I offered to rectify the issue and even repay monies owed however he insists on digging further.
I spent the afternoon in the doctor's office having an anxiety attack (never had one of these before) and await another interrogation tomorrow which is meant to be my last day. I have worked there 4.5 years and have achieved a great deal. To have my reputation tainted by a mistake made due to lack of education, support and guidance upsets me a great deal.
I have owned the mistakes and will continue to do so, I have offered solutions to avoid this sort of error happening again, but I'm afraid he's not going to stop. He even suggested not letting me leave after the four week notice period expires.
Can anyone offer any advice?
First, I want to congratulate you on finding a new job. Your current company sounds at the very least mismanaged. Lucky for you, you only have to work there one more day. Your manager under no circumstances can require you to work past your notice period. So you are done, finished, out-of-there.
As to your expense reports, I question that there is truly no policy or guidance on this. How do other similarly situated employees handle their reimbursements? It’s unfortunate that you “guessed” rather than researching further first. Did someone approve your reports, if so why didn’t they question your expenses at that time? What about accounting? The accounting group at my company audits every expense report and returns them to the manager if there is a question.
What happens next most likely depends on what you submitted incorrectly (was it obvious you submitted things you shouldn’t have – i.e., did you purchase clothing or personal items and expense them?) Or were your expenses all work-related (you spent $25 on dinner while traveling when your company didn’t want you to spend over $20, but you didn’t realize that?). If there’s truly no policy, I think they will have to pay you for work-related expenses. If you charged anything personal, it’s a problem and will likely be viewed as intentional. You will at the very least be required to reimburse the company for these items. Depending on the dollar amount they consider personal I think they could even press charges.
Does anyone else have any additional advice? Did I miss anything?