If I go to HR regarding an issue with management, can I be ‘written up’ and told that I am not allowed to go to HR?

My manager was accusing me of theft, I went to HR. After the 3rd instance HR advised they would get her boss involved and I would hear back. To date I have not. I sent an email to the assistant VP regarding some challenges our real estate agents were having. The promise of anonymity was given. Unfortunately, that did not hold true. Now I am to be ‘written up’ for the 2 offenses – 1 going to HR instead of upper management and 2 sending an email to the assistant of the VP. I have been advised by the regional manager I am not permitted to go to HR. Our handbook does not outline the chain of command you have to take but encourages you to go to your manager first I could not do this as the issue was with my manager. Also, the handbook states that I am to be given an ‘informal conversation’ which I was – first my manager scolded me then a few days later the regional manager called and scolded me in this phone call he advised I am not permitted to go to HR. Now I am to be written up. Please advise if that is permissible. Thank you,

Asked on March 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Does this action violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement? Does it constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then you can be prohibited from contacting your HR department. The fact is that most employment is "at will", which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.

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