YANM HR person/Hiring professional, but I am in terrible need of help.
A picture was submitted of me nodding off and now HR is investigating me for misconduct. I have had no previous incidents before, but believe this is only going to get worse. Should I stay and go through the investigation process or leave? And if I do quit/resign how should I go about doing it?
I was the asker of this question
. Consider this the sequel, or the final act.
I work in a computer related desk job for a mid-size manufacturer and had my picture taken at my desk when I was falling asleep and submitted to HR. I learned this in a meeting with an HR manager and they told me that because of this incident was submitted to them, I was going to be investigated. When asked if I was going to be let go, they refused to say but did not deny the possibility. I told them verbally that I was asleep briefly because of studying for classes (this was true & I had other more personal issues, but I did not want to share them). Also I told them that I had once been told not to sleep, but it was "a very long time ago" (2 years ago). They wanted me to produce a written statement of what I said, but I told them I was too anxious to do so right now. And I think they knew I was anxious and extremely worried since I had that expression and wasn't sure what to say most of the time during the meeting. So, I have only said the above things quoted and have not done anything else.
The investigation process seems to require a review by HR personnel, my boss, and higher up bosses in my department. Looking through the employee handbook, it looks like the basic process is going to involve them reviewing and interviewing me and then some sort of judgment that involves a tiered demerit and may include being fired. Anything that happens during this process is documented and placed in my "confidential personnel file" complete with the usual rigmarole of dates and signatures. Since nothing has been signed or written, I don't think this process has begun yet, but I'm not sure.
My own boss probably approves of this investigation (he may have turned in the photo too), so I won't have anyone to defend me. In addition, he's been under pressure from his bosses a lot and will probably not defend me in any capacity. This is the primary reason why I think I'm going to be let go. They have been implying about "cuts" among the team for the last 3 months, and have gradually ratcheted up pressure with stricter rules, more employee tracking, and more admonishments (to me and the group). I've tried my best to stay out of trouble, but that's clearly not worked.
A few final things. Keep in mind that I have never
been written up at all for my entire five years at my company. Also, I'm not in any significant financial stress right now, so collecting unemployment is not a number one priority. I work in California if that makes a difference.
My questions are(especially to anyone in the HR or hiring field):
- Why does the investigation process require a statement and has it begun?
- Would it be better on my resume to quit or to go through their process?
- If I quit before the investigation, will this incident in any way be reported to potential future employers? Will quitting look worse than the alternative to them?
- If I do go through the process and get a black mark and leave my job after the process (willingly or not), would this be an impediment to finding employment elsewhere?
- Are there any other implications to either quitting or going through the process that I should be aware of?
- What work emails and correspondence should I grab to defend myself?
- When I do submit my resignation, should I mention my own feelings as to why I quit or keep it as professional, cordial, and vague as possible?
Thank you for any answers that are provided.