Help! My husband is in deep trouble at work for meeting with me on a recent business trip. Although he had the permission of his superiors to meet me, they are still going to hold an investigative hearing, which could result in his demotion, suspension, or even termination. He has offered to provide documentation proving that our meeting was not a flagrant attempt at violating company policy, but his superiors are not interested in seeing it. In spite of his long tenure, it isn't looking too good. What can we do?
My husband recently returned from a business trip to Macau, China. Prior to the trip, he asked the permission of several of his superiors (including his Division Chief) if it would be alright that I accompany him on the side, completely at our own expense, as we have friends in the area with whom I would visit. He was granted permission to do so, and we made our plans accordingly.
The company's only policy (in the employee handbook) is verbatim as follows:
11. Employees on in-state or out-of-state work assignments away from their normal workstation must:
(a) Not be accompanied or joined by a relative or friend at any point in time during the course of a work assignment, unless they receive prior approval of the Division Chief."
Unfortunately, my hubby did not receive the approval from his superiors in writing. All agreements made were done verbally.
Upon my arrival (at a separate time, on a separate flight that we ourselves paid for), I was informed that our friends had a sudden and unexpected family medical emergency. Consequently, they would be unable to accommodate me until the following week. Clearly, this placed us in a very awkward position. We sought out alternate hotel accommodations immediately. What few vacancies we found were prohibitively expensive or in unsafe areas, and our situation became increasingly dire. Ultimately, I was forced to stay with my hubby that weekend at the hotel his employer put him up in.
In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, my hubby immediately brought the matter to the attention of his superiors. He understands the policies in place (mentioned above) and dutifully cited them in his correspondence with his superiors.
It was at this time that my hubby was informed that he would have to make immediate alternate arrangements for me. The verbal agreement granting permission for me to be there had been completely disregarded.
Fortunately, a family friend, "Mrs. T." came through for us. She owns an apartment on Peng Chau island, not far from Hong Kong. My hubby contacted Ms. T in hopes that I would be able to stay at her apartment. By that evening, we received a positive response from Ms. T, the arrangements were made, and I departed the following day. The following week I went to visit our friends in Hong Kong. No one mentioned anything further about the matter from that point forward, and we considered it to be resolved and closed.
Upon returning to work yesterday, my hubby was brought into a private meeting with his superiors, in which he was interrogated regarding the matter. During the course of the meeting, he was met with considerable skepticism. My hubby then offered to supply the proper documentation in his defense, and he was told that they did not need it.
In nearly thirteen years of working for his current employer, my husband's loyalty to his work, to his superiors, and to the company has been exceptional. It is not a habit of his to break rules or to "rock the boat", so to speak. Given his excellent record, we find ourselves rather mystified at the harshness and lack of confidence that he is currently facing. He did not enter into this flagrantly or to violate rules.
The whole situation is compounded by the fact that my hubby is the sole wage earner in our household. With that in mind, it is imperative to me that the quality and integrity of his work in the Far East continued unabated. My presence was invisible.
Now my hubby has been informed that there will be an investigative hearing later this week. It is possible that he could face a demotion, suspension, or termination. The whole thing has snowballed out of control.
It is rather curious to us as to why my hubby was given permission for me to accompany him only to have that permission revoked when he was being completely forthright and honest in his actions. It is also curious that the supporting documentation he has willingly offered is being ignored. We have also offered to submit statements of support from our friends who took me in, but have also been told that it won't be necessary.
What happens in cases like this? Is it likely that he could be fired over this? What recourse does he have in this situation? Is there something I should do or should I just keep out of it? Bonus points if anyone in HR or internal affairs has any insight that would prove useful. This is really a big deal and suffice to say we are both pretty scared right now.