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How to File a Complaint with HR Against Your Boss

If your boss is behaving in a way you consider inappropriate, it might be time to get in touch with your HR department to file a complaint.

But how do you approach this sticky situation, or determine whether to go to HR in the first place?

Read on to learn more about making an HR complaint about your boss.

Decide Whether to Pursue a Complaint

Before filing an HR complaint, determine whether or not your boss’ actions are “official” material. For example, if your supervisor is simply annoying or rude, or if they are micromanaging you, you might not have the grounds to take official action.

Reasons to contact HR about your boss include any kind of sexual harassment or unwanted romantic advances, as well as discrimination based on your identity (such as race, disability, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation).

Other reasons might include flagrant flouting of company policies, as well as yelling, insults, or blatant preferential treatment.

Of course, if your boss’ behavior is legitimately dangerous or frightening you, you might consider contacting law enforcement instead of going through HR.

Try to Make Amends Personally

If your boss’ behavior is not severe enough in your opinion to warrant immediate HR action, you might try to approach him or her themselves. (And of course, don’t approach them if you feel they might be dangerous or harm you in any way if you reach out.)

Reach out with an email and see if there’s a time that you could discuss your concerns in a respectful way. If your boss responds positively and promises to change their behavior or address the problem, you might not need to make an official complaint.

Gather Proof

If you’ve decided it’s time to take action, gather as much tangible proof about your boss as possible.

This could include any written communication, such as letters or emails, from your boss, as well as any correspondence with other coworkers that validates your side of things (such as a discussion about a biased comment made by your boss in front of you and other colleagues).

Keep a paper trail of your correspondence and include it in your HR complaint.

Follow HR Procedures

Make sure that you read up in detail on HR procedures at your company, whether you’re meant to send an initial letter of complaint or meet with an HR representative first in person.

Follow the procedures as closely as possible so that your complaint is taken seriously and processed as quickly and effectively as the department can.

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