5 Valid Reasons For Reporting A Line Manager - What You Need to Know


Reporting your line manager or your boss can seem like a very daunting thing to do, and you might be worried about how doing so could impact you professionally. 

However, there are several valid reasons for reporting a line manager, and it’s important that you do so if it’s appropriate. 

Not reporting your line manager when they are behaving inappropriately, irresponsibly, or even illegally can lead to your workplace becoming an unsafe space for you and other workers.

Here are 5 situations in which it’s not only acceptable, but necessary to report your line manager, and how to go about it. 

Also read: A Complete Guide To Workplace Harassment

people in an office

Reasons to Report Your Line Manager 


  1. Harassment 

If your line manager is harassing other people in the workplace, you should absolutely report them. This is the case whether the harassment is physical, verbal, personal, sexual, discriminatory, or taking place online. 

You might feel that it’s not worth reporting harassment if it isn’t technically illegal (for example, making repeated, cruel jokes toward you) but it’s important to report it because this is still not acceptable behavior, whether it’s illegal or not. 

Also read: Full Time Vs Part Time Hours


  1. Bullying 

Bullying is actually a form of harassment. It’s technically called personal harassment. The reason we’re mentioning it as its own point is because, as we said earlier, a lot of people think they shouldn’t report harassment if it’s not illegal. 

Being a bully might not be against the law, but it makes for an emotionally unsafe work environment. If your line manager is being intimidating or unkind, you should report them because all employees deserve to be treated with respect at work. 

Also read: The Role of HR During Employer Termination


  1. Breaking Company Policy

Company policies exist for a reason: to keep your work environment safe and fair. If your line manager is breaking company policy, your company’s reputation could be at stake. 

Sometimes, there might be minor violations that don’t harm anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. In this case, you may not feel it’s necessary to report your line manager. However, more significant infractions should be reported to ensure that the behavior does not escalate to the point of creating an unfair work environment. 


  1. Not Adapting Based on Feedback

Before officially reporting your line manager, you may want to address your concerns with them directly. However, the unfortunate thing about this is that your line manager might not take it seriously. If they don’t dismiss you outright, they may simply ignore your complaint and continue as usual. 

If this happens, you need to make an official report because it is clear that your line manager does not plan to change their behavior. 

Also read: 5 Reasons You Need To Perfect A Job Description

empty office

  1. Illegal Actions 

Violating company policy might not be illegal, but you should still report it if the infractions are severe enough. However, if your boss is actually doing something illegal, you need to report it because this could lead to a lot of problems for your company. 

Some forms of harassment are illegal, so this definitely applies to that. If your line manager is sexually or physically harassing you or somebody else, or discriminating in the workplace, they are in breach of the law and you should report them to keep your work environment safe for everyone. 

Discriminating during the hiring process is also illegal, and things such as stealing funds from the business or evading taxes are reason to report your line manager. 

You might be afraid that reporting your boss’s illegal activities could get you into legal trouble as well, but there are laws in place to ensure that you are protected if you blow the whistle.


A Guide to Reporting Your Line Manager 

If you’re not sure how to go about reporting your line manager, here’s the step-by-step process you should follow to make sure your report is handled properly: 


  1. Document Your Proof 

It can be difficult to report your line manager and be taken seriously if you don’t have proof. In some cases, it might be impossible to obtain proof, but if you have any way of documenting what you know, you should. 

If you can’t get physical proof such as photographs or documents, you should at least take note of things your line manager is saying or doing, including the date and time so that you can refer to this when you make your report.


  1. Approach Your Line Manager 

Before you go above your line manager’s head, you may wish to speak to your line manager directly first. It’s possible that they do not realize how certain actions or comments have come across to you, or if they’re doing something in violation of the company policy, it could be an oversight. 

Voice your concerns to your line manager first if you feel it’s appropriate and safe to do so. Then, see if their behavior changes.


  1. Take Your Concerns to HR 

If you have spoken to your line manager and they have dismissed you or not changed their behavior, you need to go to HR. 

You should also go to HR first without talking to your line manager if you feel unsafe around your line manager or suspect that they will cover their tracks if you speak to them first. 

Arrange a meeting with HR and present them with your evidence and documentation. 

Also read: How Long Does HR Have To Investigate A Complaint?


  1. Talk to an Attorney

Sometimes, HR doesn’t take reports as seriously as they should. If this happens, you might need to take matters into your own hands and talk to an attorney

Do NOT talk to legal representatives within your company since they are hired by your boss. Instead, speak to an attorney outside of work and see what steps you can take. 

two people at a laptop

Final Thoughts 

Reporting your line manager can be scary, but it’s sometimes necessary in order to protect yourself, other workers, or your company’s reputation. 

You can report your line manager for harassment, bullying, illegal activities, company policy violations, and refusing to change behavior in light of employee complaints. 

You can either speak to your line manager directly first or go straight to HR. You should try to gather as much evidence as possible. If nothing changes, speak to an external attorney.

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