Career Advice

How to Complain About Your Boss Without Getting Sacked

It should be perfectly acceptable to complain about your boss without getting sacked, but unfortunately that's not always the case. Sometimes there are hidden forces at work, like an old boys' network, a management clique, or something else. If you have a valid complaint about your boss, here's how to handle your complaint without getting fired.

Document the Offense

Before you say anything, gather proof of whatever your complaint is. If it comes down to a “he said, she said” situation, you’ll be glad you have the evidence to back up your accusations. Proper documentation may include things like confidential reports to the HR department, copies of emails and notes, and eyewitness reports.

Try Making Light of It

If you go storming into your boss's office accusing them and then threatening them with more severe action, it's highly unlikely you’re going to get a positive response. Instead, first try making light of the situation when you call out the offending behavior. This will allow your boss to save face and at the same time get the message that all is not well.

The Next Time, Make it Official

If your boss didn't get the nice hint the first time, make it official the next time. Submit a written complaint to your boss. Make sure you communicate your unwillingness to take it up to a higher level, because you appreciate that people make mistakes. Your boss can use this opportunity to change their behavior without worry that their own job is in jeopardy.

If all Else Fails, Take it Upstairs

If your boss hasn't responded to gentle reminders or written complaints, take your complaint to the top. Your boss won't be privy to your complaint because you’ve circumnavigated their purview. Your boss’s boss will now be able to handle it without further action—or responsibility—on your part.

Job Find Local Oct 11, 2017