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How Can I Deal with Anonymous Complaints?

By Alex Newth
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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Receiving anonymous complaints, whether from customers or co-workers, is often part of running a company. These anonymous complaints can cover a range of issues, from product dissatisfaction or whistle blowing to some that aren't worth addressing. Others are made by disgruntled employees who are attempting to start rumors or get another worker unjustly terminated. While some complaints can be dismissed outright, most should be investigated to determine if they are legitimate or if someone has ulterior motives. These complaints can help a company out or damage its infrastructure, depending on how the manager takes handles them.

When a manager receives anonymous complaints, he or she should not jump onboard and immediately believe everything the complaint says without proof. Each complaint should be treated with some skepticism, and the possible motives of the unknown person making the complaint should be determined as much as possible. Identifying the source of the complaint can help with this, because some people may truly want to help the business, while others may be angry and want to get another worker in trouble. If the complaint seems real or the situation it presents is serious, then the manager should definitely investigate the complaint.

Investigating anonymous complaints is done both to find out if the complaint has any real fact or validity and to determine if the situation requires intervention. This can be done by asking the target of the complaint, or seeking out facts from company records or recordings. If the complaint is real or seems to be real, the manager should then talk confidentially with the target.

Even if anonymous complaints seem real, some facts may not be correct. The target should be given a chance to say what he or she thinks of the situation, or to give his or her side of what the complaint is addressing. This may show that someone else committed the wrongdoings or that others also are guilty. Terminating or punishing an employee without knowing the entire story can lead to lawsuits for unjust termination or punishment.

If steps need to be taken, then the manager should immediately file the investigation and all the uncovered facts. The manager also should write a memo detailing what happened to the employee, just in case it comes up in court. If the employee is angry over any steps taken and wants to file suit, then keeping the evidence on file can help stop any damages from being awarded or have the lawsuit thrown out of court.

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Discussion Comments

By anon258561 — On Apr 02, 2012

I've worked for a company for some time now and it's only in the last couple of months that I have noticed at our branch that the morale is very low.

I can understand that in this current climate that belts have to be tightened, but what I don't understand is that people are expected to do more work when they are already doing so, and work overtime for less money and sometimes for no money at all.

Some people have been threatened that if they don't like it they can resign and find something else. I ask you: do you think this is fair when you have had people working for this company for several years? I am writing to you because I know the people who it concerns are too frightened to speak out.

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