Is my supervisor legally allowed to tell me I cannot contact HR?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my supervisor legally allowed to tell me I cannot contact HR?

I emailed HR a question that dealt with pay inquiries. I work for a security contracting company in IRAQ. Instead of HR answering my question or pointing me in the right direction, they emailed my supervisor. My supervisor brought me into his office and scolded me. I was told that I was not to contact HR directly and if I needed to ever contact them that I was to go through him and others first. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought Human Resources was here to help employees with any type of question. Is it legal for him to tell me I can’t contact my Human resources department without his approval?

Asked on February 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless this prohibition from directly contacting your HR department breaches company policy, a union agreement or employment contract, it is legal. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employmennt much as it sees fit. Accordingly, unless this action constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination, it is perfectly permissable under the law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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