Ah-hhhh, HR. The corporate parasite's Corporate Parasite.
>"I listed all of the employees in my group who had been laid off, all of whom were over the age of fifty. I reviewed this form with IBM HR, and I was directed to delete all but one name before I submitted the form to the Department of Labor."
Seen that sort of thing before by HR.
I'd scoured the UK market for months to find a genuinely hardcore developer. FINALLY found someone I could wrap the new devel team round. Got the offer letter out. Or so I thought. Coupla days later, got chased down in the corridor by HR:
"Thank god I've finally found you! It's all right! We've PULLED that job offer letter for you!!"
"We got his Reference. It's AWFUL!"
He was working up near Liverpool in some fleabite place doing fleabite work. Total waste of his ability. The letter read like it was written by Charles Pooter: "P [is a lovely chap and we all like him and he does an excellent job and we have no complaints about his work], but he needs to understand the importance of dressing correctly." The unbracketed bit there stands out in my memory, word for word. Unbelievable. Monty Python territory. Yet there it was, right there in black & white, and signed.
I couldn't believe it, laughed and said, "Get the offer letter out."
He turned out to be precisely the star I thought he was (possibly the most stunning moment was him quietly mentioning as we walked back from the fortnightly work-organising meeting that that nightmare business-blocking port to the current version of Solaris, well he'd just quietly sorted that out in the background of all the other stuff and it's all working now -- 1.5m lines of preC++ C++ (old hands will know what that means) he'd never seen before -- done, as a personal side project because it irritated him and was important for the team).
But I *would* get told every month or so that I needed to sack him. Once he realised and trusted that I knew how devel works, he'd routinely turn up between 10 & 11, scruffily dressed with rings in his eyebrows etc, shamble off home between 4 & 6. I didn't give a fuck. The corporate parasite types (some of them developers -- it's NOT a Senior thing) were horrified. But as I would point out each time: "He gets at least twice as much done as my second-best coder, with crystal-perfect code. And my _worst_ coder is about 3 times better than your _best_. So: no. He stays. I'm interested in results, not how long it takes him."
A year or so later, I mentioned this HR/Reference episode while we were all down the pub for the routine Friday night fest.
~A month later down the pub again, he took me to task. He'd been a bit startled, realised he had legal rights to his personal info, gone to HR to view his file. They'd shown him his Reference Letter.
It was completely different. Didn't just say nothing, it now followed the corporate standard say-nothing script: "P worked here." etc.
It was only much later that I really twigged the full toxic import.
HR, on getting knocked back on their attempt to block him, had gone back to his Referee and demanded a more neutral letter.
Then replaced the original on file.
To cover their arse.
Never mind the degree of toxic parasitism, consider carefully that they were fully aware of possible repercussions from their parasitism then engaged proactively and energetically (compared to normal: getting them get the offer letter out was a bear) with external third parties in order to then edit/delete employees' files in order to make sure they were OK. On something utterly trivial.
HR are ultra-toxic corporate parasites on top of corporate parasites.