Q: I am trapped in my job because of a lying supervisor. A few weeks ago, I applied for a position in another department. Because a supervisory recommendation is required for transfer, the final step was a reference check with my boss, “Norma.”

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Q: I am trapped in my job because of a lying supervisor. A few weeks ago, I applied for a position in another department. Because a supervisory recommendation is required for transfer, the final step was a reference check with my boss, “Norma.” When they asked Norma if she could give me a good recommendation, she said no, so I lost out on the job.

Since I have had a spotless record for five years, I asked Norma why she refused to give me a reference. She replied “You’re such a great worker that I didn’t want to lose you.” Some of my colleagues said the same thing happened to them, so Norma apparently makes a practice of blocking employee transfers.

I’m afraid to complain about Norma because she’s been with this company for 30 years. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Your boss’s behavior is absolutely appalling. In addition to being dishonest and damaging your reputation, Norma is also making a really bad business decision. Under normal circumstances, managers should never block the transfer of a competent and qualified staff member.

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When employees are denied an available opportunity and forced to remain in a job they have outgrown, they naturally become frustrated and resentful. The ironic result is that by refusing to approve a transfer, management may actually motivate a valued employee to leave the company altogether.

Since you aren’t the only victim of this short-sighted strategy, your best hope may be to enlist other injured parties in bringing Norma’s misconduct to the attention of upper management. While one person’s tale of woe may not carry much weight, hearing the same story from several people will have a much greater impact.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.