How long is your maternity leave, OP? We get a year here, so I'm really thinking perhaps you are in a bit of late pregnancy mind overload. I wouldn't even worry about this until a few weeks before you go back to work. If you live somewhere where you get far less time though, then I suppose it would be something to worry about now. I'd take the advice of the others to smile and prevaricate- then you could possibly go back if/when she does eventually leave. As HR, I'm fairly certain she could throw road blocks in your way even as freelance if she felt threatened by you.
I get three months, well four months if you include my time off before the pregnancy. I think you're right about having roadblocks even as a contractor... I really had decided to keep my mouth shut.
You're having a baby! You get maternity leave! You'll be gone for several weeks, away from her crapola, and you'll be getting to know your beautiful baby. I know you're mad now, and you have every right to be, but you have a wonderful break coming up.
I really think that once you're away from the environment, you'll have some clarity as to what you want to do, and how you want to handle things. You haven't quit yet, and in all likelihood, even if you do quit, it won't be for several weeks or a few months. Don't stress about it now. Have your baby, get to know your baby, and then figure out what you want to do, and if you want to go back.
This, along with all of your other comments, include some really good advice. I decided to take to heart the message that an exit interview is not the place to address my issues with HR, and decided to just take the time away to reflect and decide how to handle whether or not to leave the org afterwards.
Unfortunately, my dr and HRLady had something else in mind for me! Here's what's happened in the last week. I'm still a bit in shock.
I have been experiencing some pretty severe pregnancy related ailments that have made working at the office difficult. I ended up taking a day off and seeing my doc, who told me to stop going to work completely. I went back to work the next day and told them I was asked to stop working, but I wanted to work til the end of the week and then maybe work from home for just a few hours to make sure that everything was handed off. Last week was really difficult to get through physically.
HRLady ended up trying something else on me to make last week even more difficult, though I ended up being able to put her in her place due to my dr's note. The day afterwards two things happened - she called in sick and our president was miraculously in the office with a completely free schedule.
I was exhausted, in pain, and somehow walked my way over to his office and told him everything. I framed it in terms of telling him I got into grad school, I had some decisions to make about my future at the org, but that it was really hard to make them without first having the baby. (I actually really did want to tell him about grad school, because I hate to mislead and I wanted to still be able to count on him as a reference in the future).
President congratulated me and told me in no uncertain terms not to make any decisions until at least two months after the baby was born. It was at this point that I told him that I wanted to clarify his position on work-life balance because HRLady had represented him differently. I told him only about my issues around maternity leave (all the other bs she's done to other people I left off the table thanks to all your advice!) and just told him that dealing with the leave had been really difficult.
He reassured me that he did not feel the way HRLady made him out to be, and was truly apologetic for her treatment of me. He asked me what I wanted him to do and I told him - just hearing from you that you still value me and want me here, and that you value work-life balance for working mothers, makes me feel like I can take my leave in peace and still feel good about coming back to the org. That said, I told him I don't wish this treatment on any other colleagues who may become pregnant in the future.
He asked if he could talk to her about it - I said sure - just please leave me out of discussions til after baby is born so I don't have added stress. He said then that he wouldn't talk to her, but he did want to talk to my boss and the VP if that was OK with me. He asked me to get everything down in writing so that he could go over the details with them.
This all happened last week. Then on Friday, at my last mtg with my boss, he told me that he talked to the president, that he had asked boss what he thought should be done, and my boss said, she needs to be let go. I've been witnessing and hearing other examples of toxicity as a result of her power trips and I don't see any other solution.
I made clear to my boss that I only went to President to deal with my maternity leave. So then my boss asked me for other examples of HRLady's bs. He's compiling a list. I can't believe it but now he's compiling a list! I think what has finally hit them that hadn't before, is that they could lose personnel over this. So now they're actually trying to do something about it.
I am still editing my list down so that I stick to actual documented issues vs. he said she said and gossip. Because I'm trying really hard to ensure that this doesn't backfire on me in some way.
I still agree with many of you that this shouldn't happen in an exit interview. But this is a different case now. I hope it all works out. Not wishing for her to be fired, but more just for the inequities and harassment and issues to stop. And it actually seems like it might be possible now. I'm in shock.