True. Unfortunately there is almost nobody to complain to, and if there is, they won't/can't do anything. From my experience HR is there to cover the companies butt from legal problems. They will tick off a list of boxes so if an issue lands before a judge the company can say they were fair and tried everything. When I refused to tolerate my managers crap the whole thing degraded into a high school popularity contest, with each of us trying to rally as many supporters as possible. Most of my colleagues would rather buckle under the pressure and become doormats than put up a fight. I don't blame them. It's simpler, quicker, and cleaner.
I hope workplaces become more cooperative in the future, rather than the rigid hierarchical structure older companies have now. The same old problems will always arise, but at least it puts everyone on the same level so people can't abuse power imbalances. Google X lets people self organize in such a way that good ideas/people gather the most support. People work on the projects they think their skills can be used best. I read a great article about a large tomato processing company that had a similar flexible approach. Each worker must negotiate a contract with each of their stakeholders. The services/resources/money they have to supply, and what they need in return. Management then becomes a service. Good managers are chosen by more people, and are therefore paid more. Bad managers need to find something else to do. Same for workers.
I work at a university. I spend 10-20% of my time covering my ass. The alternative is to work unpaid overtime to get my ass out of trouble. A couple of weeks ago my manager accused me of something rather uncharacteristic of me. I searched my emails, found very clear evidence to refute the issue, problem solved. Happens every few weeks. Other senior researchers like to request something simple and vague, but when I deliver they suddenly remember that they asked for something very specific and different. Record requirements, confirm with client via email, keep for later. Colleagues 'forgot' things they say in meetings all the time, which is convenient for them, because meetings are where the most overt blackmail, backstabbing, buck-passing, and general jerking around happens. Now I write those down too, and confirm via email afterwards. People are a bit more careful about what they say in meetings now.
How are we still in business? Student loans, government grants, and high barriers to entry for competitors.
Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!