Workplace bullying: It happens, it sucks, and here’s what you can do

Guest post by Christina
Stop bullying image from Etsy seller SVG Originals
Stop bullying image from Etsy seller SVG Originals

Did you know that at any given time, 10% of adult workers are being bullied on the job? Or that around 30% of us will be targets of bullying at some point during our careers?

I was the target of workplace bullying. I had been a great employee; I was even awarded Employee of the Month! After awhile, I became the person who knew the job inside and out, and could do it in my sleep. I was a little bored, but competent and content. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, targets are usually independent, ethical, nurturing, “‘go-to’ veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance.” That was me in a nutshell.

In 2003, Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik defined a cycle of Employee Emotional Abuse (aka bullying). Here’s how that exact cycle played out in real life…

The 6 stages of workplace bullying

STAGE ONE: Initial incident
This could be anything, including being hired into a new position. The bully may be jealous, feel threatened, feel you wronged them in some way, or be experiencing turmoil in their personal life.

I believe the incident that triggered my bully was when my coworker had a last-minute opportunity to take an international trip the same week I that had taken off for a trip. He asked to switch our time off, and, after I said no, he started treating me differently.

STAGE TWO: Progressive discipline
This is the stage when abuse becomes normalized because the abuser is in a position of power, and technically behaving legally.

In my case, my coworker was eventually promoted to shift lead, and treated me like I was incompetent — overreacting to small mistakes (even those which I quickly and easily fixed without incident). Nothing I did could please him.

STAGE THREE: Turning point
This is where it gets personal. Abuse is repetitive, and events are reframed by the abuser so targets are made to seem like the problem.

When I confronted my coworker about the issues I was having, he made me feel like the bad guy with responses like, “No one else has a problem with me, so it seems like you’re the one with a problem.” I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I sometimes felt like I was losing my mind.

STAGE FOUR: Organizational ambivalence
The target informs management or Human Recourses, who either steps in and confronts the bully, mediates the situation successfully, or does not help at all.

In my case, it was the latter. I mentioned to the manager that I was having trouble working with a coworker, and they told me that I needed to learn how to work with people. Because most of his infractions were minor, I was accused of overreacting. I started to wonder why should I care about the company when the company doesn’t care about me?

STAGE FIVE: Isolation
Feeling alone, like there is no one to turn to. Your family and friends, at this point, may even get sick of it and tell you to stop complaining.

I dreaded going to work on days when I knew that one coworker was there. Some nights, I was so stressed I had trouble sleeping. I hated my job and wanted to quit, but had nothing else lined up. I didn’t want to say anything to coworkers, because I didn’t want them feel like they had to pick sides. At least I had emotional support of friends and family.

STAGE SIX: Expulsion
The target leaves by transferring, quitting, or being fired.

I was eventually terminated. After the initial shock and sadness wore off, I was absolutely relieved. I don’t believe I was let go on rightful terms, but part of me didn’t care. I don’t know whatever happened to him, as I lost touch with all my former coworkers, so the cycle may have restarted after I left.

So… what do you do if you are being bullied?

Speak up:

Speak to someone above the abuser or someone in HR. Put it on record. A friend in HR told me that her company conducts anti-bullying training during orientation, and that many people do not realize when they turn into “Mean Girls.” Employees have complained and she has intervened several times with success.

Get educated:

Have you experienced workplace bullying? Did it seem to follow those stages? Did anything solve the issue?

Comments on Workplace bullying: It happens, it sucks, and here’s what you can do

  1. This happened to me. I worked on the trading floor of an investment bank as an executive assistant. I loved my job, my boss, the atmosphere. I was working with some “veteran” admins who were bullies, gossips, and shockingly vindictive and cruel. When I didnt join them in their daily bashing of what so-and-s0 was wearing or discussing peoples divorces, etc, I was shunned from the group. Thats when it began. The nitpicking. The pointing out of things they didn’t think I did well. The rumors. The gossip. The whispering. About me. I would be excluded from social functions and sneered at when I walked into a room they were in. Unbeknownst to me, my reputation was tarnished from the start just by association with them. I just continued to work hard, independently and proved myself to be a good employee. I helped anyone who asked, never told them “I’m too busy” or “I only help this level and up”..seriously it takes 5 seconds to book a conference room and their ego wouldnt allow them to do it?? They were so unpleasant.
    Executives started to notice me and appreciate me, I became the most requested assistant for visiting executives, including the chairman of the bank. That drove them BANANAS. They upped their game. Started asking me VERY personal questions, loudly, in front of others, and asking repeatedly. Demanding answers. “So, when you YOU going to have a baby?” “So, you were talking to so-and-so pretty late the other night! What were you talking about for so long? Seemed kind of friendly to me!”
    When my boss recommended me for a position (he was relocating) they went behind my back and badmouthed me to hiring manager (saying I was unprofessional and that I was going to have a baby and go out on leave), who in turn, hired one of them instead. I dreaded going there every day. I dreaded having to ask them to cooperate on things, dreaded seeing them walk toward me and then slow down and they tried to look and see what I was doing/wearing/who I was talking to so they could discuss it. Eventually I got another job and left and didn’t tell any of them. One of them still works there and is miserable, one of them ended up leaving the company because after a restructuring no one wanted to hire her.
    One thing that I learned is in many corporations, HR exists to protect the company, not employees. People who have been with a place for a long time often have a leg up on new hires. Sometimes it makes you look worse going to HR to complain because they wonder if you’re the one with the problem because “no one else has complained”..in these situations its best to just leave. I know this is not always on option for people, but the stress, the agony..it just takes too much out of you.

    • “One thing that I learned is in many corporations, HR exists to protect the company, not employees.”

      YES. This was the most disheartening lesson for me to learn and you can only learn it the hard way.

      • “One thing that I learned is in many corporations, HR exists to protect the company, not employees.”

        I cannot emphasize how much this is true – I never expect HR to do anything than undermine me. If I need a defence I use the Union – but even then I have very limited expectations

      • Totally agree. Going to HR just gives them a heads up to build an arsenal against the “conplainer”. Things that would otherwise go unnoticed gets added to a list of reasons why you were fired.

        • That happened to me and I decided to quit my job. I was bullied by a boss who has cancer, and almost everybody liked her. She was a compulsive back-stabber and treated me like the “office clown” in front of patients. After complaining to her bosses, she became more sneaky and vindictive.

          I hated coming to work and having to initiate Good Mornings because most staff would deliberately not acknowledge my greetings. My boss had turned staff against me (I was always polite to others).

    • Sometimes it makes you look worse going to HR to complain because they wonder if you’re the one with the problem because “no one else has complained”.

      YES!!! That’s what happened with me. Another co-worker started having his own issues and I encouraged him to stand up for himself, start documenting everything but he was terrified he would look like the trouble person.

      The isolation really hurt. I did my best to suck it up because I was on the other end. But it was hard to walking into the communal office after hearing people talk about me, have them stop mid-sentence (or in case of the woman who was tipsy all the time actually stage whisper, “Shhhhh she’s here!”)…I still wanted to be part of the group. Why I have no idea.

      But yeah, HR did jack to help me. Not a single thing.

      I ended up quitting what was a good job. I liked the work I did. I did it really well too. I had a lot of people taking notice of what was going on. I improved systems and procedures. But the constant nitpicking got to be too much both mentally and physically.

      I got out as soon as I could and took a HUGE pay cut. But it was so worth it in the end.

  2. I recently left my 14 year HR career to move to Alaska with my husband.

    As the HR chick, I can tell you that this is a very difficult situation, and I continue to wonder if I treated certain situations accurately. I will say that there was one particular person who we couldn’t help his claim of being bullied, because he was asking for preferential treatment, and when he didn’t get those perks, that’s when he cried Bully. He said that he was being bullied because the manager expected the same out of him as the rest of the employees.

    Do yourself a favor and keep a detailed account of every time that you feel you are being bullied. Write it down. That way, when it’s time to approach HR, you have multiple accounts, and not just the recent one you’re pissed/upset about. Be able to have that rational conversation with facts instead of feelings.

    After all, a judge wants to hear facts. And if your situation gets there, you might have to present your case to a judge (think wrongful termination, which might be the situation for the author here).

    • I wish the documentation had worked for me. I did exactly what you said, dates, times, facts. When I presented it to our HR person in charge of personnel conflict I was told that it didn’t matter because she was my manager. She did tell me that she wanted to help but the system would support the manager over me just because she was a manager. She told me I wasn’t wrong, that I was being bullied (she said harassed), that it seemed that I was being unfairly called out amongst my peers but she couldn’t do anything to help.

      • Wow, just, wow. You know, I think that if my (now former) employer had this come up, we would have ended up calling our employment lawyer on this one. Following the law is where HR has to be the advocate for the employer.
        But I whole-heartedly believe that HR can be an advocate for the employee as well. A lot of times they’re not, and it’s because of the dynamics of management. I was at my employer for over a decade, and it was really my only “grown-up” job, and I was so disheartened to see how much office politics were played. HR doesn’t make the money, so they don’t get to drive the policies. It sucks.

        I can tell you that the reason I went into HR was because I want to be able to help people be happy in their jobs. I truly believe where I worked we were good at advocating for the employees. And it’s probably why I worked there for so darn long. I was just too scared to leave a place where people would stop by HR to say hi because they like you, to take a job elsewhere – only to find out that going to HR is like being sent to the Principal’s office, and that no one wanted to go. In fact, when we were interviewing people to replace me, a lot of the candidates described their working conditions as being very set back from the workers, and that no one ever wanted to go there. Yuck.

        It just breaks my heart to hear what you went through. Here’s wishing you a much happier working environment!

  3. I’ve been bullied but didn’t do anything about it. Luckily a coworker noticed and spoke up. I don’t think the person doing the bullying even really knew what she was doing. When I was hired she was no longer the “young” one I think I just threatened what she saw as her role. Things improved once she was called on her behavior and I just did my best to avoid her.

    Just to come from a different perspective I’m an employer and the employment laws where we are (New Zealand) can seem to favour the employees. It can be really hard to get rid of someone even if you know of their toxic behavior especially if they’re “good” at their job otherwise.

  4. When we were dating, my dude ended up being bullied pretty badly while in a probationary period for an apprenticeship. He stuck it out for 2 weeks before pulling the plug, because if it was that bad already, it certainly wasn’t going to get any better. My parents said some pretty nasty things about his “lack of ambition” and “cowardice” at the time, but I’m proud of him for sticking up for himself and finding a different job.

  5. This is unbelievable. I can’t believe people are being lead/forced to quit their jobs because of some a -hole(s). I’ve been bullied before, only once directly at work and I didn’t defend myself because I already had a very strong dislike of said person and I knew I would come across as too mean if I did. Has anybody been able to solve this without leaving the workplace or seeing the bully go? I know a friend who has dealt with the occasional jerk once and then, has always stood his ground and has made most of them respect him and even act friendly towards him afterwards, but I don’t know the success rate of this approach

  6. Omg, this is exactly what happened to me, and that description fits me perfectly as well!

    I was having nightmares about it, dreading work, eventually I asked to be moved to a different department and was told I was over reacting and that my aggressor was “just joking!” (she wasn’t, but she’s friends with the big boss).

    Last week they finally transferred me. I’m in another building now, the bully tried to make out she was responsible for my “promotion” and I should be grateful to her.

    It’s better where I am now (so far) but it has still affected how I feel about the company and my job, so if the right opportunity comes along, I’ll take it.

  7. I experienced workplace bullying a few years ago. I’ll never forget reading an article on it and realizing there was an actual term for what was happening to me and that I wasn’t alone in experiencing it. It was to the point where I called my boyfriend every morning on my way to work in tears and he had to give me the daily “pep talk” so I could face walking into the building. Once I found a new job, I simply wrote an email to my supervisor and told her what had been happening and that I wouldn’t be back to work the next day. She wasn’t very surprised, and told me that the bully “has her own agenda” (that’s what she offered me as excuse to why she was bullying me). Kind of like, sorry, but that’s who she is. I’m thankful every day that part of my life is over!!

    • I’m thankful too!

      That excuse of “well, it’s who she is” seems to be the company line. I’ve been harassed twice while working at the university I am in (it happened with two different men in two different departments, same college though!). Both times I was told, that’s just who he is. Um…no. Then it was, “Well, he’s not American so he doesn’t understand.” Um…no. Faculty have to take the same sexual harassment courses staff has to take. Then it was, both times, I’m not lying, “Well he’s done this before and we’ll talk to him about it again.”

      The second time I was being bullied by my boss so I was too terrified to file a complaint and believed the department chairman was actually going to speak to the professor harassing me and then file a letter with the college, something for his work file/tenure file, etc. But I doubt it happened.

      I’m sorry you went through your own bullying experience. You’re stronger now than before!

  8. Well, at least there are 29% other people who have been where I have been. It was scary reading each of the steps here. When I got to isolation I felt a knot in my gut. I was SO isolated. Not just no one talked about me but moved out of my office to a dingy room away from my co-workers and my assistant. HR was TOTALLY unhelpful telling me it was my own fault. In fact when I had my last write up (isn’t that step 2 the progressing write ups for no real good reasons?) I felt this real sense of calm and peace come over me because I realized no matter what she said I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. I looked at her dead on while she discussed my issues. She actually started that chin-trembling-I’m-gonna-cry thing and said some shit about this being hard for her and I just grinned at her. At that moment I realized that I had the power. Even if NO ONE was going to back me up I knew that I had the power.

    After that I made sure that there would be nothing that could be said about my work. My boss knew she was wrong. She wouldn’t have been almost crying if she didn’t realize that I was on to her. I was originally terrified because she just kept at me. But that moment of her almost losing it made me change everything.

    When we all had our yearly evaluations not too long after that I was asked by the bigger boss if there were any issues I’d like to discuss besides the issues with being written up all the dang time. I said sure, let’s talk about the co-worker who isn’t doing work, who comes in tipsy every morning, who constantly leaves our waiting room unattended during our busiest times. He said no one else has ever complained. Which was crap-our personnel people said that everyone complained about her. She was actually moved from position to position because of her total incompetence (it’s extremely hard to fire a full time staff member at our university).

    Anyway, later my one co-worker who was supportive told me about his evaluation and said he talked about how he was having trouble with the same woman and laid out the problems with her leaving and not filing paperwork and other things and he was literally told to “hush up” and stop talking. Boss lady told him that this wasn’t an issue to be discussed. He didn’t know I had brought it up in my evaluation. But since our boss and the big boss evaluated us together she knew it was an issue that had already been brought up and didn’t want to look bad in front of the big boss. That tipsy woman is still there.

    The boss lady is still there. But my old pal and I both left. In fact, a lot of good people left just after us. Sometimes I think it takes someone to say, “HEY THIS IS CRAP! PEACE OUT!” to help others realize that they too don’t have to take the crap. I won’t lie, the two years I worked there were hell and I’d never do it again. But I am proud that I stuck to my ethics, I stuck to my beliefs, and I voiced them when I thought shady shit was going down.

    Now I’m in a completely different position. And I think about the battles to fight and not to fight. And I know that I’m totally on my own. But I’ve not been bullied. I’ve not been harassed (which did happen and I was asked to not say anything because he had already been in trouble before…). I’m happier here. I like the work I do. I am supported in what I do. My boss and co-workers work with me. If there is any trouble it’s addressed right away (instead of piling up as “documented incidents” and then the boss lady laying it all out for me months down the road). But nothing is ever terrible. No mistake cannot be corrected or will stop the world from turning. Every mistake in the other office was apocalyptic. A minute over my lunch hour OMGOSH the world is ending. A comma in the wrong spot in a letter and we’re DOOMED. Here it’s like meh whatever. Because they know that I do my work and I do it well.

    No one should have to go through this. I don’t understand why HR departments aren’t more helpful. I’ve read articles from HR people explaining their tough choices but please. If I am being bullied at work you should do something to help me. Don’t just immediately side with the manager because the title is higher than mine.

    • I’m sorry you and so many other people have had problems with HR departments that don’t care. One of the reasons I want to go into HR is to fix this! Instead of immediately siding with management, HR should keep the problem from escalating by gathering facts and mediating/facilitating a discussion between the bully and the target. During the first three phases, it can still be fixed. But, once the organization turns a blind eye, there’s not much you can do other than separate yourself from the bully.

      • HR is there to comply with labor laws. harassment based on race, sexual orientation, age… The expectation is for the employee(s) to try to come to a resolution. If they can’t work it out then a manager might get involved, but if laws aren’t being broken this usually is the end of the line. It sucks to have a coworker not like you, but this does not equate to a HR problem. Try to befriend that person or grow a thicker skin.

  9. Wow. Um, this hit home. I just got back from maternity leave and on day 4 at the office was given a write-up and told “you could be fired immediately and without warning” and “think about whether you really want this job”. The weird thing is that I really like my bully boss as a person, and even as a boss she has some real strong points and is occasionally very supportive. I strongly doubt she’s bullying intentionally. Nevertheless, though… it’s good to realize I’m not insane, that there’s a word for what she’s doing and that other people have experienced similar things.

    • Coming back two years later to say I was giving her too much benefit of the doubt. She was absolutely bullying intentionally, ended up firing me, and exactly six months later hired a friend of hers to fill the role I’d been in.

      I am now in a job that is better in every way, and can see such a big difference in how my current boss actually supports me, and how my bully boss pretended to support me while actually undermining me. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I can trust my instincts and stick to what I know to be right, both in the sense of “correct” and “moral”.

  10. This happened to me on my first job, with my supervisors. It started with unpleasantness, then asking for more than I could possibly do with the allotted time given to me, and when I did it anyway by working from 9AM to 3AM everyday (including weekends) it escalated to giving me ridiculous orders, when I said they were ridiculous they said I had to do what I was told, and when I did I was accused of doing ridiculous things and of course no such orders had been given me.
    That’s when I knew (5 months after I began) that something fishy was going on. I talked to the director, told her I was gonna leave, and she said it was her fault, of course she would write me any number of letters of recommendation I needed. It turns out I was not first choice by the supervisors but the director had put her foot down.
    Now I’m having the same problem, though for different reasons. But I’m not 22 anymore and I have a 6-month-old baby, I can’t just quit. I met with our work psychologist, who advised me to try an horizontal transfer within the organisation, which is interesting and I’m definitely gonna try but God knows how long it’s gonna take and it’s becoming increasingly hard to go to work every day…

  11. I had an absolutely awful job last year. I had just left uni prematurely and needed to take the first thing that came along, it was fine for the first couple of months, the really friendly at interview then very moody boss experience but nothing too bad and it was spread over all of us rather than just me. Then a new guy started in my department. I had to buddy him for a couple of days and he seemed ok, he lived in the same area as me so we got the bus home together the first night. The next morning however, I was listening to music when he came on the bus and didn’t see him. After that he was awful. He made fun of me in front of all our co workers, he used his size to be pretty intimidating with body language, and he was personal friends with my boss…..great. I’m not sure how many times I went home hiding my face from him on the bus because I was crying so much. After a month I got moved to another department and only saw him briefly in the office, but he then got moved to the desk right next to me. I was so anxious by then that I left and never went back.

  12. Often times, when I read about workplace bullying, I read that more senior, more experienced, and more liked employees become targets of workplace bullying and harassment. Every time I see this my heart sinks just a little bit. I’ve had very good work experiences all the way through college. In all these good experiences I was a newbie, but the management was stellar and I never had a problem. The last two work experiences I have had have been god awful. In these two scenarios I was a new, inexperienced worker with little job connections. Myself and others in a similar position found that some of the managers and more experienced, more well-liked employees were making us do degrading jobs. For example, every time I was on shift the plunger to the bathroom would disappear and I would be asked to clean a clogged, dirty toilet by hand. Miraculously, it would reappear after the job was done! This is just the tip of the iceberg of what some of us went through at the hands of more seasoned employees. I was crying at both these jobs daily. I kept to myself for the most part, but was forced to leave due to severe anxiety.

    My question is…….why is it so prevalent that go-to employees are the ones being targeted? If you go to many websites, this is what they say about who gets targeted. Is it possible that new employees suffer just as much from this as more veteran employees?

    Has anyone here had any experiences being the new kid on the block and receiving horrible treatment from higher ups within their job? Most days I just feel like maybe my experience was all my fault or just in my head.

  13. I’m currently at Stage 5 but I’m not giving up yet. For anyone else going through this, remember to write down EVERYTHING and contact the EEOC as soon as you have enough information to make a case. Good luck, and don’t let the bullies win.

  14. Contacting the EEOC and the Labor Board is a great idea! Some employees for Kent Security did so when they were demoted or fired for complaining about a “Wall of Shame” created by a bully supervisor. This case made the news in Southwest Florida. Despite the obstacles employees may face, they do have rights!

  15. The US Federal Government is rife with bullying and harassment.. Hey they do not call the USDA “The Plantation” for nothing..

  16. I am being bullied at my job. I am stuck in the same spot with a woman for 8 hours a day every day. She first started by saying I was “talking over her” when other employees were addressing both of us. I asked her to please let me know while I’m doing it and offered solutions that she refused to take or scoffed at (I honestly don’t realize I’m doing it) instead of coming at me after the fact, because I view after as her attacking me, and especially her tone of voice in how she tells me i’m doing it and that she won’t tell me again. Like i’m a fucking child. She did this twice after I told her that bothers me and the last time I said “Dammit _____ please stop doing that!” She just refuses to get that I really do not appreciate that kind of criticism even though I have asked her repeatedly to stop. She even said “You keep doing it, so i’m going to keep telling you.” There’s other instances, like she asked me to refill paper for the printer and when I didn’t do it the way she wanted she said “What are you doing, I should have just done this myself” and I got upset and asked her why she said that and if she thought I was too stupid to fill a printer correctly. She didn’t say anything. Other things like yelling at me and telling me the phone is ringing when I can clearly hear it and there are people who I am assisting for help. The people I was helping apologized for ‘getting me in trouble’ (they had done nothing wrong) after she left because of how rudely she spoke to me in front of them. Then afterwards accusing me of being incompetent and saying she thinks I don’t understand that I can’t be in two places at once. The last straw (I think I may finally go to HR for this) is when we both got a gift (the same thing) and she was talking about how she was going to take candy to her holiday party. I had already opened my gift and knew it had food in it. I said she might want to take the gift with her or at least not put it under her tree because it had food in it. She lost it. She started talking loudly and called me mean spirited, callous, oblivious and rude and said I had no business saying anything to her and that I have no concept of empathy or of anyone else’s feelings. I told her I’ve had animals get into wrapped fudge and insect infestations from wrapped food and I was trying to let her know and give her a heads up, but she insisted I was being rude and then lit into me about decorations I had previously put up and how I was so selfish I deliberately placed them so that others wouldn’t be able to get into the cabinet. Then she forced me to apologize and I know she’s going to be horrible to deal with after this, but I cannot work with someone who just does not respect me. Especially not when we’re constantly in the same space.
    I’m afraid of losing my job though because I got mad at her that one time, but her outburst was really uncalled for. She attacked my personal charecter and my work performance and I’m already in therapy but I feel like i’m going to have to do even more intensive work with my therapist because of the hurt she caused me. I already dread going into work because she’s so hostile and unpredictable and I’m not sleeping well because of this. I just don’t know. I should also mention that I’m 28 and she is at least 38 or 40, unmarried and lives alone. She is not my superior and we have the same job title.

  17. All bullying is unacceptable and unnecessary…Work place bullying, what will he do about it? All bullying needs to stop. What will they do about work place bullies and bullying? I was also the only one he treated like this..All he needed to do was be kind, show kindness. I want to bring more awareness to work place bullying in 2016 to help others not have to deal with bullies for bosses. The laws need to change!!! What will they do about work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop…I was fired 12 days before Christmas…
    I use to like people but a bully shot me down! Bosses should lead employees not Bully…Yes not from bullies! What about work place bullies?! Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes….I was bullied by an adult named Jeff Ursino , my manager at Citibank in Carmel, Ca…after he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up he fired me via UPS 12 days before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending case…my family will never forget the pain he caused us….and I haven’t worked since due to all of this.
    Jeff Ursino once told me that I couldn’t wear the hats I’d been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was company policy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later Jeff Ursino decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied ” I’m in control” , it was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully! He also threatened to fire me for job abandonment if I didn’t show up to work on a day I couldn’t work, my daughter was ill and he was already fully staffed. He put me on the schedule at the last minute to pressure me into working…a Bully at his finest. He also stated that I hadn’t worked on days that I had and I still have a copy of the schedules.
    Bullying needs to end and companies need to properly train manages to be leaders not bullies! What will politicians do about it? Nothing! We need to unite and do something about adult bullying and in the work place!
    I have two boxes of proof and I did document everything. When I realized that there is actually an Awareness month for anti bullying I decided to tell my story again in hopes of finding an organization that I can help bring light to this also very ugly issue!
    What I have mentioned is just a bit of all he did. No one cared or did anything about it. I wrote my leaders, congressmen , senators , mayors, city leaders, the president , attorney general, etc…everyone past the buck. Since then, bullying has come to the forefront and I want to tell my story.
    He is a father of 3 sons, still a ” manager” , on the board of trustees for a school district and I can’t help but wonder who he is bullying now.
    He had choices and he chose to be unkind, uncaring, not understanding, treated me like crap, ignored what others where doing, focused on me until he ruined me!
    ALL BULLIES NEED TO BE STOPPED!!!!! All companies need Bullying training and the manager isn’t always right! Only cowards bully other people! He didn’t care what I was wearing he simply wanted to show who was in control and bully me. The hats didn’t prevent me from doing my job nor did anyone ever complain about them, in fact I got lots of compliments from customers and a couple of his bosses and someone from HR, it’s was great until he showed up as a temporary manager. He just wanted me gone and set out to wrongfully terminate me. He couldn’t even write me up correctly and I have the proof. He couldn’t even fire me correctly as he broke California Labor codes in the process of firing me. He was simply unkind and heartless to me.
    Please grow up to be a kind, caring person. Never purposely make someone fear their going to loose their job for putting their daughter first, that’s what he did to me…and yet he is a father.
    Time to open their eyes and our leaders and change the laws. Speak the truth state the facts and have your evidence ready! One of the reasons I am doing this is because I have proof, my journal, the forms he used to write me up incorrectly. He was in such a hurry to write me up that the first time he wrote me up he used the wrong form, he used the second warning form. He threatened me with job abandonment yet didn’t know how that law worked. For some reason the universe, my God or what ever you want to believe, had me keep all the evidence. In my journal I wrote daily of what occurred at work, he singled me out. In four and a half years I loved my job 98 percent of the days then he came and ruined not only me but the spirit of that bank branch. He took away causal Friday and tried to take away cookies on Fridays for our customers. He said we all had to only eat in the break room but yet would eat at his desk and not say anything to the pretty blonde when she ate at her station. He took all my family photos down and claimed it was best for my family but allowed others to have their family photos out! A BULLY!!!!please share my story to bring awareness to work place bullying.
    The more I read the more I realize he was threatened by me. My reviews didn’t justify what he did. Several times I was asked if I was the manager as he stood next to me. The hat issue was just him being a bully, he ignored what others did and wouldn’t give me credit when it was due to me, he played it down. He snapped his fingers twice, said my name , pointed to the back room and said Damari in the back the very first time he ever addressed me. In the back room he said my reputation precedes me, that upper management had nothing but glowing reports about me. He asked why I thought I do so well and I told him because I love my job. He was a temporary manager, the branch was looking for a full time manager. Jeff Ursino was managing two branches during this process, I was trying to hang in there until we got a new one but he couldn’t wait to fire me. I’m understanding more about bullies these days, it doesn’t make it right but we need to pray for the bully.
    That’s was awesome, thank you for caring and reposting. I use his name and the bank and location to keep it real and honest. I have nothing to hide. I use to tell my kids’ if you don’t want grammy to know what you did then don’t do anything you’d be a shamed of because I will tell grammy the truth’ it really helped with their behavior. I once wrote him and asked why he did what he did and I also told him that I hope no one ever treated his family as he had treated mine, but I got no response to my email from him. It’s all true so it’s not slander. Have an awesome day, thank you very much. So sorry about what you went through, hopefully we can get others to come forth and share their stories. I honestly feel that the bully should be called out, if he/she was so proud of their actions then don’t get upset when we share what you’ve done. Please feel free to share my story to bring awareness to work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop, the laws need to protect the employees and victims not the bully. Share my story please.

  18. I swear to the Lord and 100% right that benefits at work or a job doesn’t mean anything if bullying, harassment, hostility, discrimination or such injustice at work are tolerated at all for any person from intern or volunteer all the way to CEO or Board!

    I don’t know what the deal is with this Hospice in Alabama which went from being Kindred Care Hospice to Hospice Complete to Alabama Hospice Care with locations in Hoover, Trussville, Pelham, etc. It is the worst remembrance how the clear, proven worst of worst toxic female bully named Susan Jones from Northport, AL at the very worst a volunteer coordinator will always be remembered for excessive screaming, finding faults, micromanaging, bashing other people including her own boss in front of her subordinates even as so foolish, immaturely and unprofessionally openly whispering in front of others and belittling others and worst of worst doing illegal/unethical things such as asking volunteers if they have a disability for no reason, throwing a childish fit if something is not perfect to her standards or something a tad off when she said ironically things don’t have to be perfect. Thankfully they fired her and let’s pray she is better and hope Linda Chavies the receptionist is no more toxically negative for no reason with abnormal behavior.

  19. I have encountered this type of employment as well. The managers get high during the day, the owner of the company is passive aggressive, has punched a hole in the wall, thrown phones through the office, loves to talk about his drunken nights out and uses profanity while employees are on the phones. He belittles other employees in front of you to try and create fear within the office. There is no type of positive reinforcement or recognition. The only time he talks is to hear himself and if you did a bad job; which he will do in front of the entire office as well as have meetings in the middle of the office while others are on the phone. I was there 11 months before finally resigning and in that time there were 12 out of 17 people who were fired or quit. Not to mention the fact that all of his employees are not paid for ANY overtime due to them being on salary. I myself encountered numerous times where the owner used homophobic slurs such as fag, butt pirate, and cocksucker when speaking to other employees. Not only is he ignorant, homophobic, and an arrogant person but he thinks the company is the best thing since sliced bread. I am trying to find a way to notify the appropriate party because there was no human resource department and many employees who still work there are afraid to quit because they have families to provide for. If anyone knows of anything to do i would greatly appreciate it. The company name is All American Facility Maintenance in Hollywood, Florida.

  20. I am bullied everywhere I go. I cannot figure it out. Have been let go three times already because of it. My last three jobs in fact. Just got let go last Friday. Not so bent out of shape about it now because it was in a government benefit administrative industry that I could give a crap about, but it was work and I needed the money so I worked my butt off for this place. There was this one guy. This huge dweeb that everyone thought was super nice and harmless. So I naturally connected with him. Even asked him if he would be my mentor (have vomit in my mouth now). Big tall gangly red head guy with glasses and wore white and jade striped socks with his business attire. Mistake number 1) I opened up about myself during our many after hour conversations. He prompted me to by expressing some of his weaknesses. To show empathy I let him know about some of mine. One being that I am a huge introvert and get exhausted by being around others for too long and often have a hard time thinking when people begin asking me too many questions for an extended period of time. Then I was told to help him with his heavy work load that he had fallen behind on because he looks and talks a smart game but the guy only see’s things in black and white and cannot connect dots outside of his perceived box. At least he pretends to be that way. So over the next two months he is the one assigning me all of my work. He gives me things that are so complicated that managers cannot even figure them out first. I am smart so I do my due diligence and resolve the issue. He is grateful for this and my name begins to spread around the office as a go to guy. I am right in his web now. He has made me well known around the office as either the new guy who has not successfully completed an assignment in the last two months and cannot be relied on, or a guy that everyone can give their highly complex work to. I think he knew I would be the latter and actually preferred this since he realizes that bosses retain people who grow slowly overtime and make noticeable yet minor improvements every week rather than the guy who peeks in the first month or two then burns out. So after this task he gives me more less complicated tasks. I think nothing of it the work needs to be done by someone and its a small office with educated professionals. NO one underneath me. Slowly over time though he begins nitpicking minor little infractions and won’t email me any of the assignments he asks me to complete. He will only explain what to do when I come to his desk and from the moment I leave the original instructions somehow become obsolete. He is also able to see what I have open and working on at all times. Because I keep saving my work he sees where I am in it. Like clockwork my assignments keep changing and getting passed onto other people to complete as I get more than half way through them. I cannot get into a grove. I mentioned to him that I work best when I do get in a groove earlier when I thought we were buds. This guy does not understand excel and hardcodes everything and even complains to me once that in one of the assignments he took from me before I could finish it he needed me to just follow the program and do it exactly how it is done and to not focus on efficiency. Of course he tells me this in the conference room behind closed doors without anyone else around. My word against his. He is complaining about me daily to the partner at this point. The partner is not the type to reprimand people as he is a happy go lucky little ball of joy and tries to be the nice guy all the time. Passive aggressive maybe. Anyways I have no idea I am slowly but surely becoming the problem and the scapegoat for the team missing two deadlines with our clients. Chris his name is receiving messy and incomplete work from me when I ask him for something else to work on. He then needs to complete it and cannot understand anything I am doing. He is soon micromanaging me and will not tell me that he is doing that because he has made everyone believe I am struggling to complete things and cannot follow instruction. I am suddenly given the most non detailed mindless work there is. Organizing paperwork and I still cannot get that right. He leaves out certain instructions at first and then comes back and tells me “remember, we need to do this too, remember I said that to you” in a really nice nerdy voice. I say no and he goes well may be I do not remember and walks away. He tells the partners a different story. Suddenly I am unemployable and get fired around the same time this jerk gets his own office. He has convinced management that he has failed this plan because they hired the wrong guy for him to delegate tasks to. He was going to fail anyways as he had zero organizational skills. His directions always vague and could never remember anything. Always getting called out by clients and even told by clients they are dissapointed in him right before I arrived. yes it is all clear to me now. Always ask before joining a company how the current projects and tasks are moving along and ask if I will be assigned any of those for anyone who is struggling to finish something. If they tell you yes and who that person is who is struggling to complete anything you know not to trust that person as they are at risk of losing the job themselves. Fear is the main reason for bullying unfortunately. Like they say, the ones being bullied are usually on partner or exec track from day one. Everyone is excited about them coming on board. Everyone is praising their efforts and work. Meanwhile the losers protected by the overly strict laws that will be enforced if I raise my voice to them or call them outside to take a walk will play semantics games with you to try and get you to lose your temper (look he cannot communicate effectively) and will stab you in the back. There is always a snake in the grass at your org. Figure it out before you try to make friends with anyone.

  21. Here is my situation and I don’t have any family anymore in the U.S. or many friends to tell my situation at my work. So at least I can write it here.
    I sit with 4 coworkers in one office. 2 of them are my peers and 2 of them are a level above (but they’re not our bosses). About 2 months ago one of my coworkers who is a level above me, let’s call him “A” was on the phone with a client. Me and my other peer coworker were saying a joke about “A”. while he was on the phone (he also does it all the time and much worse and rude jokes). So I wanted to feel him the same way and let him know how does it feel when he does it to me. “A” heard us and while he was on the phone he said to the client “I tell you this. If I pass you to Martin it won’t be done today.” That got me mad, because I am the newest guy and still building my reputation among our clients and I do a good job, making our clients happy and satisfied. It also got me mad, because when we make jokes or someone says something inappropriate it always stays within our office. It’s our “unwritten rule”.
    I didn’t say anything and I went to the restroom and he started to yell “We are a team! We are a team!”. I couldn’t resist and yelled back to him “Then don’t tell bullshit about me to our clients if we are a team!”. He yelled back “You started!”. When I got out from the restroom I didn’t say anything, because there was our supervisor sitting in his office with open doors (our supervisor has office right next to our office). He is a down to earth, calm, quiet type of guy and I didn’t want to make drama and he didn’t say anything.
    Since this incident “A” does not take me out for service calls to our clients anymore and he always takes someone else with him. He always makes rude, cursing comments and inappropriate jokes about me in front of my coworkers to make me feel bad. He has been doing this since I started to work there, not just because of this incident, and, not only to me, also to others. But for some reason he does it to me the most since the beginning. I am mostly quiet guy, polite, trying to concentrate on my job. I do like jokes, but I don’t like to use curse words or making fun of someone in front of others like “A” does all the time. The worst thing is that he turned my other coworkers against me so they don’t take me out to service calls either like they used to before.
    I haven’t told this to anybody, but I am trying to do my job best I can and I go to service calls by myself if they don’t want to go with me. If we have any new projects he does not involve me with them. He involves other coworkers with new projects. I don’t like this guy since the beginning, because the way how rude he is, how he makes fun of people and insults people left and right. One time a group of people came to our office. One of the lady from the group said “…. I would like to eat now something sweet after my lunch.” “A” made a comment “You can lick Tim’s chair he’s got a sweet ass!”. Some people started to laugh, but I could see how the lady felt and I could see that she was insulted. I didn’t say anything, I was sad. I don’t like “A” because of his personality and rudeness. When someone makes fun of him then he always fights back using even more curse or rude words.
    So far I am just doing my job best I can, going to service calls by myself and trying to read all my emails to keep in touch with projects even without getting hands-on, practical experience in them. I like my job and I don’t want to lose it because of this guy.
    I don’t know if I should tell about my situation to anyone at work or just keep my job the best I can like I do now. Knowing that my coworkers are not on my side makes me sad and isolated.
    Thank you.

  22. I was bullied by my senior over the last 2 years of my employment. I was his assistant PM.
    I am a good and reliable employee, but eventually my confidence was so shattered, I did not think anything really mattered. They always tried to make me feel stupid, tried to pin failure on me not asking enough questions. When I did ask questions, they were arrogant and condescending. ‘Explaining’ things poorly with their back turned to me. When something went wrong, they would find anyone to throw under the bus (this would involve cc’ing every higher-up possible to see in a scathing publicly humiliating email). They would put down people with harsh comments during meetings when the person was not present. Be ambivalent about due dates, then blame that person for not delivering on time. One of the biggest things was giving you just enough information to know how to get the job done, but later blame you when it was completed, because it was not how they wanted it. I think it really boiled down to their terrible communication skills, and believe me, I tried many different ways to make it a positive working relationship.

    My coping method was putting up with it calmly and telling my coworker friends and partner about it. My partner did cut me off as a sounding board (about 1 year in), because they grew tired of it. I had no one to talk to about it after that. I started dreading going to work and getting up in the morning.

    Eventually, one day my senior attacked my work ethic in a broadcast email with higher-ups cc’ed. I saw red, the work was ahead of schedule and I was doing my job. I told my team manager. They recommended I do not go to HR about it unless I wanted it to get messy. On their advice, I kept it within management. I was told they were doing something about it, because of multiple complaints made over the years. Management never followed up with me. A month later, they did something even worse and I told him off in the hallway. I never get mad like that. I went back to team management and asked yet again what was going on, their solution was to pull me off every project with them because our relationship was not working. Because of their seniority, that closed doors on a lot of opportunities for me. Honestly, I felt like I was being punished instead. I felt very let down and alone after that.

    So through a series of events, my job tasks went from coordinating programs to data entry. I literally had no responsibility anymore, this led to me getting laid off for having no work. It was crushing. I guess my biggest regret is never going to HR. Management knew they had a problem, but decided to handle it themselves, or they were protecting him and themselves. I’m sure even going to HR would have had a similar result.

    I sympathize with everyone who is bullied. It is not an easy situation, especially when you are just starting your career. If I had to do it again, I am not sure what I would have done differently. It seemed like a no win situation.

  23. I am being bullied by a co worker who also has a clique. She never liked me from the second I met her. I always knew I had to be careful around her from the beginning. She was prickly and unapproachable.We work side by side and it took over a week for her to acknowledge me. That says alot I sussed her from the start. In the end I introduced myself out of civility. Within a short time she would make clever comments or roll eyes at others trying to embarrass me. She took offence easily for things that meant no offence. I couldnt win.

    I stayed as far away from her as possible for 2 years. I had made some workplace friends. I worked hard. was dependable, reliable, punctual. My numbers were within the top set and I cared. I need to earn my own money so my philosophy is, do the job you are paid for as well as you can and go home feeling ok. Work is not my life but it pays for it. I have responsibilty to my employer. At this point I started to work on her days more and thats when I really saw what she was. She would snigger whisper belittle, cruel and cutting, talk about me when I was in the rest room, just a door away. She tried to get others to side with her. Then one day she needed something from me, a member of staff was leaving and it was either her or me on the earlier start, she befriended me, coaxed me around and I fell for it. I gave her a chance in the name of peace and a quiet life (working elbow to elbow) I stopped keeping my distance and bowing away from her meaness and let her be a friend….it took just 3 months for her to intelligence gather, work me out and turn against me. I still dont know what happened or why. I keep a work diary as insurance and the entry said ‘ I am utterly baffled, I dont know what I have done’ The next thing I knew she was friends with people she had bitched about to me, she was not speaking to me hardly. My head was spinning, we were back to the beginning.

    Slowly over another 1.5 yrs she iced me out, I dont exist now. She has her little gang that speak to me lightly when shes around, afraid the alpha will turn on them. I know she is a very vengeful person and in the past I was told she is moody and difficult and jealous. We are around the same age and I can only imagine that she saw me as threat. I dont want to be a bighead but she in her own stubborness and laziness simply shows little interest in the work and is very behind when she shouldnt be. She has though managed to become a favourite based on her attractiveness to the 2 managers she is approx 15 years younger than, she knows how to play these men. In fact as Ive sat subdued Ive listened Ive heard many a reference to playing games and siding with the right side and other phrases that indicate she is a strategist.

    I have several times spoke to a manager about her isolating me, her nasty quips etc yet theyve done nothing. Im starting counselling next week. I am hypersensitive and cant take a joke anymore. I cry on the way home sometimes. The nice coworkers admit to not liking her or noticing her behaviour but they arent in a position to do anything and where would it get them if they did, nowhere.

    She has 4 female siblings all very close born and she wasnt wealthy. I think she was overlooked at some point she doesnt speak well of her parents and being in a circle of women has made her remember the cruelty of her sisters games,possibly, but now shes in charge of a group of females (as gangleader) and shes gone mad. She thinks shes winning or has won but how can you win when you cheat or battle someone that never engaged in battle.

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