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  1. #1

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    Dealing with a bully at work

    I have made a formal complaint at work about a person who I work directly with. For a long time I have put up with her speaking to me rudely, abruptly, aggressively, putting me down, attacking me for things I haven't even done or aware I should have done. She is a very intimidating person and I know that if I said anything she would turn it back on me and blame me. It all came to a head last week when she berated me over the phone and I spoke back to her in the same way she was speaking to me. When she asked why I was being so hostile I said "I am sick of you speaking to me like sh*t".

    I have been able to write up a few incidents that demonstrate how she has treated me over the last 6 months. I also saw a work sponsored counsellor which did help and pretty much confirmed that I should put in the formal complaint.

    Up until this moment I hadn't made any formal complaints but when things have happened spoken to our HR manager immediately. My direct manager I haven't said much to at all for a number of reasons (not because I have a problem with him, it has just happened that way). But he probably doesn't realise how serious it all is.

    After not seeing this person since I last spoke to her (she was on leave), she came into work today. Didn't even acknowledge me. The build up and anticiption of waiting for her return to see how she would treat me became too much. I just broke down and went home because I am sure she is blaming me for what happened. The stress of it all has finally hit me and I know that it is going to be very difficult to work with her in future.

    What p*sses me off the most is my life is pretty good and this one person is really affecting it at the moment. I actually like my job and the company. Although what it does mean that nothing else is a contributing factor to any stress I have in my life at the moment, only her.

    I have a meeting with HR tomorrow to discuss my complaint. I may have to consider finding another job (which there could be opportunities in our company because it is a big one). On the other hand because she has been a problem in the past and had other complaints of a similar nature she could lose her job. Not my problem but whatever point it is going to reach I still have to work with her until then.

    It would be good to hear from others if they have been through this type of situation as well. Or if you are in HR you might have some advice. I would appreciate it.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  2. #2
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    For a long time I have put up with her speaking to me rudely, abruptly, aggressively, putting me down, attacking me for things I haven't even done or aware I should have done. She is a very intimidating person and I know that if I said anything she would turn it back on me and blame me.
    Good thing that you've reported this. If she's talking to you like this, she is probably also speaking about you poorly to others, maybe even your boss. Nip this in the bud before she threatens your job.

  3. #3

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    Agreed, it is best to take control and not let it take over your life. Usually I try to talk to a person one-on-one to see if we can't come to some sort of a resolution, but if the person isn't willing to listen, then that's when you have to take the next step and elevate it to an HR rep or a boss (whatever the appropriate case may be).

    The fact that she is verbally attacking you for things that you did not do is completely unacceptable. If it inhibits you from doing your job then you need to take care and have the matter resolved as soon as possible. Don't let this person ruin your job, if you like it, fight for it and stay. If you leave and find another position (even within the same company) then she wins. It's not worth it and your time.

    I was a victim of bullies in junior high for many years and as a result damn near took my own life on more than one occasion, and I still suffer from depression to this day, but that being said, you are taking the right steps neccessary in order to come to a resolution. I think you should dig in your feet and say "No, she's not worth it and she's not going to win". You don't deserve to be treated this way.

    If there are other opportunities within the company that allow for growth then great, but if you can stay in that position and you enjoy it, dig in your heels and don't ever give in, because the bully wins, and you don't deserve it.

    I hope the issue gets resolved quickly for you!
    Kyle

  4. #4

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    Don't let the bully win! Just ignore her. You are making the complaint and hopefully they will take care of it. Frankly, if she has had complaints about her before then she should be fired or moved to a position where she works alone in a cubicle. Anyone can have a bad day, I get that, but she has apparently been bullying people for years. That is unacceptable but her behavior will continue as long as she continues to keep her job with no consequences. Is she in any kind of supervisor position or does she just like to bully people, even those on the same level as her? I really hate people like this but I tell myself that they usually act this way because they are extremely unhappy or lacking something in their own life. It doesn't justify it but it helps me to know that even the bully has problems and to not let her problems become my problems.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  5. #5
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    Be strong. From now on whatever she does or says to you immediately record it so you can inform HR about her behavior in detail. She may be dealing with her issues of her own, or maybe she's just a bitch by nature. Whatever the reason she should have the ability to conduct herself in professional manner at work, and if she's not she needs to face the consequences.
    We're having issues with another manager in our company and are currently building up a case against them for HR. The final straw was when he blatantly told an employee that she may as well put in her 2 weeks since he was going to have her fired soon anyway. All for being 2 minutes late.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the responses. I appreciate the support. It does make me feel better.

    She is in a senior position with a title of manager. I take direction and instruction from her and I have work directly with her. Makes it very difficult to ignore.

    I think HR are glad I have put in a formal complaint because they can then do something about it. Just saying things here and there doesn't really work because they need to have things documented and evidence. Good thing the HR person is one of the people who has seen me upset when she has been nasty so she has a good idea of how many times it has happened. And she did it in a meeting once where there were three others, including the HR person.

    This person also has reported depression and other extenuating factors to justify her behaviour. It is probably a reason why I haven't lodged a formal complaint before but recently it has become so personal that I can't handle it anymore.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  7. #7

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    Hey AW, I feel your pain, as I've been through similar experiences.

    Forgive me for assuming, but one of the things that may make you uncomfortable with this is that you probably don't like confrontation. (???) I really hate it and when I've been forced to stick up for myself against a bully it bothers me very much. But I've gotten much better at it, knowing that standing up for myself is absolutely the right thing to do.

    Good for you for taking action! This bully now knows that she can't get away with her despicable behavior toward you, at least not without some very real consequences. I'll bet from now on, she'll think twice before treating you like a second class citizen.

  8. #8

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    I'm not sure how the HR environment works in Australia, but use of the term "hostile work environment" when discribing the behavior of another employee is effective when used with superiors/HR in the US. Just a thought.

  9. #9
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    Sounds like you'd already expressed your opinion that her method of communication was unacceptable. If she did this before in front of HR, and nothing changed, then you did the right thing by filing the complaint. Now don't let her actions get to you, go about your job, and let HR handle it. Sounds like she needs some behavioral coaching.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

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