Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bullying and Harassment in the Work Place

I’ve worked for a couple of organisations where I’ve witnessed some degree of bullying and harassment in the workplace, but it was so insidious and devious that it would have been hard to bring a case against the people concerned as they covered their backs and spun a web of lies.

One organisation had quite a high turnover of staff as if anyone dared to voice an opinion or say things were wrong, then some way was found to oust them.  One lovely lady, who I shall call Jane, worked there in an administrative role.  She was really good at her job but because she wanted to change her hours, the manager and her side kick wore her down, piling on the work and highlighting any mistakes she might have made.  The woman was a professional who knew her job well, but the knives were out.

She was told when she was eventually forced to resign, not to tell any of the other staff.  The manager and her sidekick didn’t speak to her for days.  I knew she was leaving, so I bought her a present.  We were all informed by memo the following Monday that she’d left, and even afterwards, I was interrogated by the manager’s sidekick, who many nick named, ‘The Rottweiler’, if I had known Jane was leaving.

Of course, I feigned innocence.

Guess who got her job?  A close relative of the manager!

Over a series of months I saw many come and go, dismissed for trivial reasons, until eventually, I was forced into a corner to resign myself, even though I was good at my job and popular and had done a tremendous amount for this organisation and the manager herself.  I won’t say what I did, but it was above and beyond the call of duty.

So, I resigned and glad I got the hell out of there, currently this manager now has other family members working with her.  How the heck that’s allowed, I’ll never know.

Nepotism of the highest order.... 

At the moment, this person concerned, seems untouchable.  If anyone complains she gets shot of them, and/or someone to back her up.

Surely one day this 'house of cards' will topple over?

Another organisation I worked for also had a high turnover of staff.  My line manager couldn’t do her job properly, so piled all the work on to me and was forever nit picking.  I almost left there and then, but she talked me into staying after I swore at her in front of a packed office.
The truth was, she was ringing me about petty things on my days off and even texting me at midnight, sometimes with things she wanted done the following day if she was off work.  At this place we were made to do courses in our spare time and I’d even been rostered into working in two places at the same time!  I know I’m a hard worker and some say quite clever, but not that bleeding clever!

Another thing about that place, although we worked six hour days, we weren't allowed a break.  We were informed that if you work six hours, you aren't entitled to a break.  We had to eat and drink while we were at work and at times it could be stressful with the type of job it was.  

It all came to a head for me one day when I had to stay and help someone who had a crisis after work had finished and I was on my way home.  I looked after the person concerned, took them for a coffee to calm them down and made sure they had taxi fare to get home as they were in distress.  I could have walked on by as it was out of work hours, but I didn't.  The manager promised me an hour off in lieu of this, but when I asked the next day [towards the end of my shift and my work was up to speed], she became petty saying I couldn’t possibly take the hour there and then.  This and something else combined, where I wasn’t even allowed recognition for something I had written for this organisation, made me see red.  I resigned there and then and never went back.

I’ve never regretted it.

I've heard since then more than eleven members of staff have left, probably even more since.
You’ll know there’s bullying in the work place if:

*  There’s a high turnover of staff
*  You’re often singled out and reprimanded in front of other members of staff
*  You’re belitted
*  You’re overloaded with work
*  Your manager/or some other person working there keeps bothering you on your days off
*  The night before work and the following day you feel anxious before work
*  You feel stressed out most of the time
*  Your work often gets criticized, particularly in front of other members of staff
*  Your manager/boss tends to keep staff in the dark about what is going on
*  You feel you have no voice or say in anything
*  You aren’t allowed adequate breaks and/or leave
*  You are verbally and/or physically abused
*  You are made to work overtime with no extra pay or inducement
*  If you face up to your bullying co-worker/manager you are accused of harassment
*  Your achievements go unrecognised by the organisation/your boss
*  You feel devalued and unappreciated as a member of staff
*  You constantly get overlooked for promotion even though it’s well known that you are the best 
person for the job

To be continued....

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