June 13th, 2013

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bullying is affecting my health


Dear Kalola,

When I started with this company as a Clerical Assistant for the data team I was happy outgoing and loved going to work. When I made a change because of a financially crisis at home, I was not doing good so I transferred to a FT position. Once I moved into this position I was quickly moved to another position without even being asked. I had no proper training and my manager didn't know much either so it made this job stressful because you had to meet quotas and they based your performance on that. I began to feel really stressed.

For my one year anniversary my manager threw the packet on my desk and walked away in front of my coworkers. I felt humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed. After 3 months of this stress I began to feel sick nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, losing excessive weight, and migraines. I was diagnosed with 2 bleeding ulcers, a gastric ulcer and a condition called gastro paresis which its a condition where the stomach does not empty. After 4 months of hostile environment I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.

I wrote to HR and I was ignored. I filled out FMLA, I wrote to the owner 3 times but that made matters worse. I am still being written up and ignored. They have succeeded in taking my chance in education, my school flex schedule was taken away, written up with no chance to transfer out of this hostile deptartment. Everyday I am being harassed, abused and humiliated, provoked...I am at the end of my rope sometimes I feel like Im losing my mind...I cant quit because financially I'm suffering with all the hospital bills, doctor bills, procedures and medication.

Because of being absent because of my illness I am not getting paid, my bills have accumulated and I have no money to buy my Rx one at $30 the other three $15 each. My health has deteriorated drastically from someone so full of life, happy and outgoing to a depressed, not wanting to go out, insomnia, worries of what will happen if I lose my job, hard time sleeping and shutting down my brain so I don't think about it. Everyday going to work my body begins to shake, my chest gets tight, I have a hard time breathing, the nausea starts then the vomiting, diarrhea, and migraines begin again I stay feeling anxious and all I do is cry uncontrollably. On the weekends I am fine come Sunday night and everything starts again.

Florida Worker


Dear Florida Worker


Here is what you have written in no particular order:

  • You are not happy in your job—You were once happy, outgoing, and loved going to work
  • You are being harassed, abused and humiliated on the job
  • You have felt humiliated, embarrassed, and ashamed
  • Health symptoms:  insomnia, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, bleeding ulcers, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, etc.
  • Accumulating medical bills (not covered by health insurance?)
  • Unpaid sick leave due to excessive absences
  • Stress of worrying about being terminated
  • You received no on-the-job training
  • Your performance is measured by whether you are meeting your quotas
  • You are being written up
  • You have been ignored by Human Resources, and by the owner of the company

You switched to full-time work due to a financial crisis at home.  The employer transferred you to a position which you feel you were not adequately trained for.  The performance expectations by your manager is causing you much stress.  This job may not be a good fit for you.

 

You are so unhappy about the job that it is making you ill just thinking about it.  You are missing so much work that you aren't getting paid when you are absent, and now you are unable to pay for all of your medical bills and prescription co-pays.

 

You were humiliated when the manager threw the packet on your desk and walked away which occurred in front of your co-workers.  You state that you were written up for not meeting quotas and that your review was based on performance.  You also state that you are continuing to be written up and you feel you have been ignored.  You wrote to HR and you wrote to the owner of the company, and no one responded back to you.

 

If the employer is ignoring your complaints there is no reason to hope that things will change or get better if you stay at this job.  You are not able to transfer to another department due to the write ups.  If you stay at the job, the health issues that you have described may become chronic.  You went to work full time due to a financial crisis at home which tells me that you have stressors at home as well as at work.  What is clear is that your health is deteriorating due to what you are now experiencing at work.

Not all workers are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).   Eligible workers are provided with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year.  To read more about FMLA go to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division website, Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/fmla-faqs.htm

The opportunity to further your education has not been taken away from you.  There may have been a company benefit where the employer may have offered to cover educational expenses in some instances or the worker was allowed a flexible work schedule in order to attend school or workers may receive professional growth awards for completing college courses, etc.  However, you can still attend school on your own.   You can sign up for evening courses or take distance learning courses that are offered on-line via the internet.  Just because your flexible work schedule was taken away doesn't mean that you can't still pursue your education.  If you are determined to further your education then you will.  I don't advise students to take out school loans to attend college.  Why?  Because college loan debts can quickly add up, and that money has to be paid back.  It is a terrible burden to have to pay back huge student loans.  Not all students who graduate with a degree will find work right away after graduation.   If you did well in high school, and continue to get good grades in college, you may qualify for scholarships based on merit.  You can also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by going to the website:  http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.   Go to the Financial Aid Office of your local college or university and check out what kind of financial aid is available, and note the application deadline dates.  Also check out the bulletin boards in your department of study at the college that you attend where you may find information about scholarships, fellowships, and internships specific to your area of study.  Shift workers and on call workers are more likely to find that it is difficult to sign up for a class due to their unpredictable work schedules.   However, there are more and more on-line courses being offered where a worker can work on a course at their own pace within the school term.  If you are determined to further your education, you can and you will.

 

In your own words and unedited,  you state the following:  "Everyday I am being harrassed, abused and humiliated, provoked ... I am at the end of my rope sometimes I feel like Im losing my mind...I cant quit cus financially Im sufferring w/all the hospital bills, doctor bills, procedures amd medication. Because of being absent because of my illness I am not getting paid, my bills have accumulated and I have no money to buy my Rx one at $30 and the other three $15 each."

You may be able to get some help in paying for your prescription medications, check out these websites for further information:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance: https://www.pparx.org/

RxAssist—Patient Assistance Program Center: http://www.rxassist.org/

For information about Credit Counseling:

Help for Difficult Financial Times campaign: http://www.usa.gov/citizen/topics/family/help-for-difficult-financial-times.shtml

"Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life.  I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself." ... Walter Anderson, Writer

You can take back control of your life by being proactive.  Look at your options and make an exit plan.  Things can get better but it is up to you, and you will have to work at it.  In the meantime, be the best worker that you can be under the circumstances that presents itself.   At home, update your resume, and start applying for jobs.   Don't be discouraged if you don't find a job right away.  You will need determination and perseverance if you hope to find another job.  Don't give up—be persistent.

 

Should you receive a layoff notice or be terminated from your position do apply for unemployment benefits immediately.  Note:  The Department of Employment will expect a worker receiving unemployment benefits to be actively looking for work, and to be available to work.  Use the free services at your state Department of Employment.

Because things happen in life, all workers should put away money into an emergency fund, and not touch that money unless they absolutely have to.  Even small contributions made on a regular basis to your emergency fund will grow over time.   Knowing that you have a cushion of  funds will help relieve some of the stress should you become unemployed or an unexpected emergency occurs.   By the way, adult workers are never too young or too old to start reading articles on personal finance, saving and spending, taxes, Social Security, retirement, etc.

 

Thank you for writing in and sharing your workplace experiences.  The dilemma you face is not uncommon among targets of bullying.  Targets do try to work things out, and some do go up the ladder to voice their concerns and/or complain about what is happening to them on the job.  The results are too often the same; the worker is ignored by management, and the bully retaliates.   We think we can handle the bad treatment but sometimes we can't and our health starts to give way.  Is the job worth further deterioration of your health and well being?  No.

Please take good care of your health.  Good health is everything, and something that you cannot put a price on.  I hope that you will be proactive and look at your options.  The job you are in today does not have to be the job you stay in for the rest of your work life.

 

Sincerely,

Kalola

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 2:18 pm and is filed under Let's Talk with Kalola. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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