Archive for the ‘Let’s Talk with Kalola’ Category


Let’s Talk with Kalola: Life After Bullying – Recovery

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I worked in the same grocery store for ten years total, taking a couple years off while I was in college. My first manager wasn’t exactly easy to get along with, mainly because of his short temper that mellowed out over the years, but I wouldn’t consider him a bully. But in October 2011 a new night manager was forced on our store who was friends with one of the corporate managers. The new night manager was given the manager’s position in March 2012, forcing the previous manager to step down to work the produce department before retiring.

The new manager based his entire style on threats and intimidation. In some cases our longest-standing workers were fired for thefts that never actually happened while one worker that I had turned in for stealing was promoted to assistant manager. In the two years that I suffered under this man’s reign of terror we went through three night managers. Some of the women told me that they were sexually harassed, but they were too scared to report anything to the corporate office. Every idea that I came up with for improvement in the store was stupid, unless someone else came up with the same idea later. The manager even went so far as to harass the customers with false accusations of stealing. I used to joke with employees to keep their receipts tattooed to their arms. During the first year under this manager our sales dropped 27%.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Worker is Exploring Taking Legal Action Against Her Employer

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I was bullied by my boss, and when I reported his insidious acts to Human Resources, he retaliated and placed me on a performance improvement plan and escalated his bullying towards me. When I complained to Human resources about the irregularity of the plan, and the fact that the bullying acts had only accelerated, I was advised to comply or lose my job.

My performance improvement plan was to last for three months, during which time my boss isolated me, excluded me from team meetings, stripped me of critical roles and took every opportunity he could get to humiliate me and call me names. At some point it was so depressing to go to work. Going to work was just to face more and more humiliation and isolation, and I developed body pains especially lower back and shoulder. The pains would never subside even when I was on the strongest of pain killers.

One day I felt I could not bear the thought of going to work. I called in sick and even sought medical attention. X-rays were carried out but the doctors could not find anything wrong and only prescribed pain killers. I decided to take time to clear my mind and assess whether I should quit my job. Surprisingly when I returned to work, my boss demanded that I produce my medical records for the day I was sick. Even though I knew that this was a violation of my privacy I handed him copies. Absurdly he accused me of falsifying the medical records and had disciplinary charges preferred against me. During the hearing he stated that he had gained access to my call records which to him proved that there was no way I could have been sick or sought medical help because according to him I was “roaming the town” based on my call records. Inwardly I was reeling from the fact that he had illegally obtained my call records, invaded my privacy, and had the audacity to discredit my defence and explanation. He demanded that the panel find me guilty. I got a warning letter and from that day he demanded that I no longer attend any divisional meeting. exactly one month later he asked Human resources to have me dismissed for failing to pass the improvement plan. I was dismissed and advised that I could exercise my right to appeal. I appealed against the dismissal. The appeal was never heard, and my dismissal was confirmed a month later.

On the whole the battle against a work place bully is an ugly one. They are usually in privileged positions of power which they abuse. A law suit against the company is the only option I have now. I am actively pursuing that right now.

Anita


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Screaming Mimi

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I began a job a few months ago as a bookkeeper for a medium size company. There are 8 bookkeepers in the company. There is one bookkeeper that is terrorizing everyone and the owner of the company is doing nothing about it. She screams, swears, throws things and decides what part of her job she is going to do. The best I can figure is the owner is afraid of her because he hasn’t fired her. Instead he takes her work and makes other people do it. If you approach her on a bad day to give her work that belongs to her, she will throw it at you and tell you she isn’t doing it. Then she will sit there sing real loud or start laughing like something you would see in a horror film. She is doing it on purpose. She has told me the owner isn’t going to fire her so she will do whatever she wants. I have seen her make another employee cry and I know people have quit because they can’t deal with her.

My concern is a safety issue, what if one day she really does flip out? what if someone gets serious hurt. Who is going to be held responsible? I don’t have patience for bullies and I can’t believe in the year 2014, we do not have laws to protect us from such treatment. I really hope pressure can be put on our elective officials to get things moving.

I really enjoy the work I do but I refuse to allow someone to treat me like garbage or throw things at me. Not sure what will happen when she thinks she can treat me like she does everyone else.

Linda


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bullied in England

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Dear Kalola,

My story started when a new manager came to run the store. I had been working at the store for 12 years. I am a good team leader popular with everybody, ie., staff and customers. I am helpful and willing to share my knowledge. I am diligent and industrious and willing to stand up against injustice.

The new manager began nit picking, criticism of trivial nature all the time asking me to show others my duties then took all my achievement.

I went sick and blamed myself. I was so depressed. I picked myself up and asked for a meeting. Went to the meeting, a new area manager told me straight away I was not up to job.

With all of the prolonged negative stress, I had very bad stress and a breakdown. Sorry out of space.

Jean


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Did bullying occur? Did reverse racial/color discrimination occur?

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I am a production coordinator and I have worked in this position for two years. My bullying began in January when I got a new manager. Her reputation proceeded her but was never described as bullying. I gave her behavior a name after doing research based on my own experiences with her. My new manager is black and most of my co-workers are too. After doing this job for two years, I can't seem to do anything right or to please my manager, yet my teammates are praised endlessly for simply doing small jobs. My co-workers either go along with the program and suck up or say nothing, fearing they will be next. I filed an ethics complaint. Ethics said I had no hard proof of discrimination. HR has said they have had problems with my manager in the past and have worked with her successfully to correct her behavior. I was told I couldn't be moved because we all have to work together. I asked what my options were. I was told they hoped somewhere in the future, I would be willing to sit down at the table with my manager and meet her half way and agree to move forward. I asked for another option and was told, "I guess you could continue coming in to work and see if she gets any better." I did tell my manager's boss I thought she was a bully and if that was her personally, they were not going to change it. I continue to look for other opportunities within the company to move out of my current position. I don't feel HR has done anything to help me and is only keeping me in my position to have someone to report back to them my manager's improvement or lack of.I feel like am collateral damage.

South Carolina Worker


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Please Help, What Are My Rights, Can I Sue?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I am still in a bullying workplace. The person who is bullying is my supervisor. It started immediately after I started. The supervisor is related to the boss and that is why she gets away with it. She does it it front of other coworkers never the boss.

Some examples of bullying; she once said to me “where are you wearing that short ass skirt to?”.

She once said to me in front of two people, “why aren’t you taking notes, don’t come to these meeting without a pad”.

She once said to me, ” I would hope you are not acting like a den bat.”

Just recently she got upset because she has a visitor and because I notified her and she said to me ” I am tired of this from you” and slammed the phone in my ear.

These are just some of the examples. They go on and on.

Please help, what are my rights, can I sue? Do I need to start documenting?

Dore


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bullied to tears

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I was a victim of bullying in more than one of my jobs.  Always being scheduled the same times with my bully.  The boss bully made sure of it in both cases.  Does it wear you down?  Yes.  My co-workers would say one thing to my face and then quite another to my boss.  I would try to deal with it by sometimes becoming quiet during my shifts, while trying not to cry.  My work schedules were very demanding and arduous.  By the time I was near the end of my last job, I was completely overwhelmed.

Physically,spiritually and emotionally, I was a wreck.  Crying at the drop of a hat and no one was supporting me.  I knew that if I took management on, it would turn uglier for me.  I found out much later, if I had gone to the labour board, it would have to be in a certain time period.  I knew the boss had kept a special file for me and had plenty of facts to make, him/her alone, look good.  I am a year and a bit until my retirement. I would love to have a new employ, but will absolutely not allow myself to be bullied again.  I’ll walk away first.  Self preservation.

If you have some assistance in getting help in your situation, do it and make sure you have positive support.  I just didn’t know where to turn.  There’s nothing good in feeling like you are trapped in a circumstance which is not healthy.

I pray and wish the best for all of you.  Persist and press on and remember, you are not alone.

Cynthia


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Let’s Talk for Kalola: The Bully is the Assistant Principal

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

My story began 3 years ago when we got a new assistant principal.  The first incident that happened involved myself and my aide at the time. I was told by the principal I was moving grade levels but not to discuss it with anyone.  So I honored the principal’s request.  The assistant principal (AP) told her/his spouse about the change and the spouse told my aide who was shocked that nothing was said to him/her.  My AP called me into the office and yelled at me for telling people.  I pointed out that I did not and directed the AP to her/his spouse.  The spouse admitted leaking the “secret”. Although small it really bothered me that AP heard gossip and based on that attacked me.  The next events centered around MAP testing. He/She did not want us to use scrap paper.  We fought and pleaded.  We contacted our assessment coordinator who finally allowed us to use scrap paper. The same year my 2nd grade team scored extremely well on the paper test with the majority in the distinguished range.  We were told that next year we would be given a harder test.  So we teach 2nd grade but now we are given the immediate map test.  Of course scores significantly dropped and we were told we were the issue.

Our AP attacked us in a PLC meeting by yelling, throwing paper, and threatening us.  We have went to our principal and superintendent several times and each time they state they are working on a solution. Our AP spreads mean gossip about myself and my team. The AP also has the resource teacher spying on us to create false accusations. They both turned us in to OEA Office of Educational Accountability) for cheating on a test with our building principal being the proctor.  The case was unfounded because it was a total lie.  The AP held our faculty Christmas party at her/his house and we were not invited. We were told not to have any contact with him/her so we go through our building principal who is just trying to sneak on out and retire in less than a year.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Canadian Health Care Worker

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I was in health care, The interview went great, but the question I was asked which threw me for a loop was “How do you handle aggressive coworkers?” I had never been asked that before and so I answered as such. I did notice when I shook hands at the end one interviewer has a confident shake and the other had a limp shake as though she was very passive, I didn’t think much of this, just thought it was weird. And my gut turned it was saying “I don’t really want to work here something is off” I got a call and was hired, and since I had not heard back from another place I had wanted I accepted – though if I had waited I would have received the phone call of acceptance 2 days after starting at this place.

Turns out the people who interviewed me were not going to be my boss. Another weird thing I had never encountered before was my new boss asked me to remove my degree from my wall frame and bring it in so he could verify that I had indeed graduated from an approved college. I said of course I had, that is why I have a license to practice. He said he is in charge and that is what policy states. So I asked my parents to FedEx my diploma from another province and dismantled my diploma and brought it in. It was returned to me with a coffee ring on it. I thought that was rude and said so. He smiled at me and said in a mocking tone “I don’t really care.”

Later on there was a discussion where medical professionals were bashing aboriginals and I spoke up after my boss said “Thank god we don’t hire them.” I found this extremely judgmental and I spoke up and said “Wow, I must have slipped by your radar” and I looked at the other medical professional and said “I am one.” My boss shrank a little bit. That is when it all went down hill. He would stand over me and try and intimidate me with his body language. He assigned me to clean the chairs (I’m a medical professional…), he assigned me to order gifts for a pharmacy rep he liked, he assigned me to janitorial duties. I kept jumping through his hoops. One day in the hallway he sneered at me “You think you are so good, well just remember this, I can have you replaced like this *snaps fingers in a gun finger pointed fashion at me*” I said I understand that, I tried to be humorous with him and I said “You remind me of the boss of office space”. There was a scholarship for a program I was in and another worker and he leaned in near me and said the coworkers name and he kept glancing at me as though wanting me to ask him questions but I didn’t then he said “Well too bad you won’t be able to apply, because you need MY approval” I said “Don’t worry, I know how to work hard to get my education”. Later he said “You have been reported using your cell phone today on the floor.” I said “How is that possible? I leave my cell in the car, go look right now.” He didn’t like that I caught him in a lie. Then he said “Also your documentation is a mess, I have it all here.” I said “How can it be?” He looked at me with a smile and took out a red pen and scratched through all my charting, I was shocked that someone so childish like this was my boss. He told me he couldn’t have me working anymore, and at this point I said “Listen – clearly you don’t like me, you know as well as I know that I haven’t done anything wrong, if you are looking for reasons to fire me, just tell me to quit, don’t resort to bullying.” His eyes looked like he wanted to kill me. Right there I saw the look that he wanted to kill me. After this I brought my cell and put it on record every time I was interacting with him and was able to document a lot of the abuse.

The last shift I worked, after having handed in my tools for the job as requested by my boss… I was injured, bleeding and tissue damage. He never filled out a worker injury and compensation form for me. I called HR and was told they are well aware of his abuse but unfortunately cannot do anything, I asked why, and they said they can’t explain. I came back in from break (calling a few people like a lawyer, a police officer, workplace harassment team, ceo of the organization, HR, past employer, a health professions licensing board) and coming up with solutions as I knew I didn’t think I could handle anymore verbal or psychological abuse as well as preventable injuries on the job without saying good bye to my sanity) and decided to give notice of resignation upon further verbal abuse, which I recorded… and was witnessed by coworkers).

I quit when he proceeded to berate me in front of a coworker on the spot I said “I am going home sick, I’m not feeling well” he said “Oh, do you think you will feel well tomorrow?” I said “Sick enough to hand in my resignation letter at noon”, he told me I couldn’t do that, he owns me for 8 hours a day, I said “No one owns me if they can’t treat me like a human being” Then I listed the employment law act for the province that stated my rights to resign and told him to look it up, then I said next look up criminal harassment. He got the hint and told everyone to go back to work. I said thank you to my team for the privilege of working with honest human beings and said if they ever need help or a witness they know how to contact me. I was able to get written affidavits of the abuse I endured and have them ready with a retained lawyer if in the event he should ever harass me in the future. I have wrote a few for other employees. Never in my life have I experienced that level of abuse with any other human being in my life.

For a year I had nightmares and panic attacks again, all new for me and sought therapy. My allies (co-workers), they too were on the receiving end of some serious petty “one-against-the-other” mind messing but we made a pact and realized he was trying to keep everyone confused and fearful in order to have quick obedience. I think the scarier thing was they had an organization in to address the workplace bullying within the first month I was there, and yet nothing changed, further these were people who people went to get therapy from. The boss hoodwinked the bullying organization.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: The ER Doctor’s Warning – “Get Rid of the Stress”

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

My bully boss enacted a posse of others to support her gossip and lies. She ran several major grants at a public university. I was her star employee, the go-to for all the hard tasks that she felt she did not want to do (or procrastinated on doing). She relied on me to support more than $8 million in grant-funded project activities. And, she never gave me credit or praise for any of my hard work or dedication. I remained behind the scenes as her “secret weapon.” She called me on weekends, evenings—just about any time she pleased.  She gossiped, slandered and complained about everyone in the organization. I listened to her endless lies and complaints—all generated from her own insecurities—for nearly 7 years. I always knew, listening to her, that it was a matter of time before I became her next target.

After nearly two years of working for her, I had my first warning sign that I was under unusual stress. I went the the emergency room at my local hospital with stroke-like symptoms; they told me it was a TIA and sent me home with aspirin. That first warning should have been my last, but it only incited the bully to heap on more responsibilities and a little bit more monetary compensation to keep me in her grasp.

At year five, a fellow employee attempted to expose her bullying and discriminatory behavior. Courageous soul; the university backed her up because she brought in millions from government grants. He left distressed, distraught and demoralized. I knew that I was next—I had complained to several co-workers and one higher-up about her bad behavior. I had started to capture the outrageous lies, the slander, the falsified data she used to support her claims that she was “doing good” for students in need.

My second TIA was more dramatic. It happened nearly two years after the first one. I ended up in the hospital emergency room again, but this time the doctor issued a warning: Get rid of the stress. After that second TIA, her madness escalated. My productivity had plummeted. I scarcely realized that I was depressed and could not focus or function much. Thoughts of suicide were daily and normal. I dreaded each new day … even the weekends, because I knew that she would probably call me to continue her gossip and lies.

When she realized that I was planning on leaving, she resorted to keeping information away from me, using our shared social network to malign me and my good work; she even paid off several of my colleagues with “new” contracts and enlisting them in spreading lies about me, anything to keep me dis-empowered.

I did finally get up the courage to leave. My doctors helped me to make the decision. Medication also helped with my depression. It’s been over a year and a half, and my health has rebounded in the most miraculous ways. My spirit has been set free from the tyrant and her posse. I only hope that I can help others to break free and claim their right to greatness and joy.

Joyce


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