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


Let’s Talk with Kalola: Target Called 911-Bully Arrested

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I was working in a trucking and logistics company, as a winery yard supervisor in California. From my first day on the job, I heard stories of our former supervisor and dispatcher who had been demoted to 'truck driver.' Word on the docks was that this guy was #1 workplace abuser who repeatedly threatened my coworkers and forced people to quit. Not on my watch.

His name was "X" and he quickly became my abuser. He was known to be very, very disgruntled for having been demoted, and everybody knew him as a ticking time bomb. But rather than submit to his abuses, I took them head-on and took an assertive and confident approach to him. All of my coworkers were afraid of him, walked on eggshells for him, and submitted to his abusive and angry whims. Not on my watch.

We began clashing from the first day on the job, when I did not listen to "his" instructions when I was the boss. He began to yell at me, point his finger in my face, and threaten my job from day 1. I filed internal complaints, and immediately experienced retaliation by his buddies in a satellite office of the company.

Over the period of three weeks, I filed internal complaints by writing and verbally, and this caused the ticking time bomb to explode. One evening, "X" was acting very paranoid, jittery, agitated. I sensed something bad was about to happen. He started to instigate our winery forklift drivers by saying that I was not "doing my job," and I confronted him by trying to "have a talk with him." He began to scream at me and use profanity, and I told him straight that he was not going to come down here and harass or bully me, or my coworkers. This set him off. The abuser quickly rushed me, got in my face, and punched me in the jaw. I called 9-1-1. He was arrested and is currently being prosecuted for workplace violence.

The fallout from this event has been particularly damaging to my career. We had heard all along that we could not tell our corporate office of this man's workplace abuses, because we would be 'forced to quit.' Yet I violated this workplace taboo and did exactly that, and took it a step further by having the criminal justice system step in and prosecute the known abuser.

Almost immediately, I have experienced workplace retaliation, demotion by our supervisors--who just happened to be his buddy--and have been told to drop the charges a number of times. I got OSHA and the US Department of Labor involved, and they have enough to charge my supervisor with a Whistleblower Retaliation charge in violation of Section 11(c) of the Federal OSH Act. The federal whistleblower protection program has been my only source of comfort in this whole mess, and I look forward to watching my abuser fry in a courtroom very soon.

California Worker


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Nurse Reports Being Bullied and Sexually Harassed

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I am presently employed as a Registered Nurse in a large acute care hospital for two years. I have always had a good evaluation on paper, yet my co-workers and managers are constantly trying to demean me by making derogatory remarks regarding my work and private life. One of my managers stated that a patient complained that I did not treat him professionally, and then stated that she, the manager had heard this about me before. When I asked her to be more specific, she could not present me with any real facts regarding her statement and was just trying to intimidate me. I have also been touched inappropriately by staff without my permission after I had explained that I suffered from PTSD from a previous physical attack in the past and did not like to be touched. When my manager found out about my condition, she purposefully made it a point to touch me giving me a knowing look that this was the reason that she did this. It was intended to be cruel and abusive. One of my co-workers made sexual gestures to me without touching me but another one did touch me in my private areas. In this facility, nothing is kept confidential by the staff whether they are collegues or management and If you say anything to defend yourself, you will be under attack and it only makes it worse. I have been accused of things that were untrue, like substance abuse, which can be very detrimental to my employment, never mind the fact that I have been accused of affairs in the work place and out of the workplace, which is entirely untrue. I go for random drug tests and they have always been negative. I believe that someone outside my workplace has made accusations about me, but when I ask if I had a negative reference, they always say no. The remarks that are made to me are slanderous and I will take it to another level if I have to. I honestly don’t know what to do and would like some advice. I would like to find other employment, but I cannot take less pay, so there is a lot at stake.

Emma


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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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