April 29th, 2011

Podcast 19: Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario

Podcast 19:

Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario

As bullied targets know all too well, they are not believed when they eventually tell their story. How can this happen? How can others be so incredulous? In this podcast, I describe the lengthy process that leads to the destruction of a thoroughly competent veteran worker.

Share this audio with disbelievers, whether they are in your family or at work. Hopefully, it helps. And as always, remember that targets did not invite the misery upon themselves. No rational person would.

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  1. likeSusan says:

    I cried while listening to this podcast, as I relived a very similar experience to Susan’s.

    Thank you Dr. Namie.

  2. Eva says:

    Yes, that’s my work life.

  3. kachina says:

    This is an absolutely familiar to me and the many other targets who were bullied out of my previous place of employment! It may sound ridiculous to unbelievers, but that is partly why it continues. The audacity and downright nastiness are hard to attribute to a human being who appears “normal” and can be quite charming. The targets’ suffering is compounded by the destruction of their credibility.

    • Bill says:

      I feel the same way as this has happened to me in my workplace. It has been ongoing for almost 4yrs. Any time I brought this to the attention of upper management things were dismissed as they thought I had a personal vendetta with the perpetrater. I’am now suspended, during my suspension I went to my doctor in tears shortly explaining my ongoing problems that I did not know what was going on with my body and mind. She immediatly placed me off work diagnossed me with PTSD,Anxiety,and Depression. This has been going on with me for quite awhile since I’ve been working with this abusive person. Time will tell as to how this will play out, I do have the support of my co-workers. I thank God for at least that. My best to you, I hope things workout for you, and realize you are not alone. Respecfully, Bill

  4. Ana says:

    Thank you!

  5. Jacqui says:

    Wow, this is exactly what I went through before I was forced to leave but it wasn’t from one source it was multiple sources within management. They acted in conjunction and tagged teamed me like a pack of wolves until I couldn’t take anymore. I would call my fiance and mother daily in tears because the torment was just too much. About year before I left, I ended up on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications because I would have panic attacks just driving into work, my hair started to fall out, I gained weight because I was emotional eating and slept all the time because I was so stressed out. I didn’t want to do anything and let my personal life and friends slip away. They finally forced me out and they fought my unemployment and I lost because they said I was unproductive, over emotional and disruptive to other workers. This bullying continues at my previous employer. My best friend is still employed there and is still facing this torment. This has got to stop.

  6. MARILYN says:

    Great scenario, I have to listen to it in small increments because I have flasbacks and I become angry. Wish we could do more of this on a broader scale to increase awareness.

  7. Christine says:

    Still recovering and not sure I can listen to it without medication…Will have to do it in bits like @Marilyn. The WBI Instant Poll on “favorite other name for workplace bullying” needs to add “other” with a place to put in your own. What I experienced was “Targeted psychological/emotional TERRORISM”…enabled and ratified by HR…!!!

  8. esther says:

    Excellent. Yes, so true, so sad. It is too bad bullies get away with it. I had a neighbour & her husband that moved next dorr about 10 yrs ago. They wanted more land (mine) so the bullied me/us to try to make us move by siding with the police and having us arrested 19 times in 3 year. We had never been to court in our life, but now at age 57, we were familiar faces there. they finally used enough string to hang themselves. There was little we could do to stop them, altho, we were never convicted of any of their fabricated crimes nor were we fined.

  9. Bev says:

    What a coincidence. I was just telling someone a few hours ago almost an identical scenario that happened to me. I also told her I was lucky that I had access to the internet to get information on bullying otherwise i would still be thinking there was something wrong with me. I really appreciate all of your help as your information helped me identify that I was indeed being bullied and especially that I was not alone.

    I had the same experience of not being believed – HR abandoned me and management was won over by the bully. It appears the system is built to deny any wrongdoing in case they are put in a prejorative position. Doesn’t matter the money it costs to keep the bully or the damage caused to a once engaged loyal employee.

    In my case I did lose my job, but ended up somewhere much better and healthier. The anxiety I had every day I approached the building is now gone. That said, feelings and memories still come back along with a deep sense of betrayal. I haven’t been able to shake it off – almost like post traumatic stress. Counselling has helped me get through those horrible 18 months, but I will never be the same person as I was before nor will I ever “trust” my work employer again. My former co-worker is taking the brunt of being the “only” target left and I hope she gets out of there and gets her life back again.

    Thank you WPB org for all the information and supported you have freely provided to me and the 1000s of other targets.

    Sincerely, Bev

  10. J. says:

    The pattern here is disturbing. Everyone seems to have experienced this in the same way. Even assuming Susan is a composite, the pattern is frightening. In my experience, the behavior of the dean of my college is identical to Maude’s behavior. There are no differences, except that she was here when I was hired. She has done everything Maude did, plus something criminal. Most importantly, she worked directly with and through HR and she is a close friend of the HR director.

    However, my response was not similar to Susan’s. I experience stress related problems, but I remained largely dispassionate at work. I always knew I did not deserve the treatment I received, no one does. I assembled evidence carefully and followed policy and deadlines in making my complaints. Although my outward response was very different from Susan’s, I received the same treatment. I was accused of being “angry” and “disruptive” and of “harassing” other employees. I was treated as if I were insane and I saw a colleague receive very similar treatment. My colleague had also been very professional and relatively dispassionate in making her case. I always thought the response from administration seemed irrational. Administration always spoke in non sequiturs.

    My supervisors seem intensely angered by the fact that they have not been able to completely destroy me, so they work harder at destroying me. I realize I am fortunate in having some benefits Susan did not have. I am a contract employee, so terminating me at will would result in a breach of contract suit. They have no control over my health insurance because I am a retired military officer and I do not need their insurance. So, they work harder to harm me in other ways. They slander me professionally, lie, try to alienate me, etc. They have suspended me without cause and threatened to cut my pay (also would result in a suit). They have cut off access to my work email account, which is the only means they use to contact me. It is a freak show.

    This pattern of behavior comes from HR. Since the reaction of the bullies is the same regardless the response of the targets, something formulaic must influence the actions of administration/management. It all looks scripted at some level. This all reads too much like it comes from a bully guidebook. Increasingly, I think the biggest problem lies in HR. Nothing Maude, or my dean, did would have been fully effective without HR’s aiding and abetting. If we could drain the HR sewer, we might disable the bullies.

  11. Judy Berry says:

    And I thought I was all alone.

  12. Hawker says:

    Decent people do have a tendency to do that thing it says in the Bible: “look for the log in their own eye before the splinter in another’s.”

    However – although no-one is perfect, and there’s room for improvement in us all – there has to be an acknowledgement that to the question: “Is it me?”, in cases like Susan’s (and mine, amongst so many others) that if you’re the “go to” expert who has long been beloved of colleagues and contributed more than anyone to the creativity, productivity and morale of their department or specialism, the answer HAS to be: “No! It’s them!” Easier said than done, I know (although I’ve done it, and continue to do it – much to the fury of my bullying employers) but the very fact that I know they are despised and derided and I am loved and respected is what will always keep me going.

    It’s neither vain nor arrogant to keep hold of the fact that you couldn’t possibly have deceived yourself all those years; that documented figures and accomplishments don’t lie. Bullying may break your physical and mental health in so many ways: but it doesn’t have to break your spirit. Don’t leave an open goal because you’ve taken your eye off the ball and have got confused and over-emotional.

    This approach may help you in court or at a tribunal; it may even help your mental health to some extent. It doesn’t, however, help your physical health. The constant bullying showed itself in the collapse of my immune system and near-death from double pneumonia – aged only early-forties and in excellent previous physical health. Of course, there are signs that it takes its toll mentally: hypervigilance, constant exhaustion, anger and frustration (which the whole family of a bullied person feels on their behalf) – not to mention sitting trawling anti-workplace bullying websites like these for hours on end.

    I’m based in Britain, and have only just discovered the Namie’s excellent work and campaigning – previously, my “guru” on this was the late Tim Field – but the message is the same on both sides of the Atlantic. Only the best are bullied. You haven’t done anything wrong: you’ve just been targeted by some inadequate who finds your competence and popularity threatening. It’s not you: it’s THEM!

    • Kristi says:

      I often blame myself that it is my fault as it has happened to me two consecutive jobs. I look back at my career and have NEVER had a problem such as this. I have always received great performance evaluations. So I ask myself, why now? What is different? The only thing I can come up with is that I am divorced. I can’t help but think there is a connection. All of the above situations sound so familiar. So I can relate. The strange thing is that it seems to carry on in my personal life. . I have sever depression and am being treated. However this seems to be never ending. It’s been 5 or 6 years. I feel this is a personal vendetta that will never stop. Any advice?

  13. Moi says:

    This was very similar to my situation… I cried listening to it. I truly appreciate the efforts of those bringing this issue to the world’s attention. Thank You!

  14. deborah rangiawha says:

    i have come across many different scenarios of bullying in the workplace, alot of it mainly breaking the law and a personal dislike towards my the person i am. Alot of it is made to take advantage of.If you do not know your laws and your own rights. However i have rectified many and i feel for those been through alot and i will fight to this day to not be used as some taken for granted person who employers feel they should treat you, different and reluctantly causing dramas with everything, such as pays,work ethics, and just like to pick a fight. Professional abuse. I took one industry to ombudsman for him using staff to pay for drive off at a petrol stations, especially if they are from your bosses country. How professional abuse and gold digging companies are when they own one, and become greedy. I even experienced bullying in a R.S.L Return services league hospitality and every law they broke, verbal abuse of called a ‘fucken idiot’ by a manager made me angry and upset with his dislikes towards individuals who aint his cup of tea. Retail industry such as Big W who bullied four and a half years and got away with it. I was gladly to leave a gain more education. Out of all these industries i worked for many years, only one of them never got away with it. I know how these people feel. Best to fight for your right and the OHS should take it seriously. Emotional and psychological effects it causes can invade and push the individual to the worse major low self esteem when in the time been bullied. It took me many years too fight and after one year and a half, i went back to work.

  15. Angel says:

    I have seen it, I have experienced it and it does happen all the time. You would think that once you leave middle school and enter adult hood that people would not act this way. However, it does not go away and thank you Christine HR is a big problem! Sometimes people who are bullied so much end up physically hurting those who have bullied them and society want to blame them for not being emotional strong enough, weak, listen to rock, goth music and so on. I mention this because I have seen this happen in the news and I know sometimes people want to hurt themselves also. Just remember its NOT WORTH IT!!! So for those who have been down and depressed about it all, lift your head up, you are not alone and remember if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. Hasn’t that been what we all have been doing…falling for anything. Rise inside-Killswitch Engage (Rock band)like rock or not the lyrics make sense!!

    • “if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything ” — normally applied to politicians, but you are soooo right that it’s everyone’s chance to demand dignity or else …

  16. Grace Wright says:

    This is so dead on it’s scary. I really appreciate this being available.

  17. Karrie says:

    What can one do after this happens? I am just finding my voice after being forced to give up my beloved job/position and take on being on an accommodation list vs. working in my perm full time. I am broke and without hope. I am about to meet with my Union Head in one last attempt to get the situation investigated by an unbiased mediator but ahhh no hope …

  18. harmony says:

    I experienced something like ‘Susan’ and it shattered me for a long time…in fact, I’m still suffering from the long-term effects and didn’t realize till today (reading this site and other workplace bullying postings) that what had happened to me was so pervasive in the workplace.

    I am an accomplished, intelligent person who once consistently got excellent evaluations at any place I worked. After a local branch closure and company wide layoff of local employees at my previous place of employment, I took a part time job in order to return to college and finish my degree several years ago. At first it was a fun place to work. But after I had been there a while and got invited to join another department part time (in addition to my original department), people in the new department started a bullying campaign against me. I eventually lost my much loved new position in the new department after a series of nasty behind the scenes manipulations from a group (which I mistakenly believed to be the work of one individual at the time) in the department that were targeting myself. I didn’t try to fight back, believing that if I worked hard enough and remained honest in my dealings, eventually all would be found out. Too bad I wasn’t more cynical then! They wanted me out, and they won.

    After this, I had so much sorrow and shame that I never did anything about it because I didn’t know how or even if I could beat them at their own game. Unfortunately for my family and friends, they got to talk me through many tears and bouts of frustration. I got depressed and began having anxiety attacks. I can only suppose I must have experienced PTSD from this, too, because I kept having horrible flashbacks about the whole experience months and even years later. I was emotionally debilitated from the experience.

    After this, a different department at the workplace gave me a position which I eventually took time off from to finish some particularly challenging semesters. I recently returned to my old job and was offered again to join the team that had created so much pain in my life. Knowing that the originator of the bullying had since then finally been fired, I accepted, only to find that some of the other members of the team were still playing the same game. This time I am fighting back and documenting and have already filed complaints. I don’t know how it will turn out, and even if I end up leaving there due to stress related problems from the ongoing drama, I will know that I at least put up a fight this time.

    We really need a law against work place bullying that protects the employee in the state of California. I am fed up with having anxiety every morning when I go in to work. I just want to do my job with no fuss and keep my good reputation safe from slander.

    After taking time off from that workplace, and returning, I can see more clearly how highly dysfunctional the workplace relationships are there. I can see that bullies keep getting away with bullying and that there is a pervasive climate of bullying to which the management tends to turn a blind eye. In other words, their silence and inaction is their complicity as, I suppose, was mine the first time round. I am silent no more. I am on the verge of contacting legal representation if the toxicity of employee relations there is not addressed in a healthy manner.

  19. Maria says:

    I have started my new job on October 1st and it apeared to be my catastrophy!!
    My immediate Boss on my first day was working behind closed door, I was not introduced to anybody in comopany, I was not asked how my first day is going, and when I sent my email informing that I was able to acompolish some tasks(a few things had listed in my emai), I did not even get sample thank you!
    But next day, I new tasks not related to my backgroung have been assigned to me, next day I was told to take care of rearranging entire QA/Engineering office space, and on the day when the Maintenance start working on ‘rearanging’ the space, I was asked in front of entire QA/Engineering team what I am doing, and if I had measured evcery inch of forniture before. The reality is, that each time I sent any request to Maintenace or IT regarding rearangement and set-up, my BOSS (who i never available for me) was always cc. in each email and informed about each step, but I never got any feedback from him or advice.
    Another sobject was the assignment for getting labels under document control. During the interview and after interview conversatikon, before I accepted job offer, we discussed, that this is not going to be my function. I do not have background related to labels. A week after I became fulltime employee I was told that this is my function and it is axpected that I will be the “driver” who will be getting all necessary details!
    Other subject is the certificate. During the interview I was asked if I have any training or certificate regarding my job title “Documentation Specialist”. I have them informed that this title comes from my 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical fields and have never been asked for any certificate. They accepted it. A few weeks after I became a regular employee, my manager start telling me (in the area where lots of peiople could here that), that I need some training and certificate and when I asked if my experience is not sufficient, I was told that he needs something written. Everything he tells me is verbal. I do have some evidence of emails I have responded to his request, or the situations where his action is necessary, but there is no response!
    Now when I have presented two versions of new change control system, I was asked for explanation of a few same words (who is the initiator) and two hours explanation to me who really the initiator supposed to be, and when I came up with the strong explanation, that in two Corporate, FDA regulated pharmaceutical companies, where I worked for last 10 years these terms were used and acceptable, he ended the meeting and start publically repeating words being very sarcastic that only I could link this sarcasm.
    Entire change controle system will be postpone until the FDA response is due, then I will be pushed around to have it done!

  20. Julie says:

    Covert bullying is not describe here as typical and it’s not illegal at least in my State but it hurts people, office morale, and productivity. Being dismissed by Affirmative Action, HR and others who have the power to do something before it rises to the more harmful levels had made it so worse for me.

    Covert bullying can be so insidious and harmful. When it’s the bully’s way or no way, what the bully does can be perfectly legal and it doesn’t even have to be overtly insulting to have very real harmful effects. Isolation, intimidation, silencing you, dismissing you, constantly re-framing what you say, taking credit for your work or giving, giving it to favorites, or ignoring it altogether, imposing estricter rules for you, — to name only a few… There should be a law against this!

  21. Emmie says:

    Managers can also be bullied. It can happen when the subordinates agree they do not want a new manager and enlist the help of the officer who supervises a new manager.

    I was crushed from above and below, lied about, treated sadistically and cruelly by boss and subordinates, subject to regular bullying on a daily basis.

    Day to day, I never knew what would hit me. HR was in on the scheme.

    The team and the organization were clearly not ready for the change they “said” they wanted. They were angry every time I accomplished a stated objective.

    I was too naive to realize they wanted status quo, not progress.

    In the end, I was told by my boss and HR together that they “liked my work but didn’t like me.” I was viciously lied about by my staff, who all banded together against me (I was holding them accountable for their work.)

    My boss met with them apart from me early in my time there and appeared to encourage their behavior and activities to undermine the departments’ work.

    The experience brought to life every story andmyth ever heard about state agencies, which I refused to believe (after all, how could a state agency allow such behavior?) Boy was I naive.

    Fortunately I’m very strong, but this just about destroyed me.

    As a citizen, I cannot understand why governments allow money to be wasted
    by employing people who use valuable time to harm others and waste taxpayers dollars by refusing to work and castigating those who work and challenge a toxic, non performing system.

    I was hurt dreadfully and am still healing. As a citizen, I am using some of my energy to demand accountability from our state government and its agencies.

    A lawyer told me that because I was a supervisor, I could not have been bullied by my staff. My boss and HR encouraged staff and acted in concert with them. They just didn’t want anyone with my ethic on board.

    Managers can be bullied and hurt by it, too. I have since heard of several corporate execs who were once bullied and undermined by secretaries and other subordinates. For many of them, it was a long road back.

    Managers can be bullied by subordinates. It does happen.

  22. Rebecca says:

    Please help. I listen to the podcast and it is my story almost exactly except my story is more tormenting. I am on medication I have been diagnosed with PTSD I am in bed and depressed and have anxiety and now have infectious disease contracted from being in the hospital. I am so sick now. I have lost almost everything. I have worked at this company for 20 years and was known as exactly you described in the PC except for that I was a manager. Please help. I cannot perform self help because I am so sick but want to possibly file a legal suite or raise some awareness to bring this to the attention of people. Please please help me.

  23. Mattie says:

    Susan’s story mirrors my own exactly the same. I felt as if you were discribing my situation. I am grateful that you would post this to help educate individuals about the reality of bullying at work. It is not about two people at work having a difference of opinion or personality clash, it is an entirely different set of events. A case where the victim is targeted by the bully who is constructively manipulating and working within the policies and rules permitted within the organization to oust the employee at any cost.

  24. Lou says:

    the same things happened to me by my boss. I was falsely accused of intimidating others because in a team meeting my boss asked everyone to do an extra task and I responded by pointing out that I was a bit busy at the moment (I was performing 2 jobs as someone else had left recently). Two weeks latter my boss said that because I responded with this comment in this team meeting it caused others in the team meeting to be intimidated. After a month of defending myself against false accusations from my boss and the HR department (they just joined in with the bullying), I finally realised that it did not matter how much you had truth and logic on your side, these people are nasty and you can never win. I ended up on medication, getting no sleep and with thoughts of suicide. I eventually left and al those bullies have got away with it. This all happened in Victoria Australia where I am told they have comparatively strong workplace bullying laws. Don’t believe it, this organisation had OHS and bullying policys, procedures etc, but these made no difference at all.

    What I still cannot understand to this day is why do organisations allow this to happen. On a purely economic basis (believe me I have given up in believing that an organisation has any ethics or intefrity), how does it make sense for an organisation to not protect its high performing staff from jealous bullies.

    P.S love your work and all comments. Wish there was a similar site for Australia.

  25. Diana says:

    I am a Union Representative and it is so frustrating to see peoples lives destroyed by bullying in the workplace. I fight this on a daily basis. We really need to try to get some laws established to protect employees.

  26. Morris says:

    My wife is going through this exact situation on her job. She is a federal employee, but her family and I have encouraged her to quit. It has been very difficult for me to see my wife in such a horrible level of depression. It makes me very angry at the people that have done this to her. She had panic attacks all weekend. She works so hard and she is a brilliant woman. My wife does not deserve the treatment that she’s been getting from her supervisors.

  27. Adam says:

    I truly appreciate the fact that this website/blog/organization reiterates over and over that targets such as ourselves are not alone nor to blame.

    This podcast depicts what happened to me personally almost down to the timeframe of what occurred and how long it took to occur from beginning to end.

    Having worked in politics prior to moving into civil service, I am almost motivated by everyone’s stories here to lobby for legislation agains bullying in general and making sure that workplace bullying is included in that legislation. Aside from the hardships of getting a majority support, probably the most difficult part would be reliving the experiences.

  28. dianne says:

    I was also the target of woman on woman bullying. The pattern, details, and escalating nature of the bullying depicted in the story could have been lifted directly from the ordeal I recently endured. I was hired by this woman to replace her last manager who had quit abruptly with no job in sight (in spite of the worst economy anyone can remember). Too late, I learned that I was the 3rd person to fill this position in as many years (which was as long as my troll of a manager had been in her position). Over the next 15 months, stress, anxiety, self-doubt, PTSD, insomnia, guilt, and chronic depression became my daily reality as I tried in vain to keep my pride in work, my self-esteem, and my job intact. It was almost a relief when I was fired for “performance reasons,” soon after being placed in the “progressive discipline” process – which is a farce in itself.

    Sadly, most of the things I learned from this experience are basically negative in nature. For those of you who are currently dealing with a bullying boss, and think you’re on the verge of getting fired, listen up:

    1. HR is never, ever going to help you with a bullying issue. I did not even consider going to my HR department with my problem. Contrary to what some people may believe, HR does NOT exist for the benefit of the employee. They exist solely to handle paperwork, maintain the status quo, and keep the company out of legal trouble. They are OBLIGATED by their function to assist the employer in facilitating the dismissal of employees perceived as “problems”, “poor performers”, etc.

    2. You can throw all ideals pertaining to right behavior, justice, common decency, and fair play out the window. “Might makes right” in this environment. Most likely, the bully will not be fired, disciplined, or demoted. Instead, she will be allowed to continue on her path of destruction and move on to the next target.

    3. The company may try to make you quit first, so they won’t have to pay unemployment premiums. If you don’t quit, be prepared to be fired, at any time. If you’re keeping documentation, which I hope you’ve been doing, get it OUT of the office NOW. Keep it at home, not your car. NOT in your desk or any place that can be accessed by your employer.

    4. You can probably still collect unemployment if you are fired, unless you’ve done something illegal or really egregious (like punching your boss in the face.) However, be very careful that your actions, while you’re still employed, don’t cross the line so the company can say you were insubordinate, which may endanger your unemployment. Refer to your company’s personnel policy for specifics on what they consider insubordinate behavior. Continue to do your best till the other shoe drops.

    5. Really, your best recourse is to just get out. Get another job if you can – unless you feel like gambling additional years of your life, sanity, health, etc. on the off chance that your situation will improve.

    6. Find a good employment lawyer and invest in a one-time consultation. I’m glad I did. I learned some useful things about protecting myself, what my options were, etc. At the very least, I gained a little more peace of mind and some sense of gaining back a little control.

    Ironic, I would have probably quit soon, anyway, because I was at the point of losing my mind. So, I’m unemployed at present, but I would probably be dead if I’d stayed much longer. Am I healed? No. Am I getting better? Yes. It’s a long road back, but with God’s grace, I’m getting there one day at a time.

    I wish the best to all of you!

  29. Donita says:

        Crying was my initial response after hearing this recording.  The only difference in the basic story is that you can change the name from Susan to Donita.  I am to emotional right now to really give specifics of similarities because to dredge that up at this time is too painful.  The tears may never stop. I need some time to mentally process this in relations to my situation without falling apart.
         While my deepest sympathy goes out to Susan with wishes of renewed strength, her story has made an impact upon me and the situation that I am now facing.  It has armed me with definitions and terms for what I  have been actually experiencing.  I was so lacking the terminology to adequately explain the deliberate tactics applied to me.
         Through all of the tears, I am feeling really strengthened, and empowered with new incite.  T……..H……..A……..N……..K……..Y……..O……..U.

    • Maleeta says:

      Donita I cried as well..I feel also as if I am the poster child for being the target…It is empowering to hear the terminology and understand that we aren’t alone..

  30. J K says:

    Win/win or no deal was created to combat workplace bullying.

  31. Suzy says:

    I have been a target for the last year in a locked area of our building. I did not realize it at first. I always had respect and was able to get along with all of my co workers in ALL of my other jobs. I am a hard worker. I come into work everyday and usually enjoy and try to excel at my job. I am usually the one that keeps everyone else up beat. I thought I found my dream job. I am the only woman out of a few others in the group(except director). 11 months ago the main bully (director) asks me if there is any other department that I would like to go to. I asked if something was wrong with my work. She says no. Nothing becomes of this but this starts the path bullying. I stayed on the job as I thought that I just needed to make some adjustments to my work goals. “Strive harder” I say, but things get worse! The director is never in the office. The main coworker bully is the aggressor in this case. He is always the instigater. He gathers others to help and he sets up group talks on situations such as: religion, politics, views on abortion, guns, sex, minorities, drugs, money, president, issues on debate, gay marriage, healthcare, government aid, war, etc. I told everyone even my current mgr. that these topics should not be discussed in the workplace. They reply as this is an open workplace unlike others and it is okay. He is usually sitting in these meetings too. I feel pressured to sit in on these meetings as there is not that much work to do and these meetings are supposed to build rapport with coworkers. The bully continues with off the wall comments on minorities, religion, politics, and general life issues on abortion in the meetings with sometimes heated arguments between coworkers on silly issues. The workload gets shifted. I began to be overwhelmed with larger cases that I do not have the experience for as I am new in this field. I ask for help and it gets put off for weeks from mgr., director and coworkers. They tend to shy away from me and helping me. Another bully comes in as new hire 6 months ago (my replacement). He begins to be my best friend by helping me, encouraging me and then he starts finding out my weaknesses. He tells other bullies and they use that against me. Things such as my personal beliefs, religious beliefs, political views, any issues regarding work and my interracial marriage. All coworkers use slang terms and stories to defame the character that I am. Now no co worker will work with me in the field. I am not sure if it is because I am a women or my beliefs or they want me to quit so they can keep the new guy. I told all of again these issues should not be discussed at work as they are volatile, sensitive, & private issues. Nothing happens. They stage situations and scenarios for me to fall into to. My work gets by passed until it is late. I am excluded from main meetings regarding processes for 30-45 days. I am supposed to work with coworkers on some cases. These cases get by passed, etc. I get no assistance and then struggle with how to and just to complete the work. I finally said enough is enough & complained to the manager. The manager says he will review with director and get back with me. Thirty days passed and nothing. The director apparently talked with all of my workers except me. The situation gets worse. I am excluded even more. I saw one coworker looking at my desk, computer, and possibly personal belongings. Another coworker bully tells me that I should go ahead and quit. Other bullys email me job openings to apply for within the organization. Bullys text me not to come in to work 2 Fridays. One Friday I came in anyway and no one was at work. After that they lied to the mgr on who was at work that day. They got in my face questioning me extensively on what time I came in so they can discover what time they left. One came in my cubicle and pushed my chair down so hard to scare me. Then he also hounded me to death about what time I came in. SO again, I get sick of this type of treatment and being excluded. I complain again in writing an email (instead of verbally). Immediately that day, the director called me in for a meeting. I asked for a HR rep. She told me that I did not need one. She hounded me for information, almost like a “Screaming MIMI” type superior. I discussed all the issues as listed above. She concludes that it is all a misunderstanding, a perception or mindset that I have. I disagree. Nothing happens. NOW, my workload is falling down quickly to about 75% less of what I used to have. No new cases either.
    I am working the best that I can with or without (and usually it is without) assistance. I may fail or be set up to fail but as long as I know that I am doing the best that I can do – well that is all that matters to me! What I truly think it is that these guys just don’t like me because of I am woman, beliefs, politics, work ethics, etc. I believe that they want to be able to work their own schedule, own cases, and at their own leisure (possibly from home). They think that I will report their schedules to the news or higher up bosses. They hardly work a full week every week. They are willing to lie to higher ups to file reports that are untrue in order to reflect a full working schedule. They cannot go anywhere else to work like this with no reporting, no timecard, no work ethic, no rules, no regulations, and no oversight AND receive a paycheck, pension, benefits, etc. I am the wrench that falls into a well oiled working machine with an attempt to lock it up so be rid of me. It is not fair to the working people in this system.
    I am amazed that this happens, how often it may happen and what possibly we can do about it to prove these things. I know as I have been through this day IN and day OUT. It hurts my heart to think that people cannot be adult enough to get along in a work environment. This is crazy. We are all supposed to be on the same team. I cannot believe that managers higher than us do not care about this kind of issue. I do not feel that anyone can help. In this organization, many have committed suicide. I am not exactly sure why but it is scary to think that they may have felt excluded, isolated, with no where to turn especially if HR does not really take bullying seriously! It is difficult for any human to take this kind of repulsion day in and day out. I tried to transfer on several occasions to other departments. I am sure that I look like a reject if anyone would know that I am being rejected. It hurts the human soul to be treated like this. I no longer run the 2 miles a day. I do not love like I should. I have lost friends and my lively hood. I have already lost myself in this mess. I feel so alone, rejected, unappreciated. It is hard to maintain perspective. Help – stress, doubt, insomnia, depression, self worth, self identity, addiction, and loss for life is killing my soul. I need this job. I need to pay bills, eat food, etc. I cannot quit! I have tried excessively to get other jobs and they have been unsuccessful. What can I do? What can any one person do to fight against a group of bullys in a small workplace? How can these bullys live with each other day to day with no guilt or regret? How do they live and even feel good about themselves as people. How can they . Do they know how much it hurts one’s soul, their heart, their life.. .. . . Should I report to HR, even though they will probably do nothing about it? HELP

  32. Suggested Online site

    Podcast 19: Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario | Workplace Bullying Institute

  33. Kristi says:

    I can relate. My health is deteriating and I don’t know what to do. I know I should quit, but my fear is that this personal vendetta is so wide spread that this will continue. I feel my personal life has been compromised as well. Where does one turn. Please help. I hope someone sees this message and can help.

  34. Jen says:

    I’ve endured a nasty work environment for a very long time. It’s been hard and opened my eyes to the reality that way too many people are walking around with sore egos underneath fake smiles. The self talk going on has got to be self-pitying to an extreme in order for these sick minds to rationalize away their behavior. Be sure there’s a lot of deeply angry insecure people wearing “look normal” masks out there. And when these miserable characters find each other, their conduct turns manic. Like a perfect storm of lunacy. They lose perspective even more, become further delusional, and wage career wars against do-gooder law-abiding ethical people. Nevermind that there are pedophiles, terrorists, and murderers walking the planet. Nope. Not important. Their priority is taking out those who probably deserve a thank you.

    At the end of the day, if you’re going to make it through something like this with self-esteem intact (job or no job afterward), you HAVE TO remember the truths about yourself that the sore egos would like you and anyone else to forget. You have to remind yourself everyday who you in fact are and the principles that you stand for. Your self-talk needs to be more profound and more frequent than the magnitude of the vileness and obstacles they’ll keep trying to put in your way.

    Resist the urge to concern yourself about what others will perceive regarding you or your reputation. You can’t control people. I have found that folks think what they want to think and I’m certain this goes beyond my experiences and is probably just a universal truth. If someone wants to think less of you because it makes them feel better, they will. And they are going to. ANY old excuse, true or false, will do. Proof is absolutely not required. And if someone is self-content, he or she is not going to waste time or thought to joining the smear campaign. Yes there can definitely be negative consequences that result from damage to your reputation, but at the end of the day, oddly, your reputation really has little to do with you and much much more to do with others’ subjective and often fallible interpretation.

    There is no easy way through something like this. You already know how sympathetic employers aren’t to this and so you’ll likely be the only one in your corner AND be outnumbered. So remembering who you are in the midst of evil people, knowing what is right, and acknowledging what are truths are all the “support” you’re going to receive. And you’re going to need all you can get. And know through and through that you’re not the only person out there this is happening to. There are many people enduring this at the very same moment you are.

  35. Linda Fuentes says:

    This exact same thing happened to me by a female coworker half my age. She has some kind of rep who guides her activities to keep them just above illegal. It is organized and scripted like a play. They followed me through computers to my next 3 jobs and the exact same thing happened at those jobs, as unbelievable as it is. A new coworker acted out her role. After being laid off from four jobs in a short period of time my work history was destroyed. When my unemployment expired I applied for early Social Security benefits which are reduced. Since there was not another workplace for this to continue my former coworker became my neighbor then looked at my windows when she picked up her mail from the community mail box on my property. She jogs and drives back and forth. I have to look over my shoulder every time I go out. And it is not over yet as there are no laws in my state to prevent a stalker from living near their victim.

  36. Eric Gonchar says:

    Eric Gonchar

    Podcast 19: Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario | Workplace Bullying Institute

  37. C says:

    I have now left my third job due to workplace bullying. I am proud of all my work, but especially pleased with how I disengaged at the last place. I did fabulous work that was publicly recognized, which must have driven my new supervisor around the bend.

    I wrote down the first instance of bullying (she specialized in theft of autonomy) and questioned it, then I wrote down the second instance and questioned it. No answers forthcoming, and not willing to wait for strike three, I gave two weeks notice.

    There was a nice bit of karma at the end — the day after my last day, she sent me a nasty-gram and she received my auto-response: “no longer with the organization, please e-mail new person.” Back at ya!

  38. dc says:

    I am currently experiencing workplace harassment and I could totally relate to the story of susan. I believe that my employer is now taking steps for my termination (same way as susan’s story). The saddest part is that those of us who are experiencing it doesn’t have any recourse at all.

  39. Christina says:

    I have a happy ending to a bully story of my own and one that you don’t hear often.
    I work in the healthcare profession and was singled out and bullied a few years ago. I fit the profile of a target – high integrity, more skilled, educated and talented than my bully, caring and not a game player, independent and confident. My bully was a jealous miserable person who made my life a living hell by lying, sabotaging and just being plain mean to me.
    I decided not to quit but beat her at her game. I did not give up. I called her on all of her bullshit. I made life equally hard for her when she made it hard for me by going to the manager and having meetings called or confronting her one on one about her behaviour. I didn’t give up. I was relentless just as she was but here was the key – when she did even one thing that was remotely nice or kind or even neutral, I gave her positive reinforcement, credit, encouragement or recognition. If she was a jerk again, I called her on it again. Eventually she learned that life was better for her when she was nice to me:) After about a year we actually became friends of sorts. We are not really close but there is a genuine warmth between us that I never thought would be there. It is not a path I would recommend to everyone but it worked for me in the end.

  40. Shelly Sun says:

    Shelly Sun

    Podcast 19: Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario | Workplace Bullying Institute

  41. Goran says:

    This is exactly what i have been through in my working place. I have been working for the company for 11 years, the last two years were terrible for me. New Manager come on board and from the moment he started his role he was abusing me on a daily basis Then he started threatened me if i raised the issues further. If you complain against me, i will complain against you. I raised a complain to HR about his bullying and HR has ignored my complaint. When he found that i was complaining,he turn all the managers against me.
    I went through a lot of stress at work, i was pushed to work long hours, no support, overloaded with work and threatened if i don’t meet my targets i am going to lose my job. The enormous amount of stress started affecting my life and my health. Due to the amount of stress i safer a stroke which i lost part of my vision and then i end up into depression. The company did not overed me any support.
    I raised a grievance to Head Office and they don’t believe me instead they accused me for making false allegations.
    It is still ongoing case and i will do whatever it takes to get my justice. I don’t want other people to go through what i have been and bulling and harassment should not be tolerated.

  42. Sunny Sammie says:

    I came to my present position in a mostly male startup from a large company whose managers specialized in bullying as a management tactic. Things were great until the company hired a woman engineering director who thinks she knows my job because she semi-managed the role before in a different sector with a different target audience. It didn’t take long before she started in on me with constantly pointing out mistakes, failing to communicate deadlines, and accusing me of missing them. (I never ever miss deadlines!) She does things like berate you as to why you’re not working on something over the weekend so she can have it Sunday night, but oh, she’s not available because she has kids. That’s frosted me a couple of times. Then a new engineer is hired (three years out of college with no prior experience in his new role) who decides I’m the most incompetent person in the company though I’ve been performing this role for 20+ years and won numerous awards for my work as well as internationally published. I am commanded to sit in weekly meetings where I am routinely criticized as incapable of performing my job and why I can’t I produce the same quantity of work as a company with 300 people in my role. Unfortunately, his boss is besties with the CEO so he knows that he can get away with this type of behavior. And it’s also discrimination as a male colleague was praised for the work that I did yet I received nothing but scathing comments about information published directly by me. Now, the woman director is teamed with him to tell me how to do my job, and the male engineering director has joined forces because it is now the politically correct thing to do. I don’t know how much longer it will take before I find myself being let go – I am actively seeking other employment. I do feel targeted by this new engineer as I am female and he is of a culture that mandates the domination of women by men. The whole tone of the company is now vicious, demeaning, and belittling as the conduct standard. My VP is trying to help but he is frustrated by the lack of support from his management team. So good-bye to what was a great job because they’re hiring practices are so lax that they’d hire an axe murderer just because he had worked at the same company as they did. Thank you for this organization – this has really helped me a lot today. I have already begun the documentation process but we have no HR dept., just a third party payroll company.

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  49. Sofiya Pavlovna says:

    I look forward to sharing my story soon. Pending litigation but it’s public for all to see which makes my mental and psychological state is at most of the time unbearable but I decided ultimately to never back down for reasons I’d love to share to help others as I know once one gets even halfway the hellish and recently slowly getting vindication from recent depos from the bully employer… Although in all honesty, one would think I should be all sunshine and rainbows, it isn’t that easy. Im glad Dr. Namie is advocating and Im seriously wishing to be an asset to the team, as I mentioned… my story is almost borderline comedic and how many has said “no way a big company would do all that”… well, proof in my end are are solid black and white and one day I will look at myself and smile for being strong, smart and downright bullheaded but I am still human… I wish to one day connect with Mr & Mrs Dr Namie… I actually feel it is inevitable… this comment will mark my gut feeling because I too believe laws against corporate abuse and bullying must be taken seriously and enacted. My heart goes out to all the victims then and now…. Words are easier said than done, we are not robots to be programmed and never allow anyone to invalidate your concerns, no matter how big or small your position may seem. I have learned that you are your own cheerleader in the end hence I felt one day I want to be there for others because I strongly believe that even one ally boosts a kitten into a roaring lion… because thats what really are! If you know your truth, never let anyone convince you otherwise.

    Let’s all work hard to make a change to this unethical and harmful practice by companies who treat the very workers who actually is the reason they generate them revenue in the first place!!! Never let your silence be your consent or condoning their unacceptable inhumane behavior and actions.

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    Podcast 19: Typical Workplace Bullying Scenario | Workplace Bullying Institute

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