Colleagues Telling Lies About Me To Line Manager - Performance Now Being Scrutinised
I work as a Secretary for a City Council in Scotland. There are 4 secretaries that share an office, 2 of which were there for 2 years before me and another colleague started. The one that sits to my left, (the bully's name removed), started niggling me, ie asking what I'm doing, who was I on the phone to, even though we are the same grade seemed to be monitoring me. I am 37 years old and a very experienced secretary and this woman is 50, so we aren't exactly young girls. This niggling soon became shouting at me, belittling me, undermining me by speaking over me when I was speaking to someone, interrupting me on the phone etc etc. She accused me of having a dirty house, made snide comments about me being single and childless by saying "at least Leanne is young enough to change her mind", saying I should have a breast reduction because I look obscene, although we all wear the same corporate uniform. My colleague, the one who started at the same time as me, told me she had spoken to her when I was on holiday and told her that the way she speaks to me makes her squirm, by telling her she's nosey and cheeky. After a particularly nasty incident I told her that if she ever spoke to me like that again, I would take a Grievance out against her.
I was off sick as my mum had an accident and I had to take care of her when she came out of hospital in January. I was only off a week, but was finding it very stressful as I had to live with Mum while she recuperated at home. My mum broke her hip and couldn't walk unaided, so I very much did everything.
We were working together one day, just the 2 of us, and I was speaking to a colleague in another office. (the bully) complained about me being away from my desk and proceeded to shout at me about where had I been. She then went and made a complaint to our Line Manager who was new in position and had never managed anyone before.
The Line Manager then asked my other 2 colleagues to go and speak to her, and then she went to other offices to ask if anyone had any issues with me. She then went and spoke to my boss who was new to ask how they got on with me. My Line Manager then asked me to her office and told me about all these complaints which ranged from taking longer than my allocated time at lunch, being rude to people on the phone, throwing my arms in the air as if I couldn't cope with work.
This has gone on since February 2009 and my Line Manager is still monitoring me. She has now come up with a Workplan and is questioning my Capability. My Line Manager says it is informal and should finish by 31 December 2009, the anniversary of my Dad's death, which I reminded her about and she laughed and said "Go go out and get drunk afterwards." Nothing has been mentioned about it since. She told me last week it had been dismissed but more was to come.
I spoke to the person who they allege I had been rude to (she's a Police Detective Sergeant) and she doesn't know what they are talking about and is very angry about being involved. I told my Line Manager that I was throwing my arms in the air imitating Miss Piggy in the Muppets, it was just a joke, and that I took longer at lunchtime as I had been asked to arrange an impromptu meeting making me have to re-heat my lunch. I said to my Line Manager that these accusations are false and I feel that I can't win and she smirked "Yes that's right, you can't win".
I have been advised by a friend who works in HR to keep a diary on my colleagues and I've got dates and times of when they have left the office for 2 hours when they are supposed to have 1/2 an hour; one colleague regularly taking 5 or 6 calls on her mobile phone and texts but nothing is said. My colleague (the bully) said if I used my mobile phone that much she would complain about me.
I've caught my colleagues talking about me in the kitchen, giggling about me on the phone, stopped talking 3 times in one day when I walked into the office. They go on nights out and don't invite me, they discuss family and tv and if I try and join in they stop talking.
I went to see my GP and told him that recently I was waking up during the night and it felt like I was waking suddenly and unable to breathe and I start to cough, as if I'm gulping for air. It can feel frightening at times and can happen as much as three times a week. He said these are Anxiety Attacks and that I have to be careful as it can lead to Depression. He said that I should ignore my colleagues and leave them to their own devices and also should try and get away from the office at lunchtime and also to exercise as it promotes a feeling of wellbeing. He also said that GP's are seeing more of the same thing every week.
I am 37 years old and live alone in my own house with a mortgage, I can't afford to resign, especially in this current climate. I have 14 years service and don't want to lose out.
Can anyone advise me? Sorry it's long winded, but I am stressed and it is affecting all other areas of my life.