What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Dental Hygienist

For 2 1/2 years I worked for a woman dentist in northwest PA, during this time I witnessed and experienced the most cruel, manipulative, evil behavior thrusted on employees that I have ever seen in my 20+ years as a working woman. I was warned by one of her peers before I ever met this woman, but I was in desperate need of a job. I had sent an unsolicited resume and when I went in for the interview she did not even look at me, she just asked me to come in the next day for a working interview. Alot of people do not come back after a working interview because this woman cannot control herself for any length of time and her true colors come out quickly. I however as a hygienist, worked with the hygienist I would be replacing, and she was pretty nice.

I was offered the job before the end of the work day and when asked how much I wanted, I stated ($), she stated 3.00 an hour lower and said she would raise me up to ($) (what hygienists in the Erie area were making at the time), after 90 days. I later found out that this is routine for her. She offers a raise and benefits after 90 days, THEN after 90 days, when asked for what was promised, the employee is told they are not good enough and are screamed at, berated and belittled throughout the meeting. If an employee tries to talk and stick up for themselves, they are headed off with the most evil glare and told not to back talk.

One of the first incidents for me was while answering the phone (it was not allowed to ring over 2x before being answered or else), the secretary couldn't get to the phone so I answered and was taking info from a patient, the tyrant, as I will call her from now on, was hitting the buzzer for me. When I got off the phone she came looking for me and started screaming at me for not coming when she called, when I tried to explain that I was in the middle of taking info from a patient on the phone, she stopped me in mid sentence and told me she did not take any excuses when she says jump you better jump. That was my second week of work.

Im just going to give a couple incident examples, but this kind of behavior went on hourly throughout the work day. Another incident that will explain what kind of person she is. The assistant had worked through her lunch (happened a lot), and about 3pm she asked the tyrant if she could just step into the break room and take a drink of her water, well when she came back, tyrant noticed that she had also taken a bite off a granola bar and started telling her, I TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD GET A DRINK, NOT EAT!!! Controlling???

We, the clinical staff, were not permitted to talk to one another, go to the bathroom without permission (which you did not want to ask because she made you feel pathetic for asking) I got caught going to the bathroom and had to stand there as a 47 yr old woman and justify it by saying I have fibroids and it hurt to hold it.

I am sooo mad writing all this, cause I cannot believe I let it go on and did not stand up for myself and other affected co-workers at the time. (I eventually did, I'll get into that later)

Other incidents, staff was yelled at and blamed for doing everything wrong, then told to punch out and go sit in the breakroom and think about what you do wrong. Daily talked to like a child being scolded. Myself and one other staff lasted 2.5 years, 13 others left over that time, they were girls in their 20's and we were in our 40's. The 20 year olds did not have families to support so they only took it for a few weeks, then quit.

The tyrant took 4-5 weeks a year off and either drastically cut our hours or did not schedule us at all, however, we knew enough not to apply for unemployment or her mistreatment would increase, one bold girl did apply and when the tyrant got back, she took this brave young woman into her office and chewed her out for 15 minutes. Later that day, the bold young woman walked out the door. Most of the girls walked out in the middle of the work day or just simply did not show up after lunch or for the next business day.

The tyrant makes up rules on the fly, to justify her tirades. We would get to laughing at lunch (to try to stay sane you had to laugh) because yesterday you were told to do something this way and the next day that way was wrong. Can anyone say CRAZY! Unrealistic demands always placed on us, told us to make dentures and partials fit a patient, when the cheap out of state dental lab she used, made them wrong in the first place. Fitting them, by law, is not OUR job. Oh let me tell you, us girls were so good at filling and building up broken teeth, it was amazing. All the while the tyrant sat on her butt in her office playing games on Facebook.

We dreaded children coming into office, they are not the most compliant of patients and when they did not want to sit still in the dental chair, instruments flew, assistants hands and forearms were grabbed and shoved, it was all our fault the little ones did not comply. Supply ordering day was hell, we were always accused of being wasteful and it was stated that she was going to take money out of our checks. We were made to wear the same dirty mask all day. Can anyone say cheapskate!

Speaking of money, neither one of us, the staff that stayed for over 2 years, EVER got a raise, we stayed at the before 90 day promise. We heard from ex employees that she never gave raises and if you insisted on a cost of living or anything, she made your work days so miserable, you quit. The assistant that quit 3 months after I started had been there for about a year and a half, she was so confident in her work, remember, the tyrant was lazy and made the assistant do most of the work, that she respectfully insisted on a raise. After that, the OTHER brave young woman was told to leave the room every time the tyrant stepped into it, told to clock out and go home early, told not to come in at all some days, just made this young lady's life a living hell.

Fast forward 2 years, this evil woman has taken her toll and our lives, myself and the other lady who stayed for over 2 years, I started therapy with a wonderful christian therapist, and I watched as my co-worker dropped over 30 pounds and was not allowed to have a life outside of work, absolutely no exaggeration, she was not permitted to leave the office. until the tyrant LET her. I watched as this lady miss family things, appointments ect. There is not one reasonable bone in this tyrant, and she did not care if this mom was at the office for 10 hours already that day, she was not permitted to leave if asked to be able to go to her child's baseball games or such.

March of 2011, The tyrant was on another one of her vacations, I believe it was March 11, my scheduled day off and the 2 assistants were off also, it was a Friday. A patient called to say a crown came off, the office manager called all of us to see if we would come in and put it back on, there was a snow storm, which cause Erie city to announce a state of emergency. Two of us live about 30 min away and we did not feel obligated to do her any favors and drive in. Upon returning, the tyrant had it out for us, after all, we said no to the all mighty herself.

There was no holding back after that. We were treated with such contempt, disrespect in front of the patients, a person cannot fully describe the behavior of a grown adult who acts like a spoiled bully child. When asked by people why I did not stand up to her, you are in shock and do not know how to respond to such childish behavior by an adult, a person is utterly dumbfounded. We all put up with the non-stop scream fest, blame games and such, by the week of April 5, we dropped like flies, one by one we all walked out in one week.

How To Deal With Workplace Bullies: What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Comments for Dental Hygienist

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Re; Dental Hygienist...
by: Sarah

I am not in the dental profession so I cannot comment on the stresses or problems that people in that profession may face.
As I can only go on what you have said, I would say that the best (and probably the safest) way to deal with a psychopath is to avoid them completely.
I've met my fair share of such disordered individuals in my own life, and I think it is fair to say that you are better off getting them out of your life altogether.
I doubt there was much anyone could do to change this woman, so rather than have their lives and health ruined, they were better off going as well.
It would be easy for me to say that you ought to put a hidden camera on you, log incidents, complain to the general dental body etc...
But at the end of the day, people like this woman always seem to win more friends in a fight.
I know you are still hurting, but in time the pain will ease.
You'll probably never forget them though. All we can do is try to be more careful next time.
Best of luck and try to stay positive.

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