Hostile Behavior and Defamatory Name Calling in the Federal Workplace
(Seattle, WA, USA)
I am a 6 year veteran with a federal agency. I have attained stellar work performance reviews. I receive annual bonuses for performance. I am punctual. While conservative, I am courteous to those around me. I am the target of workplace bullying and mobbing.
The trigger was my complaint to management that my coworker who sits next to me (divider between us) sings during the day loudly and plays her radio. We are on the phone all day listening to client information. She has done this for the year that she has sat next to me. She bangs on her desk when I am in the middle of conversation so as to preoccupy my concentration. She cross-talks with her next door neighbor loudly, boisterously with no regard to the noise level. I complained because her noise is making it difficult for me to focus on the technical accuracies of my calls. It is a critical element to 100% accurate work performance in my job.
After I complained over a year ago, this coworker began to systematically harass me in many ways, colluding with her neighbors that she did not like having me on her team, back-stabbing me, isolating me from events she would plan, approaching me in the corridor when no one was around with aggressive and hostile body language. In essence, this woman was retaliating for my complaint to management about her singing and radio.
Lately, this coworker has gotten more overtly aggressive, making derogatory comments about my performance in the midst of many other coworkers, calling me derogatory names in public ("dizzy broad"), calling me a liar. We had an altercation last Friday where she accused me of an action that was a fabrication. We were both called into the manager's office to resolve the issue. She insulted me numerous times and she threatened my job, saying, "You are on your last legs here, believe me, you are on your last legs."
Management has been supportive and offered to move me to anther workstation. I declined because that will not prevent this woman from successfully bullying another person. The mobbing has occurred with 2 other coworkers on my team. She has turned them against me to the point that they also approach me with aggressive negative body language, or engage in conversation with me so as to inspire a negative response from me, so that the mobbing will appear justified.
This type of behavior escalates when management does not know how to manage the hostile employee. The coworker has been there for 15 years and from what I have heard, she has had numerous complaints reported to management about her singing and radio during work hours, and also her uncontrollable temper. She has been spoken to by management. Yet she continues with the poor work behavior and temper tantrums. Management must embrace the fact that workplace mobbing and bullying is commonplace nowadays and they must get training on conflict resolution as soon as possible in order to quell the aggression before it escalates into what I am experiencing. Bullies are only as powerful as the vacuum allows them to be. Eliminate the vacuum, the bully has no authority to continue the bad behavior.