What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

HR Heart of Toxic Workplace Rife with Bullying, Sexism, Racism, Corruption

by New_Wave_Princess

When I got my now former job (June 2005) I thought I'd be happy. Everyone seemed cool, the job looked like something I'd enjoy, and my boss looked like a dream. I was one of the few women who were in the department, but didn't think much of that. My boss told my male coworkers to take me on field trips to other locations to get an idea about the place. I thought I would be training people at these locations and I was excited. The commute to the office was over an hour and a half while the field trips were only a half hour. This was fun. I thought I hit the jackpot. Wrong. My time to go in a field was short term.

While this seems minor, it was the beginning of being lied to. After all, not many people do get the chance to go on field trips all the time. However, there was a bigger issue: I wasn't hired to be a trainer. I was hired to be an training assistant. Not what I was told on the interview. They told me I was hired to develop training programs on basic skills and computer, and train people. By the time I found this out, I had been there several months. Apparently everyone knew this but me.

My coworkers started giving me menial work to do, such as counting pencils, stapling papers, etc. Another coworker started teaching the basic skills classes I thought I was going to teach. He didn't want to teach these, but they refused to let me do it. When I started to finally balk at doing these jobs (keep in mind these were the only jobs I was doing) some of my coworkers started being nasty. They started going out to lunch without inviting me (and mentioning it right in front of me). Started doing a lot of nasty things. This was November 2006, and luckily I had a place to go during a lunch break (Tower Records down the street was going out of business). Later on, they finally found out I was the victim and was lied to about the job. They apologized for being so mean.

However, my coworkers weren't by far the meanest, HR was. The head of HR got her job from being the mistress of a politician. She had zero experience in it, so never knew how to deal with people. I thought when I started to have issues with my coworkers about the work, I'd go talk to HR. The people in HR (all buddies of the politician) told me how worthless I was, how I should be happy I had a job (even though I had several offers when I took that one), how unimportant I am. When I questioned why a male coworker was making more (with less experience and education since he was 23), the response was "women wouldn't like his job". This wasn't the only time I had trouble with them. For about a year (from Dec 2005- until I got laid off) I was in the HR department at least once a week. Someone was making up stories about me. One person said I was wearing stiletto heels (never owned a pair), someone else said I was coming to work drunk (I never drink). I think it was the head of HR since I found out she only got her job through her lover.

By Spring of 2006 my coworkers were being nice to me, but HR still wasn't. One of the women in HR (who I like) told me that it was a plan to get rid of me because I was questioning the corruption and the sexism/racism. They started having me train someone in a field I hate (accounting). When I found out the previous trainer made $20,000 more, I requested more money. Instead, my boss' boss (who was fooling around with one of the head HR people) told me he wishes I would die. Told me I wasn't getting a raise because I was an "uppity" b*tch. Stupidly, I gave in because I was afraid of being unemployed.

Needless to say I was let go. They decided to get rid of my boss (he was an alcoholic) my one coworker (fired him while he had a stroke). Since they needed to cut jobs, mine was one to be cut. Oddly, I'm so much happpier. I was miserable there. Constantly crying. A job isn't worth being miserable. Several of my coworkers (they were hired long after I started having problems) saw what I went through and they found jobs other places. Other people heard I got let go, and told me they envied me. Told me how they were told they were worthless. Informed me they all went through it. Women told me stories of sexism. Several coworkers told me I gave them the courage to speak up. If my being picked on by bullies helps others speak up, it was all worth it.

Comments for HR Heart of Toxic Workplace Rife with Bullying, Sexism, Racism, Corruption

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Many HR Departments are Bad, But This One Takes the Cake
by: Anton Hout

Glad to hear you are so much happier now that you are out of this toxic workplace.

Again the lessons to business are clear as they lost not only you but several other talented employees (plus attendant costs of recruiting, retraining, etc.). But I'm sure these lessons would be lost to this HR department entirely.

Many targets of bullying find themselves in the office very, very frequently answering to lies spread by bullies. This serves three purposes. It causes extreme stress levels for the target. The bully gets to delight in the suffering they are inflicting or have manipulated managers/HR into inflicting. Managers/HR are able to use each of these "incidents" to manufacture an excuse to terminate the target.

HR departments have a horrible track record and reputation but this place takes the cake.

Washington US
by: Sandra

You so had a case to sue them! Just the comment about why you were making $20,000 less than a male co-worker would have done it. Doesn't matter if the HR person was a woman.

Sick of HR Too!!
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you mean about HR. I am a white woman working for the South African government. HR sent me the wrong letter of appointment and when I questioned my salary after my first pay check, I was told to just accept it because I am earning more than I did at my previous job.

Now when I need assistance from people in other departments for advertising campaigns, etc. everybody is suddenly too busy to help me straight away or they say the person in charge of that thing resigned, etc. They are making it impossible for me to do my job. I think they want me to give in or be fired.

I have been here for more than 14 months and still I have no computer. I have to use my own computer. Yet interns get a laptop within one week of starting their job. I am sick of this disgusting rascist country that I live in. Really, if anyone out there thinks that white people are the rascists in SA, think again!!

I'm The One Who Posted That
by: new_wave_princess

I noticed that I posted the wrong dates. Likely because I was writing fast. I just wanted to clarify.

June 2005, got the job.

June-August or September 2005 field trips.

October 2005, started looking for another job, when I noticed I was being lied to.

August 2006, told I was being paid less because "a woman wouldn't like his job".

November-December 2006, started going to Tower Records during lunch. This is when I was accused of wearing stiletto heels, drinking and everything else. This abuse continued until December 2007 when let go.

Summer 2007 was when I was told I was an uppity b*tch and that they hoped I'd die. I requested more money, which I should have gotten.

December 2007 I was laid off. What I don't mention in the post is how they kept trying to get me, my boss and my one coworker to go to "counseling". I went and the so called counselor (who didn't have a degree in counseling) told me how I was wrong and they (HR) were right.

Networking for jobs is corruption
by: Anonymous

Today, networking for jobs is considered the norm with and estimated 80 percent of jobs being filled through networking. This has ensured that its who you know and not what you know that determines who gets the position. Your experience at HR with people who got their job because they knew the politician is testament to this problem. Yet many American's continue to use this method to find jobs! The end result is incompetent people in various positions of authority and collapsed companies resulting in a collapsed US economy. For more information on this problem, visit my blog habarishujaa.blog.com to read my write-up "Toxic Employees".

At my wits end....
by: Michelle

I can relate to alot of your problems; however, I have not and will not even BOTHER dealing with my HR department; the head of HR is a barbie-doll looking creature with a perma-smile who will always side with the supervisors, no matter what is told to her...
Presently, I am working at a cookie factory; I started out as a temp (May '08) on the packaging line; in Aug. of '08, I was hired full-time, by Feb. of '09 became one of the ovenroom staff, till this day...
I work an afternoon shift; I'm the only female in the ovenroom, visible minority to boot. I have NEVER worked in such a sexist environment as this. My supervisor avoids addressing me at all times unless it's to ask me to work overtime or to bitch me out about something. I've got coworkers lying out their pathetic asses about me, saying I'm lazy, not doing my share of the workload, coming to work drunk, if not flatout drinking on the job, I'm hard to get along with... my supervisor, when he does address me, does so with thinly veiled contempt; I'm not aware of having ever said or done anything that merits this attitude from him, but it's there nonetheless, and he's surrounded by cronies who have taken a liking to addressing me in the same manner, and he laughs when they openly insult me in front of him.
Those telling the lies about me have much more seniority then me, and know they will be believed before I will. They seem to be hooked on this 'she's drunk' theme... they watch my every move and facial expression; if I appear happy, I'm drunk...if I don't appear to be in a good mood, I'm drunk... if I'm not friendly towards one who I know is lying about me... yep, I'm drunk... I am regularly accused of dropping foreign objects into the batter mixers, which would not only cost thousands of dollars in lost product, but possibly lose contracts for the company...only thing I have going for me in that regard is that I'm known by the Q.A. department as being a stickler for doing things to the letter, and actually reporting any mistakes directly to them.
I'm afraid I'm going to go 'cookie monster' on them any day now. I would love to quit, but employment is at a low in my area right now; and the money is good and I can't afford to just walk; however, I know they're trying to either force me to quit, or build a case against me so they can fire me. Either way, I'm screwed, so I'm more and more feeling like I might as well go cookie monster and let'em have it... I'm not talking violence now, just finally, once and for all, letting them have a huge piece of my mind...

Fix the problem
by: Anonymous

If you feel like fighting back join a union. I had the same problems in my work place but I turned to my union for help and made a change. You don't have to put up with it. Fight back and stop this from happening to others.

Annoying workplace
by: Anonymous

Just reading all the above makes you wonder what more a person can do...
I am in a similar situation, started a job (again misled as to the requirements) - really got into the work, was the shining star initially - apple of the boss's eye - but the staff that was there longer didn't seem to like it. Now there is a group bullying mentality around, making/exagerating things to make me seem lazy. Not helping with simple tasks, and trying to get in the way. Basically doing anything to sabotage my progress. The worst bit is when they get HR involved. HR are notoriously inept and inefficient and never have a clue as to what is going on. They are also adamant to keep the boss's ear. The worst thing is that the racism and sexism is rife. It is a profession that is notoriously sexist and coming to work is getting painful. If I'm not crying I nearly always feel like crying and I can't see myself continuing much longer. Whatever systems are put in place to cope with bullying, don't work. It seems like its more about playing the game than doing your job...like the previous person, I feel like I will snap...

to Join a Union
by: Anonymous

I have been a staunch supporter of the concept of Collective Bargaining, decent wages, health care and pensions (all that the Union idea once stood for). However, I have worked at several Union Head offices an they are completely corrupt entities. In (name of union and location removed) not only is the HR department staffed with bullying idiots, but their hiring practices prohibit outside talent from ever being considered for full-time employment. I was hired as a auxiliary and was treated as sub human, HR seemed to be at the core of this problem. In my efforts to assuage the problem I sent one HR individual a paper called "the psychological contract" which talks about mutual respect in the workplace, this got me blackballed completely from ever working as a auxiliary employee ever again. My performance evaluation was a joke stating i had been late by 5 minutes even though my job incluede stopping at the gate in the morning using my car, my time and gas wear and tear on my vehicle to pick up the their mail. That I had called fellow employees at home even though they had encouraged me to do so. Oh and I had photocopied too many of a manual. It sounded like a grade six report card from an inept teacher.
Anyway what I am hearing is there is alot of bullying in the workplace and literally most of it comes from HR departments whom I think are largely staffed by PSYCHOPATHS.

Become an Activist
by: Anonymous

http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/volunteer.php

Try the EZ Letter feature on that link.

Since my second job working as a teenager and continuing up till now almost 20 years later, I have dealt with female bullying based mostly I believe on envy of my decent looks and also because of my sense of integrity and independent mind. All of these traits seem to really unsettle the competitive vain female, plenty of which are out there in the workforce. Almost every job I've ever had has employed women who were and are free to inquire with me as to my diet, my style (or lack thereof), my nightlife, my social life, my family life, my sex life, my dating life. You name it. Pretty and/or competent women with integrity be warned! Coworkers want to get PERSONAL (not PROFESSIONAL) with YOU. That is the woman hating culture we live in. Its fed by men AND MOSTLY BY threatened WOMEN who are uneducated and hate the professional schooled woman. Women need to stop denying the envy that they like to hide away and pretend doesn't exist. Women need to stop pretending that jealous and envy are unheard-of concepts. Jealousy and envy make the world go round, DAILY. Believe it.

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