What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Workplace Bullying Alive and Well in a Large Aerospace Firm

I work in a large Aerospace firm in Germany. I am a US citizen. I have been employed with the firm for over 3 years, on the same project incident free.

For the last month, my life has been turned upside down, and not a single coworker can tell me why.

Usually, if there are issues or problems in our team of 15, we talk about it immediately to resolve the issue. From one moment on, its like they heard a juicy rumor, the usual coworkers I go to lunch with, will not associate with me. They make homosexual innuendos all day to me (I am not gay), seeing if I will crack. The supervisor has joined in on the innuendos also.

I had approached the bully, and asked why you are making innuendoes about me, and he had said, its only a joke. Of course now the coworkers have identified something which irritates me, and have intensified and broadened their harassment using multitudes of other coworkers to join in "the fun".

I have heard other innuendos that "I need to be taught a lesson", and "I need to be controlled". I have some ideas where the originator of the bullying is coming from, which is a former colleague who works on a different project.

I have interest in changing to the same project, and will in June, but I believe this former colleague does not want me on his team. The former colleague I believe is a textbook example of a workplace bully, who requires an array of coworkers to use as puppets to do the dirty work, as he sits back and watches the show.

I believe there is a deep seeded resentment with this former work colleague that I had not joined his clique, due to my own choice of not wanting to be controlled.

I am not cliquish, I don't join bullying groups, which I believe there are many in this large firm, Bullying is widespread and accepted in this firm.

How do I resolve this issue?

Comments for Workplace Bullying Alive and Well in a Large Aerospace Firm

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Not Much Help
by: Anonymous

I can sure relate to this one as the same exact tactics are used on me every day.

At first, I ran away, only to face the same thing on the next job and the next one after that. I've suffered for a good many years, afraid to say anything for fear of another mobbing.

I don't know if there is a good solution to this or if there is any way to stop it. Generally, I pretend to ignore and continue about my business as nothing happened and get ready for the next bout.

Lately though, I've taken some pleasure in "irritating" some of my antagonists on an individual level one on one.

I too would like to know how better to deal with these situations. Good luck to you.

Your Stories Are Mine!
by: Anonymous

Reading over your story and comments made me stop, stare and shiver; then re-read what you have written just to be sure. Your stories are mine - to the last letter! While I feel some relief that I am not crazy and am not alone - I too hope somebody out there can help.

The steps I have decided to take (today actually) are to see an attorney and to a get some professional help emotionally. I can't turn to my family - this is so completely out of the norm of our lives that they can't comprehend it. And - I'm so broken and bewildered that I end up feeling like maybe they blame me or think it's my fault or that perhaps (just perhaps) there is something "wrong" with me. I know they don't - but it's how I feel and how I've been made to feel about myself. Horrible!

The only thing that keeps me sane is knowing there are others like you - with the exact feelings and experience. That and I did an excellent job for 8 - 9 years with my company - and received numerous awards (internal and external - one being from the Cnd. Red Cross) as well as I serve (as the chair) of an international board ... so I can't be a chimp - can I?? See what I mean ...

So - all I can say is - I want my life back and I'm going to start by taking action through an attorney and through professional help for my physical and emotional well being.

Bullies Thrive Where Management Condones Abuse
by: Anton Hout

Sorry to hear you are experiencing bullying where you work. Try not to let them see that their innuendos bother you. It's childish but bullies enjoy seeing you get upset about what they have done. It makes them feel powerful when they think they have "gotten to you". If you don't respond to their remarks it may help to take some of the fun out of it for them. But this is the kind of bullying motivation we usually see in children.

I would think twice about joining the project where you know the bully works on the team. I don't know if you have the option of not going to work on that project but unless you are prepared to play serious office politics and beat the bully at his own game you might want to find a different project to work on.

But this is also difficult in your case as the company tolerates bullying. Unless there is the serious will on the part of management to stop bullying it is almost impossible to stop. If you complain and go to Human Resources you will be the one who is fired. The bully will keep his job and may even be promoted.

Be sure to document every bullying incident as you will need this information if it comes to a tribunal or court case later.

There is a clinic in Germany that I've heard of called Berus Clinic (Klinik Berus) that helps those who have suffered from mobbing. Here is their link: http://www.ahg.de/AHG/Standorte/Berus/

It is important to deal with the stress caused by bullying. The impact on your health and career cannot be overstated. Hopefully you will be able to find a bully-free oasis within this company and be able to work on projects without interference from bullies. In the meantime take care of your mental and physical health so you can remain as calm as possible at work. Don't allow yourself to be baited into making an emotional response at work. If you do it will be turned against you and will likely be the beginning of the end.

I know this is a highly specialized field but if possible begin to find other employment options. Do your skills translate to other similar fields with other employers? Could you start your own consulting firm? Just having an exit strategy and the knowledge that you have other options will empower you and lessen the impact bullies can have.

AGG Legal Options!!!
by: Aerospace Experience

Hi there! Being from Germany I´d recommend exploring the new anti-harassment law, the "AGG" (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungs Gesetz), check an official law text at http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/agg/BJNR189710006.html

They are discrediting you on the grounds of sexual orientation. You are not gay, I understood, but one way or the other, they are putting you in a hot seat for the same reasons. Point that out to them! You can claim charges. In Germany you cannot record information for court but try to enlist other witnesses or forms of proof. Badmouthing you (slander) is a serious offence! I think it´s §185 (Beleidigung), §186 (üble Nachrede), §187 (Verleumdung) of the BGB code. I am not a legal professional but had to fight similar situations successfully.

Good luck!!

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