What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Workplace Bullying

by Natalie
(California)

I was beginning to feel like the only person in the world who was aware of the bullying going on in the fast food industry. I was bullied horrifically at the McDonald's that I worked at for five years. I finally quit because I realized that no amount of money is worth the psychological damage that place was doing to me.

So here's my story: When I first started working at McDonald's, everything was going well. I learned things quickly, my co-workers seemed to like me, and everything was going pretty smoothly. I had a little trouble learning the cash register, because for some weird reason, nobody ever took the time to show me how to use it. Still, I was confident that I would learn at some point. I felt that I was productive in every other function of the job. Also, during the entire five years that I worked there, nobody bothered to train me how to work at the drive-thru teller window. I was still confident that I would learn.

Everything went well for 9 months. I was improving at my job and getting more hours. Then the bullying began. It started with one person. She would normally work at the drive-thru teller window. I would normally work at the "presenting" window. She began to nitpick everything I did, telling me to "hurry up" and occasionally would walk up to my face and try to intimidate me by saying, "what are you doing? Just standing there?" I never was. I was always moving around and doing something. I ignored it and continued to do my job the best that I could.

Then it got worse. This girl would complain right in front of me saying, "I don't want Natalie working at the presenting window. I want someone else. I refuse to work with her." It was embarrassing, but I still ignored it. Then she tried rallying the other co-workers against me by yelling at me in front of everybody, "hurry up, Natalie. You're fucking slow. That's why we all get bitched at." Or she would say "Watch out for Natalie. She's been here a long time and she doesn't know what she's doing." It was totally not true, and my hours proved that. Still, the other co-workers would giggle with her because they were afraid to stand up to her. The humiliation she kept subjecting me to ended up giving me a bad reputation with my co-workers and managers I worked with.

One day, she even threatened to beat me up after my shift because I grabbed "her" McDonald's bag that she was using to serve food to front counter, and I used it to assemble the food for drive-thru customers. The bag was empty. It wasn't even a big deal. I notified both the shift manager and the head manager that she had threatened to beat me up, and the head manager told me she would "fix the problem." She never told me HOW she fixed the problem. The girl that had it out for me would complain to the managers about me too, and right in front of me, saying that I was a "good worker, but I was slow." People began to look at me in a bad light because of all the public negative attention this girl was giving me.

She would make snide remarks to me whenever I worked at the presenting window, saying "oh, you're helping me; no wonder my drive-thru times are going up." Or when someone complained the drive-thru times were going up, she would blame it on me. She quit a year later, but her legacy left me with a bad reputation at that place, making my work environment very uncomfortable.

Because my work environment was so uncomfortable, I began to make more mistakes, I would experience extreme anxiety while working, and my confidence began to drop. This, of course, affected my work. It's very difficult to function in a place where you feel like no one wants or respects you, and are scoffing at every move you make. It was like this girl had started a disease that spread through all the co-workers. They would ask me rude questions like "are you pregnant?" and then laugh. It was so embarrassing! I would feel tears come to my eyes, and I would have to fake that I was sick and go home because I didn't want people to see me crying while I was working.

My hours became unbearably LAME. To the point of where I was only working about 4 hours a week. My co-workers treated me like I was incompetent and stupid. They laughed at me, they gossiped about me, they humiliated me in public. I would try so hard, and it seemed like no matter what I did, I always made some kind of mistake, according to them. One girl would say something rude to me and then look at their friend and they both would laugh. When new food or new equipment was introduced into the workplace, nobody ever told me about it or trained me how to do it. I was always left out.

At our annual Christmas party gift exchange, someone always "forgot" my gift, while I always spent about $20 getting someone else a gift. No one cared, of course. People blamed things on me that I didn't even do, like burning the meat or chicken, and would punish me by sending me home early. and when they discovered I didn't do it, they wouldn't even apologize. When I would ask my manager a question, she would roll her eyes at me, and always made me feel stupid for even coming to her with a question. It was a nightmare. I dreaded going to work. I was barely working any hours, and I still dreaded going to work.

During my performance reviews we had every 6 months, my manager would ask me illegal personal questions about whether or not I was pregnant, and how much money my husband makes. None of that is relevant to my work performance. Things got so bad at my job, I dipped into the bad habit of drinking heavily the night before my shift just so I could sleep at night. I was always wondering what rude comment was going to be hurled at me next and whether or not I was going to feel hurt or humiliated. After five years of this kind of abuse, you gradually began to think that you deserve it.

Even eight months after I quit, I am still traumatized by everything I went through while working at that place. I realize now that nobody deserves to be treated like that at their job. And if they are treated like that, it makes a very unproductive work environment for everybody, not just that person. I definitely think there should be a law against workplace bullying. I believe if it's done to someone over a long period of time, it can cause them permanent psychological damage. My advice to anyone else dealing with a similar situation like this is never to put up with anyone, no matter who they are, making you feel inferior or incompetent. Stand up to them, and do it respectfully. Go to Human Resources if you have to. Don't accept that kind of treatment from anybody, especially in your work environment!


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

Comments for Workplace Bullying

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Bullying in the Workplace
by: Anonymous

Some thoughts for consideration:

Victims of bullying have a few avenues to pursue when subject to obvious acts of aggression and subtler actions such as spreading malicious rumors or gossip, excluding or isolating someone socially, undermining or impeding a person?s work or opinions, unjustified exclusion from certain projects, removing areas of responsibility without cause, and intruding upon a person?s privacy by pestering, stalking, or spying . Others include being rude or belligerent, destroying property, assaulting an individual, or setting impossible deadlines.

Bullying may be directed at single individuals or groups and workplace aggression?incivility, including rudeness and discourteous verbal and nonverbal behavior, repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes, spreading gossip and lies, ignoring or excluding workers, and insulting a person?s habits, attitudes, or private life?had worse effects on performance than sexual harassment.

Workplace bullying has more severe consequences, including higher employee turnover, than sexual harassment although sexual harassment itself can be interpreted as a form of bullying (i.e., a combination of disrespect and an abuse of power).

In the United States, although bullying is recognized as detrimental to occupational health, there is little political or corporate interest in stopping it. An employee who suffers any physical or psychiatric injury as a result of workplace bullying could bring a claim of negligence and/or a personal injury claim against both the employer and the abusive employee as joint respondents in the claim. If the law does not persuade employers to deal with workplace bullying, the economic reality will persuade them over the next few years. Victims can report the abuse to their HR department or their union or take legal action. A small proportion of bullied individuals actually admitted that they had been bullied. Training sessions can help when combined with a confidential reporting structure.
For free abridged books on leadership, ethics, women in the workforce, sexual harassment and bullying, trade unions, etc., write to maxpin1@hotmail.com

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The Best Protection is some kind of recording device
by: Anonymous

Have read a number of cases on bullying at work. The victim does not stand a chance. Then I read about Bunnings Bullying at work. The victim informed management about the problem. Management then got other Managers involved with more bullying and they tried to set the victim up. However the victim recorded the managers involved and Bunnings were caught out with their dishonesty and the cover up! Do your normal days work and record that's the best advise.

Breaking Silence
by: Jessica

Hi Natalie, thanks a lot for sharing your story. Sorry about your experience, but please find comfort in knowing you're not alone. I worked at two locations in downtown Toronto (owned by the same management). They were both in high-volume locations, one by Maple Leaf Gardens (gotta love those hockey fans!), the other between Rosedale & Cabbagetown (rich vs poor "troll" customers!). The bullying I experienced was from all corners, the managers, my co-workers, and of course the customers! Managers abused their power & authority, by running me ragged, exploiting my shortcomings, and playing favourites. My co-workers hung around in cliques, and often ridiculed my lack of sufficient workmanship because they thought they were "better". The customers came from all walks of life, and they always got away with everything thanks to my deadbeat managers. Nowadays, if I ever set foot within a McDonald's, I treat the cashier serving me with utmost respect, having had been in their shoes before. Hope you've pursued much more worthwhile endeavours in your life. Take care

Maccas bullying
by: Anonymous

I experienced major harassment at mcdonalds too. I don't know what kind of business they're running but it's ridiculous the amount of bullying. Crew trainers are made to believe that they have rights over everyone in the building and due to that they bully the lights out of people. I started working at maccas at 15 and I'm 17 now. I recently quit after a crew trainer harassed me regarding my behaviour due to my dad almost dying. She knew about my situation through gossip and began harassing me saying "what happens at home stays at home" and "if you're not fit to work then why are you here?" And stuff like that. I continually asked her to stop but she followed me around the store and kept harassing me to the point where I was physically holding in tears. The second my shift ended I ran to my car and burst into tears. I wouldn't recommend McDonald's to anyone who has a head on their shoulders and can see bullying when it's happening, because maccas don't care about it, they just want money money money.

Fed up!
by: Anonymous

I couldn't agree with you anymore Natalie, i am also suffering with bullying at McDonalds. Only it is the managers that are bullying me so i feel so stuck that i cannot do anything about it! They abuse their power make you clean up their mess while they stand their watching you making you feel under so much pressure, intimidating you constantly to the point where you just want to walk out of the store and never return. I just need the money, i've only worked here for 9 months , i've had severe Anxiety since i was a child and this place is draining me. Picking at every last little part of me that is sane. One day it was 20 minutes after i had finished my shift and this manager that doesn't seem to like me at all asked me to mop all the floors before i could clock off i said yeah thats fine, got it done straight away everything was spotless, came back to her asked if there was anything else i needed to do before i leave, she was making coffee in McCafe and threw the coffee powder all over the floor right infront of me, laughed and then asked me to clean that up also. Crew trainers of crew members that have been there for years boss the new crew around make them do their work that they get given by managers and managers don't even care! its all corrupt and im so over it... there's no one to tell because you'll get bullied even more! i come home crying most nights its sickening. Im ready to leave but its just hard to face them, and finding a new job is next to impossible these days. I feel you Natalie!

McDonalds bullying their customers?
by: Anonymous

How about being bullied as a customer at McDonalds? I have a McDonalds I frequented every day for coffee in the morning and 2-3 times a week, at night, for a drink. Everyone was nice at first, but then after awhile I noticed that the worker would hand me my drink and than turn around and start laughing to someone about me and say that I was trying to wink at them.

All of a sudden this lovely group of people turned on me one by one. Then I started wondering if they were doing something to my drink. I rarely go now and have chosen another McDonalds to go to. You worked there and experienced bullying... did you ever see that directed towards a customer?

A evil lady that keeps bothering me
by: Anonymous

There's a lady at my job who just doesn't know when to stop. I have told several staff members about her and it's really starting to have a affect on my job seriously I don't know who else to talk to about this matter

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