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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

If You Suspect You Are Being Bullied, Find a New Job ASAP

I've been through the complete process for this with a coworker case and it's quite an eye-opener. I'll share the outcomes so you'll know what to expect, but I'll start with my advice:

"If you suspect you are being bullied, find a new job ASAP."

What I've found is that reporting to management doesn't work. The managers are only concerned with keeping things moving and keeping production going. You'll be mostly ignored or gaslighted into believing that nothing is happening. This is possibly more damaging than the attacks themselves.

Reporting to HR similarly doesn't work, they take their cue from management and will likely gaslight as well. HR will tend to be more aggressive in their assessment since they don't need to maintain a direct working relationship. Filing a complaint will probably result in your aggressor counterfiling with lies. HR will back away from this, grab some popcorn, and prepare for a good show. In that show you will lose.

Once it all blows up you'll be dealing with depression, anxiety, and trauma. Your family will be burnt out on it, as will friends. Your relationships will become strained to the point of abandonment. You'll have no energy and no desire to do anything. In my case this involved checking in to the hospital for a few months.

You may get an attorney, and they'll be perfectly willing to take your money. Mine gave me the advice to stay put until we could turn it into a constructive dismissal case but my health failed again. Now you'll likely have psychiatrist bills and various medications for all facets of your increasing physical symptoms.

Worker's compensation will almost certainly find a pre-existing condition. If this has happened once then there won't be enough evidence. If it's happened more than once then it's probably a pre-existing psychological disorder. Either way you're going to lose. Your work ethic and dedication will be labeled as a disease or character flaw. You do not get to speak in this process as your evidence is not "official"; it has to come from the insurer. The insurer will cherrypick information to paint the case in their favor.

If you're forced to leave then forget unemployment benefits. My employer determined my quit was a voluntary one despite anything in the resignation letter. The unemployment office will be only too happy to agree with your employer as that saves them the most money. You can appeal but that only guarantees you be declined a second time.

EEOC, DFEH, or other regulatory bodies will not be able to prove discrimination, nor will they likely be able to prove anything at all. OSHA only handles physical violence. You won't obtain a right to sue and you'll be persuaded to use the no-fault worker's compensation system (as above). If you do manage to obtain a right to sue then expect a deposition bloodbath in the courtroom. Any self-respect or self-confidence you ever had will be destroyed in that process. You will fail, and now your name appears in public files. You will never find another job so this is basically murder by process. Nobody owes you a job. There is no "right to work".

You can certainly fight any part of this in the courts, but that will be at your expense. The chances of finding an attorney who wants to do more than milk you for money is low, assuming any even respond at all. Lying, mobbing, and sabotage are not illegal.

Every part of this process is constructed to frustrate you and it's all designed to fail. It's ultimately your responsibility to prove anything but it's rare you'll be given any paper documentation for anything in your employment. On the other hand your employer will have a significant file and they will cherrypick to create their own story. You can legally ask for that documentation but you won't get it. To get it you need a lawyer (see above).

My advice to you is that you are like me. I built my pride on my work ethic and I act with empathy and kindness. These qualities are admirable but they will quickly make you a target for abuse in the workplace. You will lose them and you will suffer terribly. Save enough money that you don't need the job if you can and let that channel into assertiveness. The next place you work you should hold the line very firmly. Don't help people. Don't show compassion toward anyone. Speak clearly and respectfully and learn to say no without feeling bad about it. If someone persists then you should leave as quickly as possible - there is nothing else you can do and there is nothing else you owe to your colleagues, your project, your employer, or this world. Use your passion and professionalism to define yourself on your own terms.

Look after yourself, and take care of yourself. You owe that to yourself and you deserve it. You did not ask for this and you did nothing wrong. Move on with your life.

Comments for If You Suspect You Are Being Bullied, Find a New Job ASAP

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by: Lizzy from NJ

Agree with all the above. If JUST A WORKER in a firm you have little means to getting listened to when ONE causes a problem.

I have found that bullying most happens when one is the 'new kid' on the block AND perhaps older (experienced) to those in the firm longer.

Wisdom now tells me, that when starting one's working life; be prepared to 1. start at the bottom. (one very professional firm understood human nature and gave 'levels' to new hires... based on the department placed in) One could only do the work for that level and only get a level increase and more work by proving quality and quantity (in this instance) Naturally, this system also has its politics to it; supervisors can make it difficult to get production if they give tougher work. (BUT, the point: when coming in new START AT THE
BOTTOM where one is not a threat, be friendly, come do and go home.) Do not get hired and get tossed in the ring with all the other

Another way to outsmart bullies: leave the private life private. If hired to a full-time job, IF YOU CAN try to work (if young enough) a self employed business at home. TELL NO ONE YOUR PRIVATE BUSINESS DOINGS at home, not even your best work buddy. If one encounters bullying; be fair... this one might be having one bad day or week. KEEP A RECORD of what occurs AT HOME and PRIVATE. Read over it periodically and see if it is getting better or worse. IF WORSE, DO NOT REPORT IT. Write a gracious resignation letter, PRAISE the firm (they will remember the praise as much as the griping), and simply tell them the job is not utilizing your full potential or something like that. AND LEAVE.

Another option to outsmart bullies, if OLDER in a young working environment. If older and one loses a job held for some time, and you were only a worker; negotiate a pay based on your experience but work PART-TIME (actually this works with the start at the bottom idea, if there is no lesser job in a firm, do the main work of the firm but work PART-TIME without benefit package but compensated for ability to do. Leave at 12 noon or 1 pm . . . just as the 'bully' is running out of things to do him or herself. (if possible work two part time jobs to equal one full time job)

The objective to end bullying is to NOT BE IN ONE PLACE for too long keep moving. leave AT NOON and out of the bullies grasp.

One more option: Work from home for a company. Thanks to computers this can be, but you might need TENURE to ask for such.

Oh yes, if one starts at a firm, and one is offered a RAISE in pay, remember NO RAISE without PRAISE to yourself: get a title. A title is as the company 'branding' you as their own. A 'hands off' notice to the newer workers.

JUST WORKERS will always be targeted.

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