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My Experience With Workplace Bullying and Advice to Management
(Cairns, Queensland, Australia)
This testimony from myself I wrote and submitted to the company review website, Glassdoor. It let me remain anonymous. It details many things but most importantly how they illegally terminated me.
I encourage others who have had this happen to them to do the same and expose companies like this and mow down their reputation to send a message when companies behave like this there are consequences.
What was most empowering to me after I submitted this was, (even though I can't prove it but am 100% that I was responsible for what happened) was the month I submitted this review the companies stock price tanked and never recovered. Too much of a coincidence for me.
The company I worked at is referred to as COMPANY A. I submitted the review under the entry for the company that acquired COMPANY A a few months after I was terminated which I will refer to as COMPANY B. It may seem unfair that I submitted the review for COMPANY B when it was A who fired me, but B I later found out were pretty much just as bad and quite frankly, I couldn't care any less that others who might not have had anything to do with what happened to me might have been affected. The overall point is when you treat employees like this (I damaged my life and both my physical and mental health dramatically), it doesn't work out well for anyone.
I Worked at COMPANY A which COMPANY B acquired this year, 2019. COMPANY B have retained COMPANY A'S workplace premises, acquired their assets and appear to have retained lots of the same staff so with that being said, this review is still holds much relevance.
The role I was hired to carry out itself was enjoyable, even one I was proficient at considering I received praise for my work from many others, including upper management all the way up to the then CEO! Keep this in mind. (It cannot be denied, the CEO at the time was amazing and whom if you were to have met him you'd likely agree. It's a shame his shine didn't rub off too much on those who held responsibility further down the chain in the company.)
I was terminated from the role after three months. The 'official reason' given to me verbally by the head of the department I worked in (during which what I would describe was an 'ambush termination' as I was tapped on the shoulder and told to enter a private room for what I was told was 'a meeting' without any warning given, leaving me with no chance to prepare my side of the story nor told that it would be a good idea to bring a support person with me (I do ponder the legal ramifications of that act too), I was just pulled in to a room with the team leader and an employee from HR whom I had never met, adding to the intimidation factor) told that I was "acting erratically" which I declare to be a total falsehood (I wasn't given any examples or evidence describing what the unusual behaviour was), no examples of how I was behaving were given when I was first interviewed regarding "such concerns" and hard pressed to come up with answers to a question I wasn't even aware that was going to be asked ("what has happened to you recently?" "What's going on?" etc, ) Seeing as I felt backed in to a corner with the pressure applied to me, I cracked and admitted that I did suffer mental health difficulties (anxiety) which I was and still am currently in treatment for and maybe that's what was being picked up on? I didn't know. I also did have outside life events going on that caused me stress at inconvenient times such as during the day when one is meant to be focusing on their role and attempting to do their utmost best, so I thought it possible that maybe that was becoming a little bit too obvious. But who in the world doesn't have things happen to them from time to time that can cause distractions in their life? Again, not a valid reason to dismiss an employee (again I ponder the legal ramifications.
But I digress, because I am of the firm belief that my personal conditions were all irrelevant to this (as they should be anyway as releasing somebody on the grounds of mental illness is discriminatory and illegal) I will discuss below.
I am of the belief (to the point that I believe it to be the absolute truth) that the reason for the dismissal was in retaliation for the fact that I raised concerns with upper management about sexual harassment behaviour carried out by a male colleague in our department towards the female staff. I detailed in great depth this in a complaint to the Human Rights Commission as I did not approve of the way this incident was handled and I was pulled aside and unbelievably labelled 'the bully' by the head of the department I worked in for raising concerns about his actions (I still to this day hold a copy of that complaint to the HRC in archive). Because I was not the party in the complaint being harassed I was told by the HRC that the harassment victims had to be the ones lodging the complaint before any action could be considered taken. This I deemed acceptable and fair enough. However, they also stated to me in their reply that the behaviours the individual (the harasser) I was exposing was exhibiting towards the two (possibly more I don't know) female employees didn't strongly meet their "definition of sexual harassment", and leaned on the government guidelines as to what is deemed sexual harassment, totally disregarding what the two female employees reaction to what they were being subjected to. What right does the government and the HRC have in determining that these employees weren't being harassed simply because it didn't fit the exact wording of the legislation?
This incident also exposes the HRC's indifference toward enforcing its principles regarding employees and overall human rights and they should be outright ashamed for treating the situation like a non-issue, simply because it didn't match the wording in their definition of sexual harassment. Never would I seek advice or counsel from the Human Rights Commission knowing that they take this attitude. The HRC are an utter disgrace if the entire organisation handles issues such as this in such a nonchalant way.
There is a lot more I could also mention on top of this already long (damning) review of COMPANY A but I feel this is enough already
Advice to Management
I am not qualified to run a company or be CEO, so I cannot advise how to improve the companies bottom line (i.e. profits), tips on achieving the companies stated goals etc. Nor would I ever feel inclined to given how I was treated like this.
Having said that, it appears COMPANY B have stopped referring to COMPANY A and incorporated them under the COMPANY B umbrella. A good move I will admit, as I too would do the same.
However, I wouldn't stop there, at simply removing traces of the name of COMPANY A being associated with COMPANY B.
I would go a lot further and remove all bad apples (in all forms) associated with the former company that lead to the situation I've described and experienced, as others did too (Google "COMPANY A" and you'll see other reviews here at Glassdoor detailing almost identical concerns I raised.
I can't see COMPANY B succeeding if these matters aren't dealt with. I do see potential for fines or lawsuits against the company if these behaviours continue however which could signal further danger for the company.
I wish COMPANY B nothing but the best should they decide to make difficult decisions in order to succeed in their mission and keep out of trouble.