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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Passive Agressive, Manipulative, Lying, Psychopathic Boss


(Canada)

I was harassed/bullied by my boss for a year which forced me to quit the company due to extreme amounts of stress and anger. I came into the company and began going above and beyond what was asked of me. I washed and sanitized the place which hadn't been cleaned in what looked like years. I volunteered for physically demanding jobs that no one wanted to do. I got along great with all of my coworkers.

The harassment started relatively early on and began very minor. It started out as nitpicking minor mistakes that I made in front of my coworkers to humiliate me or making passive-aggressive, back-handed comments about my age or my work ethic. This went on for months and I just took it because I didn't think anything of it but I realize now that it was slowly damaging me psychologically. I started to become angrier at work and at home. I remember being especially proud of something that I did while at work only to come in the next day to my boss picking on me yet again for something extremely minor.

Eventually he began blaming me for things that I didn't do and I have a strong reason to suspect that he sabotaged at least two of my projects. He even childishly removed company property because I liked wearing it. On one occasion he asked me to do something which would have violated food safety issues and I took it upon myself to take steps to make sure that it wasn't an issue by cleaning and sanitizing the area where he asked me to work. It took me about 45 minutes to do this and he came in screaming at me, "what the fuck is this?! I didn't ask you to clean this!" etc. etc.

It's important to note that I don't believe any of my other coworkers were screamed at like this and we literally had an employee (who my boss really liked) show older employees naked pictures of his underage girlfriend which put them in an extremely uncomfortable position. A number of my coworkers wanted to get this employee terminated because of this and because he was an extremely poor employee, and would say things that irritated or infuriated them — myself included — but my boss liked this employee so he ignored his conduct. There was also another employee that my boss liked who would refuse to clean up after himself and would get others to do his work for him but, again, my boss liked him so this employee stayed. I'm not mentioning this because I'm trying to bad mouth my coworkers. I'm mentioning this because it shows how my boss would ignore this conduct but would focus on me and blame me for things that I didn't do.

After about nine months of this trivial criticism of my work I eventually blew up and screamed at him when he talked to me about being late one day. I told him I would go to HR and that's when things got worse. He began "giving me the silent treatment". This happened for three months until I resigned. He would get another employee to give me my tasks on his behalf under the guise that he was training this employee to "be a manager". This was also the employee who refused to do his own work. When the employee who was showing the pictures of the underage girls got fired for stealing my boss asked me to work 40 hours a week because he needed me. He then scheduled me two weeks in a row for seven days straight. When I got angry about it one day at work because I did him a favour he began making fun of me in front of my coworkers. On this day I caught him saying "it's his mentality" and "there are things going on at home" to one of my coworkers. When he saw me he stopped talking and motioned for my coworker to not talk about what he said. This, among other things, lead me to believe that he was spreading malicious rumours to my coworkers and to upper management about me and my work ethic.

At about 10 months in there were going to be cuts to hours. My boss got my coworker to give me the information regarding this cut to hours on his behalf (again under the guise that he was "being trained to be a manager"). I was never told how many hours were going to be cut. When the cuts finally happened I lost a total of 12 hours. I confronted my boss about this and he said he "wished the hours could go to the hardest working person." A couple of days later he picked on me yet again for something that I did and I ended up walking out of my shift. I left a note saying that I wanted to change my hours. I called the ASM the next day and explained why I walked out of my shift and told her that I thought my boss was trying to get me to quit. She told me "leave it in my hands" and a couple of days later I had a meeting with another ASM about the issue. I told him about why I thought my boss was trying to get me to quit (blaming me for things, cutting my hours unfairly and without warning, giving me the silent treatment etc.) The entire time during this conversation this ASM was furrowing his eyebrows at me and putting on a condescending look. He told me he talked to my boss and my boss said that my boss "had no idea what I was talking about."

About 11 months in my boss started manipulating the schedule to make it difficult for me to complete my tasks by scheduling me with no support during peak hours. He covered his tracks by messing with the schedule so that there wasn't a clear pattern but I know that I was scheduled with less people because I made graphs of the schedules over a long period of time and it clearly showed that he changed his scheduling pattern and that he was scheduling me with less people. I also suspect that he was doing other manipulative behaviour like not providing me with training on new assignments so that he could discredit me, not providing training or not providing enough information to complete my work. He also manipulated people into leaving work for me in an effort to anger me or frustrate me.

Eventually, all of his tactics worked and I blew up one day at almost exactly the one year mark. I called the store manager to talk about the issues that I was having. When I got into the meeting they tricked me by misleading me. I was under the expectation that I was just going into the meeting with the store manager, but as I sat down the other ASM walked in. I had had previous issues with this ASM before because he's a bully as well and he wrote me up for walking out of my shift because of my boss' conduct and this ASM never listened to my side of the story. During this meeting they accused me of all sorts of things from not getting along with my coworkers, to swearing, to not doing my work. Never once did they contact me before this meeting about any of these alleged issues. All of these were lies that came from my boss. I desperately tried to explain to them issues that I was having but they wouldn't listen. They told me that my boss had a list of infractions that I had committed. When I asked the SM about what work I didn't do and why would I refuse work when I took on the tougher, more physically demanding jobs in the company he said "congratulations you're a model employee". I told him that I was one of many model employees and he replied "no, you're just a grunt. You're expendable." After this half hour or so meeting I realize none of the issues that I was having were going to get resolved and I resigned.

After I resigned I filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour that the company failed to investigate my complaint of harassment on the grounds that I told them that I thought my boss was trying to get me to quit. She ordered an investigation to be conducted within 3 months. I amended my complaint on the company's internal reporting system to include the harassment from the ASM and SM that I received. After a near two month delay I got an email from the SM himself (even though I accused him of harassment) saying that they were going to conduct an investigation. I had to contact the HR team to say that I didn't think it was appropriate that the SM was included in the investigation because I accused him of harassment. The HR person contacted me because he apparently didn't know how to proceed. He pretended to be all friendly on the phone and asked me for the private emails that I had with the Union (I had previously gone to my Union representative). There was a meeting scheduled for the next day. During this meeting I was berated endlessly and blamed for everything that had happened. The investigator accused me of being a poor employee and totally believed the lies that everybody in management had told him. He mocked me during this meeting and even shouted at me. In total we had five hours of meetings like this. From my understanding it was a five day investigation so why did it take so long to start and conclude the investigation? This investigator was clearly using old school tactics to bully me and try to get me to drop the suit. He could have conducted a fair investigation and actually prove my allegations of harassment and the numerous other safety issues that I reported and violations of company policy. This SM was terrible at his job. High turnover, managers calling employees "whores" and shouting. Other managers not granting scheduled time off causing employees to quit. Instead of actually conducting an investigation into these issues which would have saved them a lot of money, I lost my job because of it.

So that's my story of harassment/bullying. I have PTSD from all of the things that I went through. I lost a job that I loved and people that I really cared about and could have made friends with. Something needs to be done in regards to bullying and harassment because it's bad for employees and companies alike.

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