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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

The Abominable Bullymen

by Terri
(Brighton, CO, USA)

I worked for eight years being bullied. At the interview, the bully asked my interviewer, his boss, if I was going to get his work. He immediately thought of me as a competitor. I was hired and learned my new job in one day. My boss asked me to get more assignments from his assistant who sat at the end of the office away from the workers. My boss later told me to ask him to sit closer to the other workers. He did, and one day when I went to get assignments from him, I asked if he had anything for me and he said "a fat lip." My boss told him not to read the newspaper and give me the work to do.

I began completing his duties, as well as my own. He began to miss work, copy down my production on his timesheet and got paid for the work I was doing when he wasn't even there at night. When my boss was retiring, his assistant was told by higher ups that he couldn't even apply for the position ever. He didn't like rules, so when my new boss was hired, he quickly made an ally of her against me.

One day, she took my work off of my desk and said she would give it someone that wants it, and handed it to him. She refused to let me work on the computer after that. She did give me his duties, but not the higher pay he was getting. After of year of her blaming me for making too many mistakes, for delaying the team, and not keeping up with the rest of the group, around the holidays she admitted the real reason why she had taken my work away. It was so that he could become manager when she retired, and he needed to learn my work duties.

I went straight to OHR and they said I needed to find another job because I was in a hostile work environment. I couldn't give up. When he became manager, he hired a young Hispanic girl and gave all of my work to her because he claimed it was easier to correct her mistakes if she was doing my work, which was his work originally. She was a fast typist and he ended up giving her the rest of my work and said he was going to put me at the back of the office on a desk with a typewriter away from my coworkers.

He went on to hire an assistant, foregoing the next person experienced for the job in our group, and became very close with her. They eventually lived together. The last memory I will never forget about him was the night he nearly ran me over in the parking lot, but banged my knee up instead, as I took a giant step forward to avoid getting hit.

When I was in a bad car accident, the at-fault driver restaged the accident to before the intersection where he had rear-ended me at a stop light going 50 mph. I was on the hardboard and asked to call my boss from the emergency room. I told my boss I might not make it. He thought I meant into work, and he stated I had to go to work because I didn't have any time coming to me. I said I thought it was FMLA, and he said no it isn't. He made me work the rest of the month of September 2012, and his assistant said I committed workplace violence when I dropped some papers and explained to her that I couldn't lift any boxes or stacks of paper when she asked me to go to the scanning room, NOW! She yelled, "I'm not going to argue with you, if you have any questions, go ask my boss"!

As I was getting up out of my seat, she pushed me back down and began rubbing the back of my neck and back really hard. I blacked out in pain, and when I came to, I pushed my seat back to get out of my chair, and accidentally stubbed her foot. She became upset and cried and blamed me for having a mental block since my car accident. That night I was watched closely by the higher-ups who should have gone home at 5:00 p.m., but decided to stay up until midnight.

His boss, our manager, gave me FMLA paperwork, along with being written up for workplace violence, which would be investigated. My boss said I would have to call in every night with three symptoms, names and times of doctor visits, and other confidential information, after I told our manager that he said it isn't FMLA. In the beginning of my FMLA leave, he told me to call OHR because they had something to discuss with me and they were mad.

I had gone to a doctor on their list to get a fitness to return to work form, because no doctors would handle car accident victims in Brighton, Colorado. OHR said I would have to pay all of my medical bills for going to one of their doctors. Most every night I called him, he would tell me I am in big trouble with all the higher ups, that I had to get a doctor to return me to work, and that my symptoms were so minor and should not make me miss work. When the doctor referred me to a spinal specialist one month away, he said "GREAT! You can't just sit there and wait." And he wondered why I had gone this route.

One night, I explained to my boss that my doctors were complaining about me calling him every night and that it was in violation of my rights under the HIPPA laws. He snapped and said then I would have to call the three male higher ups every night. I asked, "Why would I tell three male strangers about my confidential medical information, if I am not even supposed to be telling you?"

He began placing me on corrective actions as I was recuperating at home for being tardy, committing workplace violence, and other bogus charges. Two months later, when I was returned to work, the higher ups said I was going to be terminated because I was over the limit of FMLA weeks allowed, because I had taken some time off before the accident to assist my disabled husband. They combined the two FMLA leave times and only allowed 13 missed weeks total. My boss said he didn't even have any work for me to do.

After my coworker died the day before Christmas 2012, he began to search for someone to hire, put me on days, gave me extra duties working alone at my desk, under more supervision, reduced my wages, and took away my night differential, as punishment for allegedly committing workplace violence. The next thing I knew, he was demanding I give all of my work to the new lady he had hired for training purposes, and my manager said she did not have any available openings for me in any other departments, but she would look.

I was disciplinarily discharged shortly after that and denied unemployment. At my appeals hearing, the hearing officer was upset that they presented no evidence against me to justify termination, and said my testimony was very credible, so I was awarded benefits after five months of having nothing to help me or my disabled husband. I lost all of my medical benefits, change my career, and had to apply for loans to return to school online to finish by bachelor's degree because to become a legal secretary in this competitive market, you have to have recent experience or education as a paralegal.

Being Bullied at Work? What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

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