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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

The Group Supports Only The Group

by Clara
(Oxford, UK)

I spent two years at the University of Oxford as a researcher. Unfortunately, one of the principal investigators of the project I was involved in was known to dislike working with women, in particular if foreigners (and I was unlucky enough to be both). I had never the chance to present my work and results. Never, for two years. They were not interested.

When I began to report this situation to my supervisor, he just told me to look for a new job. At that point the nightmare began. I started the interviews and when I found a new position I was asked when I wanted to leave. I agreed a leaving date with my supervisor, I declined several offers and I decided for the one I preferred. After a month we agreed a date, I was told that I had to leave 5 months before that date. I had not signed any resignation letter, I just informed my supervisor that I was looking for another job and when I was thinking to leave.

I met a solicitor, I met a harassment advisor at the University: the people in my group just wanted to make me leave, so they told me that I had to be quiet and do what they wanted, that it would have been better for me to maintain a good relationship with them. They told me that if I started to say something, they would have said that they wanted to fire me anyway and they would have been compact in saying everything was needed to defame me. I had only to accept what they wanted. And so I resigned and now I expect several months with no job.

There are many procedures in UK and at the University of Oxford as well. But all the procedures pass through the same department you are reporting. And this makes the reporting person feel lonely and weak. When you are young and your are afraid of finding a new job and develop your career, bullying people seem to have all the strength. The only solution is legal, but this is not particularly good for the bullied person as well, since it means energy, psychological stress and often a lot of money.

I think it would be important to create a support structure for those who want to report, since otherwise there will always be a few amount of reports of bullying and harassment behaviours.

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