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To not want to get involved?

(22 Posts)
LadyBuzz Mon 29-Nov-10 16:52:37

I have a dilemma at work.

The lady I work with is not the nicest of people and over the course of the last couple of years has managed to upset a large number of our colleages.

We have colleagues who do the same job as us but on a different site who last week filed a formal grievance against her.

They have been in touch asking me to support them in this and although I wholeheartedly agree with everything they (and everyone else) has said I just don't want to get involved.

I am 32 weeks pg and start my maternity leave in 4 weeks, there are only the 2 of us in our office and I am sure she will make my last few weeks hell if I speak up. There is also the chance I will have to work with her again when mat leave is over.

I feel like I am being a chicken and not only letting my colleagues down but letting myself down for not sticking to my principles BUT I really really don't want the hassle at the moment!

overmydeadbody Mon 29-Nov-10 16:54:49

Well if everyone has your attitude nothing would ever get done about nasty colleagues who make other people's lives a misery.

If no one stands up to problems in the workplace how will things improve?

LadyBuzz Mon 29-Nov-10 17:04:15

but they don't the grievance has been placed by my 3 colleagues. I support them I just don't want to be an active part of it!

They understand the situation i'm in and aren't putting any pressure on me to get involved.
She is a cow and my life is one of those she has made miserable!

notalone Mon 29-Nov-10 17:08:01

I can understand where you are coming from Ladybuzz. In an ideal world of course everyone should stand up for people but the fact of the matter is, these other colleagues don't work with this woman on a daily basis whereas you do. This could also cause you extra stress on your mat leave and make it even harder when you eventually return.

If enough of these colleagues are complaining then your input is not going to make a huge difference either way. You have to think about yourself as well and if you choose to not be involved then I think it is fully understandable. Good luck in your decision smile

NinjaChipmunk Mon 29-Nov-10 17:08:16

agree with overmydeadbody, how do you expect things to get better if you don't stand up for yourself/ others?
I appreciate that if your starting mat leave soon you are in a slightly different frame of mind but I really think you should help out on this one.

readywithwellies Mon 29-Nov-10 17:09:12

I work in a similar set up and find it easier to challenge colleagues on other sites rather than those I work with on a daily basis.
Depends where you work, but generally nothing gets done about a grievance anyway so I would stay out of it given your circumstances.

ivykaty44 Mon 29-Nov-10 17:11:03

and what happens if when you come back from maternatiy she is nice as pie with the three other colleguwes and nasty to you? what will you do then as the other three will have sorted everything out on msass together - they will not have cause to rake through things again and you could well find yourself the brunt of her nastyuness

RevoltingPeasant Mon 29-Nov-10 17:20:52

Poor OP sad

That is not easy, but I would urge you to say something. At my DP's work they tried to dismiss a blatantly incompetent manager who also treated staff really badly. Everyone would bitch about this person but when someone actually stood up to challenge them, suddenly no one wanted to give evidence. The result was a loooong-drawn-out procedure whereby the nasty person knew who had shopped them and continued to make life hell for them and everybody else.

Luckily they did get shut eventually but what happens if these people's bid fails due to your lack of input? They will have a horrible time and maybe something you can say will prevent that?

LadyThumb Mon 29-Nov-10 19:05:04

United we stand - divided we fall ! I think you should support them. They may say they understand you not getting involved, but they are in effect putting themselves 'on the line' for you as well. I don't think you have any moral choice but to join them.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 29-Nov-10 19:15:33

I think that if this colleague has been horrible to you and made your life a misery, then you have to speak up. This opportunity to squash her nasty behaviour might not come around again. If you say nothing, then when this colleague is nasty to you in the future you will not be able to expect support from your other co workers.

If they are speaking the truth, then it would be morally wrong to say nothing whilst hoping to benefit from them speaking up.

scurryfunge Mon 29-Nov-10 19:18:42

Bullies survive and continue with their unpleasantness if allowed to without hindrance.

Speak up - work will be much more pleasant on your return if she has been dealt with properly.

MadamDeathstare Mon 29-Nov-10 19:25:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyBuzz Mon 29-Nov-10 19:29:54

Thanks ladies, I think I will go and see HR in the morning and let them know that I am with them and willing to answer any questions.

I just need to brave!

northerngirl41 Mon 29-Nov-10 19:31:58

I too think you should speak up but in a measured way. "Sometimes I feel like my boss is a bully" or "I utterly support my colleagues in their opinion that she is unpleasant to work for" is completely airy-fairy.

You need to have physical proof of a grievance. Do you have emails? Has she not done her job and passed the buck? Is there something you can pin on her and have proof of? Those sorts of things are the ones I would be focusing on. If she is merely just unlikeable I don't see the point in stirring the pot.

LadyBuzz Mon 29-Nov-10 19:51:42

Oh yes we have proof HR already have the email that kicked everything off so to speak.

She has belittled our colleagues to the point that they have refused to deal with her. She picks fault with everything they do and is downright nasty in her tone.
She isn't above anyone in the department but tells people what to do constantly and is never ever in the wrong.

The list is pretty endless now and alot of people are unhappy with her at various levels.

She has had a written warning already over complaints and sent my line manager a 27 page dossier to 'defend' her principles and prove she was right hmm

ENormaSnob Mon 29-Nov-10 20:12:47

You need to speak up IMO.

Portofino Mon 29-Nov-10 20:17:02

I agree. You need to speak up.

BubsMaw Mon 29-Nov-10 20:26:59

I think you'll be drawn into it whether you like it or not, as if/when it gets investigated you'll almost definitely be asked for your views. I think if you keep your input plainly factual and just answer whatever questions are put your way then nobody will have any room for grievances.

Hope it works out OK for you.

MadamDeathstare Mon 29-Nov-10 20:43:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 29-Nov-10 20:43:49

Hey OP, just returning to this: good for you Just think how much nicer your workplace will be when you return and she is gone or at least chastened!

BelleDeJure Mon 29-Nov-10 20:44:46

LadyBuzz - glad to see you're going to be brave and see HR - as everyone else has said it is likely you will get drawn into it anyway and also, everyone needs to speak up when they see a bully in the workplace.

Just fyi re your concern about her treatment of you (if she stays following grievance hearing) know your rights!

There is such a thing under employment law called 'victimisation' whereby if she treats you less favourably or detrimentally because she knows/thinks you have been part of the allegations against her or given any evidence you are protected.

"Victimisation" has a special, technical, meaning in employment law. It does not have its ordinary day to day meaning of "treating someone unfairly". In an employment law context it means treating someone less favourably because that someone has exercised, or intends to exercise, rights under specific legislation (e.g. this would include raising a grievance or giving evidence to support a grievance)

This right has been strengthened under changes made by Equality Act 2010 with effect from 1st October 2010. From now on it will no longer be necessary for the victim to make a comparison with anyone else - simply being subjected to a detriment because of exercising rights under the Act will be enough to provide the victim with rights under Equality Act 2010.

I would gently let HR know you have had to find the courage to come forward, but knowing that you have the right not to be treated badly (or worse than she is already!) by this person because you support the grievance has given you a bit more strength to step up.

IME HR departments are notoriously fearful of dealing with bullies because of the fear that the bully will bring an unfair dismissal claim etc BUT if they have in mind now that in not dismissing/disciplining this woman so that her behaviour changes they are not acting to protect other employees (who will then have consequent claims against the company) they might just act. You also have additional legal protection during maternity leave and on your return to work so if you think this woman has any power to, say, make you redundant during leave, research your employment rights but hopefully she doesn't hold that kind of authority.

Good luck with HR - all you have to do is be honest and where you can be, specific. It's not a character assassination but if you can think of dates and specific acts it will be the most helpful thing you can do. Imagine coming back to a workplace were there isn't a bully! How nice would that be!

LadyBuzz Mon 29-Nov-10 21:29:31

belledejure thanks for that link I will have a good read.
She doesn't hold any authority over any of us which is a blessing.

I think when it comes down to it she will go whether she is pushed or goes of her own accord. I know she has left 2 previous jobs under grievances.

It will be a nicer place without her even if it means I will be on my own!

I will go to HR tomorrow, she has been off sick today so hopefully won't be back until later in the week when i'm not in!

Thanks for all of your advice!

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