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to think this is a form of bullying, but worried about reporting it?

(50 Posts)
mummytowillow Tue 12-Mar-13 18:33:47

I work in a office of over a hundred people. There is a smaller department within this with 25 of us.

There is a mix of men and women, some in their 20's and some in their 40's (me). There is quite a bit of office banter and we generally get on well.

There is one bank of desks where the banter can become quite degoratory to women and one male in particular (male A in his 40's), just doesn't care what he says. He thinks all women are moaners and control freaks and he will turn every conversation around to everything is a womans fault. He has been warned by other female colleagues he is overstepping the mark but won't change. angry

Today I had to ask another colleague (male B in his 30's) some advice, this colleague is also involved in banter. He completely overreacted to the question I asked him and totally humilated me in front of the other people on the desks. sad

It got the point where he was making a scene so another male colleague stepped in and gave me the advice (he is not involved in banter). But for the rest of the afternoon (about two hours) Males A&B poked fun at me, made degoratory comments, said I'd got things wrong and generally made my afternoon a misery.

I looked at them both and told them I didn't think this was funny, and to stop. They ignored me and carried on, to the point the other three males on the bank of desks were embarrassed and obviously didn't know what to do.

When I'm angry I tend to cry, and I could feel the tears coming, they couldn't see them, but knew I was upset and got worse. I reiterated I wanted them to stop they didn't.

Hometime came and I packed up (I hot desk as I finish earlier) and said cheerio and went home. Their behaviour played on my mind all night to the point I couldn't sleep and worried on the way to work. I'm no walkover but this got to me.

This morning male B approached me in front of others and said 'morning grumpy, are you going to be nice today'. I chose to ignore him and he had to walk off. Male A had already admitted to another colleague they had both gone too far with me and that I was upset when I left work. sad

I emailed Male B (as he had been the worst) and told him I was upset and his behaviour was unacceptable and he ignored the mail then choosing to ignore me for the rest of the day. Male A spoke to other colleague and she told him he was out of order, she felt he was testing the water and he denied any wrongdoing and said it was 'harmless banter'. She wants me to speak to their line manager and see what they can do, as neither of them are willing to stop their behaviour.

I'm scared of doing this as I'm worried other colleagues will find out, and I don't really want them to get into trouble, I just want them to realise they can't do this to the women in the office. I'm also worried they will close ranks.

As I go along with some of the banter (just general funny none degoratory stuff) will they use that against me?

Friend advised speaking to our female manager and just mentioning the incident and see what she says, then make a decision on whether it goes formal.

Any advice would be great thanks (go easy on me though) wink

PurpleStorm Thu 14-Mar-13 06:50:16

Hope your talk with your manager goes well.

Seconding advice to log everything.

bringbacksideburns Thu 14-Mar-13 09:34:57

Yes definitely complain to the Manager when she gets back.

They sound like a couple of pathetic overgrown schoolboys. Do not let yourself be intimidated. It sounds like there are several people in your team well aware of how bad they are. I think they need to all be called in and this should be sorted out once and for all.
Zero tolerance. Any further aggressive behaviour and unwelcome 'banter' and report immediately.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 14-Mar-13 10:12:22

It's interesting that one of them has apologised - it means that on some level he knows that his behaviour is unacceptable, either personally or professionally. This can only help with your complaint against the other I think.

(And, being slightly childish for a moment, only on Mumsnet would you be given advice on dealing with bullying that includes the phrase 'don't do this if you're wearing sandals or suede'. Comments like that make me love Mumsnet even more than I already do grin.)

catgirl1976 Thu 14-Mar-13 10:17:34

It is harrasement

Go to your HR dept / Line Manager and complain formally

Keep a log of what was said and who was witness to it

INeverSaidThat Thu 14-Mar-13 10:24:00

I can't stand this type of thing. I hope you get it sorted.

LadyPessaryPam Thu 14-Mar-13 10:26:28

Please diarize their behaviour. Film them on your mobile if necessary. Keep their emails and also hold onto any really filthy general ones too. They are so stupid as they could both easily lose their jobs for this shit.

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 14-Mar-13 13:41:59

It is your right to feel comfortable in your work place.

Please have the courage to speak up and put a stop to this.

Workplace bullying and harassment

LoopDeLoops Thu 14-Mar-13 13:47:37

Good luck, I'm pleased you're reporting it. They both sound like utter twats.

quoteunquote Thu 14-Mar-13 13:53:56

record them, you have a recording app on your phone (if you have a smart phone), as they go through their daily entire routine,

then email it to your line manager,

and explain your tactics of dealing with it, are apparently falling on deaf ears and could they please address it as it is effecting the workplace.

lurkedtoolong Thu 14-Mar-13 13:59:20

So the response when he knows he's upset you by bullying you is to continue with sexual harassment? Report the bastard.

mummytowillow Thu 14-Mar-13 15:44:35

Unfortunately were not allowed to have phones in the office due to data protection.

Other people witness it all, but as another poster said when it comes down to speaking up people are reluctant sad

Roll on Monday so i can see what our manager says. Problem is I'll probably cry, any tips on how not to? blush

Piffpaffpoff Thu 14-Mar-13 16:35:38

Write everything down that you want to say so that you can be sure you cover it all. Plus if you do get too upset to continue, you can hand it over for your boss to read.

Don't worry about crying, you are being upset by this so don't be ashamed or afraid for displaying this upset. The only thing I would say is can you get a private meeting space away from your office? From previous personal experience, it's good to be away so that you can nip to the toilets afterwards to compose yourself before returning to the office.

Best of luck, you are doing a good thing.

FairhairedandFrustrated Thu 14-Mar-13 18:02:11

Only today I went to my manager re: bullying behaviour by a colleague.

The colleague (male) needless to say has disputed and contested every claim I have made.

I am dreading work tomorrow, as our boss (who works in a different office) is off now until Tuesday. I feel sick at the thought of sharing an office with this man.

Go to your manager, at least it's documented. I told my manager today the ball was in his court and if he couldn't deal with it I'd have to go to someone more senior or seek legal advice.

Lovemynailstoday Thu 14-Mar-13 18:18:35

Stand firm and insist management deals with this. The usual response is to try to shift responsibility for "making a case" on to the victim. Sorting out this kind of stuff is what management are paid for. Make your point and stand back. Good luck.

TapselteerieO Thu 14-Mar-13 20:41:21

Good luck willow.

Rub the roof of your mouth with your tongue to stop the tears coming, sometimes helps me, stop, have a break, take a very slow in breath, hold and release slowly and look up and away, at a bright light or sunshine, blink.

Write down everything you want to say and practice saying it, to yourself and a friend or someone supportive, try and learn your points and repeat them verbatim, avoid saying too much. Let the manager do the talking. If you want to send an e-mail outlining the main issues, then you will have less to say, the meeting will be focussing on finding a solution/addressing your grievances.

There are probably more tips online about how to avoid crying - just don't hold the emotion in!

quoteunquote Fri 15-Mar-13 10:48:57,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43828540,d.d2k&fp=2160da47a0b959da&biw=1018&bih=596

I use one of these to record all my meetings, as we go through a lot of fine details, it helps to clarify.

mummytowillow Fri 15-Mar-13 21:17:38

I did it, spoke to our female manager who was absolutely lovely and absolutely horrified.

She just held her head in her hands when I told her about the banana incident. I kept saying sorry to her and she kept saying you have nothing to be sorry about.

She agrees if the banter is going on but then becomes unpleasant and upsetting and someone says stop, it should stop. She is going to speak to both of them and take it from there.

I didn't cry at all, but I'm now worrying others will find out and ostracize me? I've done the right thing haven't I?

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 15-Mar-13 21:30:45

You have certainly done the right thing.

No one ahouldnhave to put up with the on a daily basis!

Piffpaffpoff Fri 15-Mar-13 21:53:20

You have certainly done the right thing. Well done.

Edlyu Fri 15-Mar-13 21:59:42

You have done the right thing.

Male A & Male B are the ones who have done wrong and should be afraid for their jobs. Well done.

Piffpaffpoff Fri 15-Mar-13 22:00:59

I didn't mean to repeat what the poster above me said, that was pure coincidence. Or, using a phrase from my distant childhood, 'Jinx!'. Anyway, moving on......

bringbacksideburns Sun 17-Mar-13 16:37:53

Stop worrying. What are you worrying about? That other members of staff who probably think they are idiots already, are going to be pissed off you finally stood up to them?

I don't think so. Of course you did the right thing. Well done. And any other shit you go straight to her again.

MrsZoidberg Tue 19-Mar-13 10:31:00

mummytowillow did your manager deal with this yesterday?

I had to deal with "office banter" for years, my line manager was next to useless, so I hope you have had better luck.

mummytowillow Tue 19-Mar-13 16:32:00

I think she has spoken to them. She's on leave today. I had to sit next to one of them today. He ignored me all day, not even a good morning.

Other one is being cool to. Would you expect them to ignore or act normally and speak to me. No apology has come from Male B either.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 19-Mar-13 16:43:39

Well done, OP! It takes courage to stand up to this sort of thing.

As for what you should 'expect' from them now, who gives a fuck. It's their problem. Personally if I worked with arseholes like that (the banana thing? Seriously?!??!) I'd be perfectly happy with cool silence broken only by necessary work-driven exchanges.

If others ostracise you despite knowing about/witnessing this behaviour, then you should be relieved to be ostracised by them too.

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