AIBU about workplace bullying?(2 Posts)
A bit of background so as not to dripfeed - I have been in my post for a year and work in an office with two male colleagues Chaz* and Dave*. Both are late forties/early 50s, I am 26. Dave is the line manager of both Chaz and I but we are all fairly senior, with a junior team of approximately 10 others underneath us.
I get on very well with Chaz and Dave. We hired three school-leavers at the end of last year, all of whom are 18 and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Chaz is in their management chain, so therefore so is Dave - but Dave is quite removed from the situation.
There is a lot of 'banter' in our office just the three of us, but both men have proven to be very good friends and have always said that if they ever take it too far to tell them because it would be unintentional and they would hate to upset me. I have never had to; they are generally very respectful and have never upset me, and I honestly feel I could tell them if they had.
We brought the male new recruit (Billy*) to physically sit in our office after his initial training. Nice enough person but sometimes took the 'banter' too far - and a few times upset me. I didn't let it show and instead engaged with it, which I admit was wrong. I confided in Chaz that what had been said had actually upset me, and he addressed it with Billy and things have been fine since. I have since spoken to Billy about it and told him I should have engaged, and he expressed genuine concern that he had upset me.
Now, when Billy started we also recruited two females - Jane and April. April and Billy hit if off which Jane seems to be the quieter of the three. On Friday, Jane confided in Chaz that she feels bullied by Billy and April. Their is clearly a personality clash and she is very introverted compared to the others, but she feels like when the three of them are together and she doesn't engage in the banter, they go quiet and clearly start messaging each other and laughing. She feels excluded.
Here is the problem - April is a very attractive 18 year old girl who everyone loves. Chaz is making excuses for April whilst placing the blame on Billy. He is saying that it isn't intentional and that Jane should have spoken up about it sooner (she has admitted that she sits in the ladies toilets crying every day). He wants to address it and isn't blaming Jane, but I am pissed off that he isn't taking it seriously enough because he thinks that because April is pretty and bubbly, she couldn't possibly intentionally bully someone.
I brought it to his attention that last week, April came into our office looking for something specific - when I asked her why she needed it, she said "we were taking about phobias and turns out Jane has a phobia of it, so I wanted to find some to leave on her desk". I went apeshit and said that it was a nasty thing to do, which April laughed off and said "Oh I wouldn't really have done it" - but then why was she looking for it? Chaz's response was "Oh I didn't really pick up on that being a mean thing to do".
He is adamant that the bullying is unintentional and there is just a personality clash, and that he will tell April and Billy to tone it right down and behave appropriately. AIBU to feel that even at 18 years old, they know that what they are doing is wrong and should have to face some sort of consequence for that?!
To make matters worse, we are due to be in an end of year moderation panel this afternoon where the matter of April receiving a bonus will be discussed - I admit that she is good of her job, but I am really uncomfortable agreeing to award her a bonus now that this has all come out.
Crikey that was long, sorry!! That's what happens when you attempt not to dripfeed...
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