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I thikn my DH is being bullied at work, please advise.

(27 Posts)
Hulla Wed 17-Nov-10 09:00:06

He started working at this organisation in August this year. He was really excited about the job, believed he had good prospects there etc.

He started coming home with stories of other members of the team trying to embarrass him in front of everyone in the office, practical jokes being played only on him, his work being criticised - again in front of everyone and not just by his boss.

A few examples of things they do, most of which is probably just childish but it's every day and I think DH might actually be depressed/suffering from stress as a result of it.

He had to go into another room to do something sort of IT set up (he works in IT). Every few minutes someone would come in and turn the light out and close the door, leaving him working in the dark. So he'd have to get up and turn the light on and start again. He said this happened in excess of 10 times and a job that would take him 30 mins took twice as long. He went went back into the office and the criticised him for taking so long to do a simple task.

They make fun of his weight (he's not overweight particularly but has a bit of belly these days), his receding hair line, his accent, his clothes (he wore a jumper over his shirt when it was cold and they called him all kinds of names inclusing "gay".

He has to work a weekend once every now and then. The weekend before he was due to work another new starter was doing his first Saturday. One of the team told DH that they like to "shit-up" new starters by barging into the office when they're in alone, wearing balaclavas and scaring the crap out of them. DH says they didn't actually do it but he was on pins the following weekend waiting for them to do it to him. He thinks now they just said it to scare him.

Now they've started to make comments on facebook about him, referring to his "fuck-ups" or clearing up his mess. DH says he doesn't know what they mean. His appraisal with his line manager was very positive. His boss says nothing when all this happens.

It doesn't sound much now but I am so angry (about the FB stuff I have just seen) that I can't remember all the things they've done.

He can't look for anything else because they've extended his probabtion period because we had a holiday in September. So he can't have time off for interviews. He is desperate to find something else because of the bullying but I feel like why should he when it's the job he wanted and he wouldnt be leaving if they were professional.

Any advice? I am sorry this is such a long post. I just don't know who to turn to next.

ChickFlit Wed 17-Nov-10 09:14:50

I'm so sorry for you, my DH works in IT too and is bullied at work. The threats against him got so bad this summer that he went to the police and reported it.

Now DH makes a note of everything that happens to him, reports it to his line manager, if he doesn't address it, he then goes to HR. He doesn't enter into non work related conversations with the guy who does the bullying and now refuses to react to anything this guy does. He's been doing this for the past 3 months and things have got easier for him, no reaction from DH means it's boring for the bully. If the guy starts DH just leaves the room and goes straight to HR.

As an aside HR have done nothing about this apart from make notes of the allegations on DH's record, just in case it needs taking further in the future, but I don't know whether this is because DH is very much one for the easy life and doesn't want to rock the boat, which is probably why he's an easy target for bullying.

If it was me I'd be printing off the Facebook stuff and taking it into the line manager and asking him what sort of stuff he's doing wrong and why are people discussing it on Facebook rather than the line manager discussing it to my face, I'd expect him to sort it out, and I would report every incident.

I'm probably of no help but I do understand how you feel, it's terrible seeing your DH so unhappy at work and particularly at the moment when there's hardly any work out there so changing jobs isn't really an option.

Best of luck and chin up.

Hulla Wed 17-Nov-10 09:23:50

Chickflit thank you so much for reading my huge post and replying so quickly. It's great to know someone understands (although I am sorry you're DH is going through it too).

I have taken a screen print of the FB stuff and I will suggest to DH that he takes it to his line manager. I think he sounds similar to your DH - doesn't like to rock the boat. I think he's scared of making it worse.

I also thought about him taking it to HR but he just says "what would I say?".

Even people who share an office with the IT team have started to comment on how much "abuse" DH gets.

On Friday they told him he would have to work away all this week (Sunday-Friday without pay on Sunday) and that he'd need to configure a load of equipment to take with him before he went. Then they sent him to do a job 20 miles away at 3pm Friday meaning he couldn't finish the work and had to go back in on Saturday morning - also without pay. I feel like they're setting him up to fail. Its horrible. He's such a lovely person, he's got a really good heart and I hate that his colleagues can treat him like this.

I have just found a leaflet on the ACAS site about bullying at work so I think I'll print that too.

Thanks again Chickflit smile

frgr Wed 17-Nov-10 09:38:32

Chickflit, i just wanted to post here to say that your husband sounds like he's being treated horribly. i've worked in an organisation where this sort of thing was rife, although only as a temp inbetween jobs, and it's sad to say that you can guarantee it's the nicest people it happens to. it's just like school!

support your husband in any way you can, and follow ACAS' advice, i haven't had any dealings with them myself but when a colleague had issues they were more help than the union rep she consulted with by far. good luck

hairytriangle Wed 17-Nov-10 10:34:01

This is awful. He should raise it with his boss and definately print out the facebook stuff as evidence!

eldritch Wed 17-Nov-10 10:49:50

This is definitely bullying, the work atmosphere sounds very intimidating. The organisation should have a bullying & harrassment policy (sometimes called "dignity at work" or something similar). That should set out how to report something like this. Is there an HR department?

ChickFlit Wed 17-Nov-10 10:53:31

Is it his line manager who's telling him to do this stuff or the guys in the team? If it's his line manager I think he needs to say, well I can't do that because you need to me to do this by X time. If it's the other guys in the team then he needs to go to his manager and say, look I've been delegated all this stuff by the other guys, I can't possibly do it all in the allocated time, can you redelegate some of it out.

However, unlike my DH I won't be pushed around at work and I'm quite a strong personality. I know my DH wouldn't do this at all he'd be the same as your DH and just try and do everything asked of him to keep the peace, but the more he takes the more they'll dump on him. He's a really gentle guy who backs away at confrontation - in the 20 years we've been together I've only ever heard him raise his voice once. He hates arguments and bullies pick on those types of people.

DH never takes a lunch break because there's always too much work to do. The only reason there's too much work is because his bully dumps on him and DH is too scared of him to stand up to him. In the summer the reason we went to the police was because the day before we went on holiday, this guy pinned DH by his throat in a corner and told him he knew where he lived and he was going to make him sorry. He's heavily into gangs etc and always talking about the scams they've pulled so DH took him seriously. I was the one who took DH to the police station to make the report and then got him to send an email to HR explaining what he'd done and why. We spent our entire holiday expecting to come home to a burned out house or have been robbed.

Bullying at work is terrible, I know it's easier to say than do, but your DH should try and address now when it's just started rather than have years of unhappiness like my DH.

Hulla Thu 18-Nov-10 11:26:42

It was his line manager who sent him out on Friday knowing he also had to config all the stuff before the weekend.

The practical jokes seem to be a mix of team members and his boss.

chick that is absolutely awful situation you must have been terrified. Are things resolved now?

NeedMenInWhiteCoats Thu 18-Nov-10 18:54:27

I can't comment on the bullying other than to suggest he logs every little incident for future reference and ask HR for all their policies full stop, but I would check your DHs contract RE probation periods.

The terms 'probation' or 'probation period' hold no weight when it comes to laws around them, legally it doesn't mean anything - the only conditions that can be attributed to this term are conditions laid out in his contract. On mine my employer forgot to add anything about extending my probationary period so couldn't extend it even if they had wanted to. I am surprised they extended it for a holiday - is mentioned any where in his contract/a probation policy that this is standard? I would certainly no expect his probationary period to be extended any longer than the holiday even if they can extend it.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Hulla Mon 22-Nov-10 10:40:15

Thanks NeedMenInWhiteCoats, that's really interesting about probation. It didn't seem right to me. I told DH and he said he doesn't feel confident challenging it at work.

He has emailed me this morning to say someone has printed out a picture of Dumb & Dumber and taped it to his desk & that someone text him a pic of it last week too. He hadn't told me that.

This morning he's had an email from a colleague saying "saw the fb stuff, it's completely out of order you need to print it and show the boss" (paraphrased by me).

Along with this he's forwarded me an email from one of the worst offenders which says "I'm not a bully, I was bullied here for 3 years, I wouldn't do that to someone. Sorry for email, don't like confrontation".

I've emailed dh to ask why this colleague thought to deny being a bully.

Looks like something is happening though. I'm making a record of the new stuff. Thanks everyone!

DirtyMartini Mon 22-Nov-10 10:44:47

Just wanted to add my support to you and your DH. I have nothing useful to advise, but I hope this ends in triumph for you both x

Hulla Mon 22-Nov-10 12:44:12

Thanks DirtyMartini. DH is going to speak to his boss tomorrow.

I should correct above, it was a non-bullying colleague who sent the "I would never bully" email. Same first name as a bully so I got confused.

They have deleted the facebook stuff and someone has emailed dh a picture of a cowboy. He's kept all texts, pictures and emails. I have the facebook screen print. I shall let you know what his boss says tomorrow.

Thanks everyone.

DirtyMartini Mon 22-Nov-10 12:59:48

A cowboy? confused

Hulla Mon 22-Nov-10 14:22:35

I think meaning he doesn't do a good job "bit of a cowboy".

DirtyMartini Mon 22-Nov-10 14:28:24

Ah. Tenuous.

They're not the brightest bunch, are they? grin

Hulla Mon 22-Nov-10 16:46:33

haha, no, I have kind of got that impression too! grin

Hulla Sun 28-Nov-10 09:02:07

So DH has spoken with his boss, showed him the facebook stuff, the dumb & dumber poster which DHs name photoshopped onto it and some text messages.

His boss went mad, asked him to gather all the evidence he could and said he would put at stop to it. He then went to HR.

He said to DH that he thinks because DH has been to Uni, is articulate and outgoing that's they're threatened by him for promotion prospects etc.

I'll let you know what action his boss takes.

frgr Sun 28-Nov-10 18:25:31

Hulla i'm so glad to read your DH's boss is taking this seriously, good luck to him - he shouldn't have to face this sort of crap at work - please do let us know how he gets on

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 29-Nov-10 08:30:55

Also good to see that he has had expressions of support from colleagues.

With this sort of crap it is usually just one or two morons and the decent people eventually get sick of it and say "enough is enough".

Interesting that one colleague has said this happened to them as well - perhaps same perpetrator?

Glad your DHs boss is dealing with this properly. Any sensible employer would come down like a ton of bricks on this kind of thing as if they don't they are open to claims for not safeguarding their employee's health.

I am sure things will improve rapidly now - the perpetrator will probably rapidly find themselves out on their ear.

Hulla Wed 01-Dec-10 09:44:32

No update I'm afraid, I don't know what DHs boss has done. I've had a miscarriage and DH has been off with me. In quite worried he'll get disciplined for this - he's still on probabarion after the extension for our annual leave so he's not supposed to have time off.

They can't do that can they? I just want DH to go back to work because I'm stressing about what'll happen if he doesn't.

Hulla Wed 01-Dec-10 09:45:11

*probation! Gah!

AllOverIt Wed 01-Dec-10 09:57:54

Oh Hulla, I'm so sorry that you had a MC sad. I can't be any help, though my SIL is in HR so I'll chat to her and see if she's got any advice.

It sounds fucking awful. If I was your DH I'd go straight to HR myself to see that stuff was being done. If his boss is partially involved, he might not have been totally honest with them.

TitianTinselTemptress Wed 01-Dec-10 09:58:02

Oh Hulla have just been reading your thread with furrowed brow and now just seen your last post

So so so sorry what an awful time you are having. Massive, unashamed HUGS to you my dear.

Has your DH explained to the boss why he's not in? I have no idea about the legal aspect but ethically it would be very very wrong of them to punish him for taking time off to be with you.

Hulla Wed 01-Dec-10 10:13:41

Thank you both. Its a bit of a rollercoaster lately.

Yes, his bosses wife has had 2 mcnthis year so dh thought he'd be understanding but he seems to be suspicious. He asked DH why we went to A&E for only blood tests (because my GP told me to go to A&E and I couldn't get a scan until yesterday). I feel so stressed that he thinks that DH is lying. Or maybe he doesn't and I'm just being overly sensitive.

I think I might suggest to DH that he calls hr and asks for their opinion.

Back on the work issue - DH had to go in for a few hours yesterday, apparently he's no longer in the tea club! That's what happens when you tell on bullies <sigh>

GreenButton Wed 01-Dec-10 10:21:22

Hulla, sorry to hear that you and your DH are going through.

I was bullied at work by my manager and a nasty woman (who now purports to be a writer and says on her website that yes, she is a bully).

Your DH might be able to get some useful pointers from the The Andrea Adams trust website Andrea Adams trust

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