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Looking for some advice on an uncomfortable situation at work.

(12 Posts)
bananaistheanswer Wed 14-Nov-12 18:39:00

Background - worked here 11.5 years, in current team for the last 9 months. T/L and other memebrs of team are very good friends, and boss is friends with them all too. I face 2 of them, we all sit beside T/L and boss sits behind me.

I've not been happy about sitting here since I moved 9 mths ago, but had no real reason to use as an excuse to move. The 2 'colleagues' who sit across from me talk constantly with each other, with T/L and the boss. There are frequent occasions when the chat gets quite, whispers and mumbles etc. which is something I find extremely rude, and makes me feel very uncomfortable. I have never had any proof that I was being talked about, but none the less, it isn't pleasant being made to feel awkward whan I have no choice but to sit here, and cannot get away from the 'private' chats.

This morning, T/L sent me an email, then immediately said it was sent by mistake and I should delete it. I have to click on the email to delete it, and the content shows up in full on the screen. The email was about me. It had started from a converstation bitching sessions between T/L and colleague 1 (not on email). T/L emailed colleague colleague 2, asking about subject of conversation, when colleague 2 proceeded to slag me off in the email. I've no idea who T/L intended to send the email to, instead of me, but it's clear from the email I am the subject of gossip bitching between colleagues, with the involvement and approval of my T/L.

I don't know how to deal with this. Boss, who I would normally consider going to, I don't feel confident in speaking to as I doubt it would be kept confidential and I don't want to make this situation ten times worse.

Can anyone give me some helpful advice on what to do? Ideally, I'd like to move teams, or at least get a move away from this toxic corner as I think I'd feel a lot better not being in ear shot of the bitching that's going on, knowing that it actually is about me mabye not all, but enough. I need to be smar tabout this so I have done nothing so far. I feel like utter crap knowing that all the mumbling and whispers were in all likelihood bitching about me and no doubt many other. It feels like bullying IYSWIM?


Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 14-Nov-12 18:44:12

Does your boss have a boss that you could forward it to? Or an HR department? Couldn't you then say that obviously you no longer feel comfortable with the dynamic of this team and would like to be quietly moved?

Durab Wed 14-Nov-12 18:57:56

What has the T/L had to say for herself? You could have some fun with this and make life really uncomfortable for her, even if you ultimately decide to do nothing, she has been incredibly unprofessional. Is she your line manager?

Is it a big company? If so, it will have a policy on bullying and/or respect in the workplace. Ask you boss for a copy.

nextphase Wed 14-Nov-12 18:59:02

Sounds awful.
Have you still got the message?

If your not comfortable going to your boss, what about there boss? Or someone in HR, if you have a HR department.

I think with the e-mail you have some proof of whats going on, before then it was just suspicion.

Hope you get it sorted soon.

nextphase Wed 14-Nov-12 18:59:57

Far to slow. What Ilovemydog said!

stillsmilingafteralltheseyears Wed 14-Nov-12 19:43:17

Hi, I think you need to give some more info here, how big is your company, is it public or private sector, do you have a HR department, do you have a union rep?

The first thing you should do is print a copy of the email and take it home so you can never lose this evidence.

I am really sorry you are dealing with this but remember this is about them, not you. I also think it is better that you know rather than just suspect.

What these people have done is very unprofessional, is bullying and is exposing the company to serious risk.

bananaistheanswer Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:20

Thanks for the replies. It's a v large private company. Boss's boss is too far removed from me for this to be a realistic option in speaking to him. There is HR, but it's a remote HR full of what seems like clueless jobsworths, and I have no faith in them (was involved in a previous issue with them, and felt like I was being stitched up). I am in a union, but I've no idea who the union rep is, never had cause to use them before.

I honestly don't know if the email is enough for me to use to get moved. It's bitching about me doing work on colleagues' stuff, and them not being happy with what I've done. I feel like I'm being set up if that makes sense. T/L seems to think I've no idea what the email was about, as I wasn't named in it but the reference made was specific to me and work I'd done so I know for certain it's about me. She has not spoke to me, nor does she seem embarrassed about the email. She obviously thinks I've deleted the email and has nothing to worry about. I did delete it, but then read it in my trash and moved it to another folder once I'd read everything on it.

I think my issue here is that I don't think a 'normal' T/L would have done anything about someone generally bitching about something. This feels like 2 people are using the fact they are friends with T/L to cause me a problem i.e. make a big fuss about something they are pissed off about (not justified IMO) and T/L has decided to, I don't know, do something about it. Not sure where she is going with this at all. All I do know is I need to get as far away from this toxic corner as I can, but I'm worried about the fall out in trying to do that. I can't make the T/L's life difficult as I'd no doubt get much worse in terms of bitchiness as friends would also take it personally etc. It's a mess, and I just want to be left in peace to get on with my job while the bitch well out of earshot.

hermioneweasley Wed 14-Nov-12 20:14:50

Banana, I would request a meeting with HR. do you still have a copy of the email? This should absolutely be enough to get you moved. I would expect your TL to be disciplined as well.

bananaistheanswer Wed 14-Nov-12 20:19:11

Yes, I have it in a folder at work. I've not printed it off but will do that on friday when I'm next there. What do I say to HR? How do I broach it with them? Will it make things more difficult if I don't speak to my boss 1st?

hermioneweasley Wed 14-Nov-12 20:21:22

I would email the .hr director setting out the facts and requesting a meeting with the appropriate member of his/her team.

pinkteddy Wed 14-Nov-12 20:26:33

Agree with Hermione. And if you don't want your union rep with you, then you could ask for a friend or colleague to come with you as a witness/support. If you want someone from your union, you only have to phone them and ask. In fact given that you are paying your subs, you could always just ring and ask to talk it through with someone. Might as well get your money's worth and they will give you good advice - you don't have to act on it if you don't want to! The email is hard evidence and people have been sacked/disciplined on this sort of thing in my area of work.

bananaistheanswer Wed 14-Nov-12 21:20:02

Thanks again for the replies. I'm not back in work 'til friday so will have a think about what I want to do. My only worry is that the T/L could explain this away by saying she was 'investigating' a complaint about me. Her wording to start with was cryptic, but did start with 'a little bird tells me you aren't happy with ...' If she reacts by making a serious accusation against me, then it all gets much worse for me.

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