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Am I being bullied?

(18 Posts)
Pleasemrstweedie Wed 16-Dec-15 14:05:10

I’m starting to wonder if I’m being bullied. I’ve worked here for five years, in an admin role in education. Everything was fine for the first four years.
In the last eighteen months my manager has:

•Made material changes to my job description without discussing them with me and lied about her reasons for not doing so. She said we had not been in the office at the same time whereas, in the three months between her making the changes and telling me about them, we had been in at the same time for five full weeks and some odd days.
•Tried to get a bonus payment to me rescinded. When I thanked her for it she told me I was not entitled to it and it took two days for HR to confirm that I was. I said at the time I would never get another bonus payment and, so far, I have not.
•Accused me of saying things I did not say, three months after the event. I had been interviewed by a management consultant in December. In March my manager said she and her manager had been having to defend me because of what I allegedly said. I could not understand why she had not at any point asked me and she could not explain why she had not.
•Given me an objective that I couldn’t meet because she would not tell me anything . The objective was to help to arrange a conference. I kept asking what I could do and was told ‘nothing’. In fact I was given no information whatsoever about the conference before it started. While I was being told there was nothing to do, my manager was working overtime to complete everything.
•If my manager is not in the office for any reason and I take any action, or make a decision, it is always wrong.
•I am receiving no development at all.
•I had a day off with a cold yesterday. I had the cold on Monday when I was in work, but it was worse yesterday. Tomorrow I have to have a return to work interview. This is not usual procedure.

What do you think?

Pleasemrstweedie Wed 16-Dec-15 14:21:24

I've just realised that, although I am supposed to be her deputy, her Out of Office message today refers people to our receptionist, even though I am here and she knew I was going to be here.

MissTriggs Wed 16-Dec-15 14:39:09


An excellent book I cannot recommend highly enough - kept me sane 12 years ago..."Bully in sight, How to predict, resist, challenge and combat workplace bullying.Overcoming the silence and denial by which abuse thrives" Tim Field

You said you were off work with a cold. Would that have happened pre-bullying? One of the biggest problems with bullying is that it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I look back now and cannot believe how objectively poor my performance became in the six months of severe bullying - anyone can be made to do a bad job if someone is trying to get them out.

Best advice I had was "leave" (from a close friend who is an employment lawyer and who added "trust me I have seen this many times") and I pass that on to you with best wishes.

HermioneWeasley Wed 16-Dec-15 14:42:09

It does sound like it from what you describe, but would be very hard to prove. I second Triggs' advice to leave and find a place where you will be valued and happy

Fluffyears Wed 16-Dec-15 17:44:56

Get your cv sent out and get out. I am working my notice after similar bullying and I can't wait to tell 'fuckety bye' on my way out!

Zazedonia Thu 17-Dec-15 14:05:17

When you leave like that the bully wins of course, and it's not so easy to find replacement work these days. Did any of you at least get some compensation for having to leave?

flowery Thu 17-Dec-15 15:41:19

"When you leave like that the bully wins of course"

Who "wins" depends on who achieves the best outcome for them. Anyone feeling bullied (indeed anyone in any difficult situation at work) needs to decide what outcome they want.

Seems to me that if the alternatives are a)look for a new job, find one, hand in notice and walk off into the sunset or b) continue to be bullied, raise a grievance, go through a stressful grievance process, all the while working with the bully, possibly not be happy with the outcome, appeal it, still not be happy (because what outcome of a grievance would be good?), then probably go off sick with stress (if not already), go on to SSP and suffer financially and maybe then get offered a small amount of money to leave..

..then I'd say (a) was a "win" personally.

Zazedonia Thu 17-Dec-15 16:17:19

I'd agree with that. But if you leave to unemployment, or to a much worse paid job, or one with worse career progression, that's not such a great outcome.

Pleasemrstweedie Thu 17-Dec-15 18:47:48

Thanks for your replies. They're much appreciated. I think I now have the answer to my question.

The back to work interview was actually a stage 1 absence review because I have had three absences in six months. No action was taken in July when I had had three absences in three months. The onus is now on me to improve my sickness record.

The absences have been two viral infections (chills, sore throat etc), two episodes of diarrhoea probably caused by unknown allergy which my GP refuses to investigate and one day off with a heavy cold. It's all random. I don't eat commercial bread any more, which appears to have sorted the diarrhoea, but the rest is completely random.

The good news is that I have been there long enough to get six months full pay and six months half pay if I go sick.

daisychain01 Fri 18-Dec-15 16:54:49

Please don't conflate bullying with the list of situations in your OP. I'm not seeing bullying there, maybe miscommunication, and the sense your manager doesn't have confidence in you. That isn't bullying.

Also you have to admit your sickness record is not particularly good. There are times when struggling in to work to show willing is useful because it gives the message that at least you tried. If you can get your attendance back on track that will help.

Given me an objective that I couldn’t meet because she would not tell me anything may be a lesson for the future is to have a formal meeting to clarify something that is given to you so they can't avoid giving you key information. Insist!.

MissTriggs Fri 18-Dec-15 17:45:06

OP, what has changed in these last 18 months?
Are there new policies on absences? Have you been off sick more? Both?

The comment to the management consultant thing may have turned someone against you.

The manager probably has problems that are nothing to do with you. The question is whether she is taking them out on you

Besom Fri 18-Dec-15 18:06:29

I agree with everything daisy chain said.Sounds like poor communication but there is nothing which sounds like bullying.

Domino777 Fri 18-Dec-15 18:23:52

I think you need to raise your concerns in writing by email with the manager. Do it professionally and politely and non emotionally. Seek to improve things rather then accuse. Look forward as you want to progress

Pleasemrstweedie Mon 21-Dec-15 19:11:51

Thanks everyone.

I'm going to have to do something.

I've now seen the minutes from the absence review meetings which have been written in such a way as to suggest that I have been off a lot and don't care, which is not the case.

I have spoken to a friend who is at the top of the management tree in our organisation and his view is that my level of absence, especially with five months between the last absence and the trigger absence, should have enabled my manager to use her discretion and not have a meeting in the first place.

I am going to ask her to re-write the minutes and I am going to ask her why she elected to have the meeting in the first place.

Zazedonia Tue 22-Dec-15 22:01:33

It sounds to me as though there is a bullying element to this. The manager doesn't think highly of you, and something may have triggered that feeling, but the way that she is letting that emotion run away with her and is handling you is in my view bullying.

IguanaTail Tue 22-Dec-15 22:05:51

I think you should channel all your energy into finding a new job.

Temporaryanonymity Tue 22-Dec-15 22:14:08

It is the procedure in every organisation I have worked in to have a return to work interview after absence, and indeed to have formal reviews after the number of absences you have had.

As for the rest, it's hard to tell whether you have a legitimate case of bullying.

Snazarooney Tue 22-Dec-15 22:19:38

Definitely read Bully InSight. Look for another job and never look back. You will 'win' as you will be happy and work for someone who deserves your hard work and dedication. Let karma get the bully! I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Well done for recognising it as bullying.

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