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Bullying 2 days after returning from maternity leave.

(19 Posts)
ammature Wed 08-Mar-17 09:11:47

Please can someone help. I'm waiting on calls from my union and my bosses boss but I've had the worst night awake bad dreams everything.

I've been treated poorly by my line manager for years. I work in higher education and she just took against me. I've tried to brooch it with her- she appolagised three years ago. But it's never been right. Fast forward to her mismanagement of my matt leave including forging my risk assessment and telling me to do emails whilst off. I had enough and raised it with senior managers who appolaiges and suggested mediation, still following informal channels.

I agreed to mediation but she declined leaving me no where. Monday I returned to work. No welcome or anything and I just did my best. A long standing member but who I have never worked with of staff was very stressed on Monday and I supported her she even hugged me yesterday saying how helpful I had been.

I had no real interaction with my LM besides two hellos.

Yesterday this stressed member of staff was showing me a text conversation from our LM which discussed the issues she had been stressed about. In the messages was a denigrating comment about me. I lost it. I asked for her to let me screen grab it- here was evidence I needed of what I have been experiencing for years but what's senior managment have called "corridor talk" she wouldn't and said the LM was her support.

I went straight to sr management very upset the staff all hid. I called the staff member on loudspeaker and asked her to come down and show the boss and she said she would. She never came to the office instead another person (bff with LM) came down( they don't work close by it was collusion) said staff member was gone home and Text was deleted.

Sr management say the believe me but have to follow process now. Not to attend work today. What should I do??? I can't work there in this poisonous environment. This is one example of millions. Have cLked acas who said I don't really have much of a case for anything. Can't believe I have to work on this environment

flowery Wed 08-Mar-17 10:04:56

Well they're not wrong that they have to follow process. Have you actually put in a formal grievance at any point during all this? It's not reasonable of your line manager to decline mediation, but if informal discussion and an offer of mediation haven't worked, your next step is a formal grievance.

RatherBeRiding Wed 08-Mar-17 12:51:45

I agree with the above poster - they HAVE to follow formal process or else it's very much "he said, she said" and without witnesses or hard evidence senior management nearly always take the side of other management.

You say she's treated you badly for years - what evidence do you have? Emails? Being treated differently? Work being taken away from you? Unrealistic deadlines etc etc. If you have anything you can use as real, objective evidence then you must make this formal and raise a grievance.

If you don't have enough evidence, then take a deep breath, carry on doing your job with utmost professionalism and start amassing evidence.

It sounds as though her mismanagement of your maternity leave might be a starting point?

Failing all that, can you transfer to a different department? Its quite hard to recover from a toxic relationship with your line manager.

daisychain01 Wed 08-Mar-17 13:26:34

The relationship with your LM seems to have come to a head. Did you write down what the text said? If not, please make a note as near to verbatim as possible. You can either:

a). Use your previous 'informal' complaints as the starting point to a formal grievance through the correct HR channels. The informal stuff from the past shows you tried to resolve the situation directly and professionally, but now it is impacting your ability to do your job. Wait to see if this process gives your LM the message she needs to 'behave'.

b). Make a write up of your LM's behaviour that you take issue with, (just bullet points of key events and behaviours), while it is all clear in your mind. Keep it 'in your back pocket' for a future time, but don't do anything. Continue doing your job well.

c). See if you can move to a different manager in a new role. You may find it helpful, having raised a formal grievance in (a) above, that the grievance process gives you the chance to request a transfer to "resolve" the grievance. HR is all about resolutions to problems, so if they can get you moved to a new role it will be "job done"

Your LM sounds a difficult manager if they send nasty texts only 2 days after your return to work. Hope you are OK.

ammature Mon 13-Mar-17 03:33:14

Sorry for the delay getting back this is sound advice. So it seems she is not denying the text and has admitted it which makes the process easier I guess. I agree the only way forward is a formal
Grievance now though I've been told the outcome might be an apology which seems way too lenient for me. I can't move department and I already asked for a new line manager and my requests were
Refused.

As for evidence I've kept notes and any emails but it's quite subtle in a way this text was the moment I could see it clearly in black and white.

My husband says it's effecting my health and I should think about leaving but I feel like that's giving up on so much.

UnderTheCovers Mon 13-Mar-17 05:02:23

Honestly? Find a new job if you possibly can.
I worked for a toxic manager. He destroyed me, and i ended up on ADs. I managed an internal move, because that was all my confidence was up to. 3 years later, an internal restructure meant I was to be working for him again. I was offered mediation, which was accepted, but useless. He wasn't going to change 20 years of management style, on being told things he had been told before. I quit, without a job, to be a SAHM. Thankfully it was achievable financially. I don't think i will ever get back to a career like i had before, but to escape him, it was worth it. Antedocally, of the 4 of us restructured to work under him, 3 quit within 3 months - the 4 already working for him stayed.
Please, don't make yourself ill over this. There is so much more to life than work, especially if work is toxic. flowers

ammature Mon 13-Mar-17 16:49:19

Oh god. What to do. She's one of those academic managers who's basically got no management experience whatsoever so frankly hasn't a clue. HR just said if they take action I'll never even know due to confidentiality

flowery Mon 13-Mar-17 16:51:20

Have you put in a formal grievance yet?

ammature Mon 13-Mar-17 22:53:09

No
I'm on annual leave now, I've had calls from
Management and HR they aren't pressuring me but I will put in the grievance I just want to get it sorted with my union rep. They said the outcome might not even be told to me due to confidentiality. Seems like a hopeless task in a way. Anyone gone through one?

daisychain01 Tue 14-Mar-17 05:37:27

If you put in a formal grievance, in writing, your employers are duty bound to respond by investigating the points in your grievance. You would be invited to a meeting called a 'Grievance Hearing' to discuss their findings.

My advice is that your written statement needs to be clear and succinct about what your grievance is, with specific examples. I noticed in your OP that you have already spoken with ACAS:-
Have cLked acas who said I don't really have much of a case for anything

Has your union rep been helpful, can they support you in creating your statement?

MaverickSnoopy Tue 14-Mar-17 12:27:01

Does your workplace have harassment advisors? A lot of HE institutes do and this is definitely within their remit to help.

ammature Tue 14-Mar-17 23:22:28

My union rep helped with the informal process I've already been though and we prob have all that documentation. There is a dignity at work policy and I think there are advisors wonder if worth contacting them?

I'm meeting HR Monday anything i should watch out for ? Weirdly both they and sr management seem supportive however formal they are.

daisychain01 Wed 15-Mar-17 01:15:55

I would review your documentation and make sure it captures everything you want to include. You ought to consider issuing it as a formal grievance.

Make sure at the meeting that they review and acknowledge your complaint accurately as there is often a tendency to minimise it or give you platitudes. They need to commit to improving the situation.

ammature Sat 18-Mar-17 00:26:13

Any ideas of questions to ask on Monday when I meet hr, I'm guessing they will be very process lead and they've basically told me other if anything formally takes place I won't know because it's all confidential. How do I ask the question that how will I know et the end I'm working in a safe place?

RJnomore1 Sat 18-Mar-17 00:30:42

I think you ask that. How can you expect to be treated now and what do you do if that doesn't happen?

daisychain01 Sat 18-Mar-17 07:38:04

i cannot emphasise strongly enough, you need to be crystal clear what you want to happen and what you are asking your employers to do. What do you define as a "safe" working environment? Safe tends to be used in the context of being free from threat, abuse and bullying/has s'assument ( the latter must be tied to a protected characteristic such as gender, race etc).

Unless you are specific about the problem , and what you want to change they will feed you platitudes and it will tick their box but won't materially change anything.

A question could be
Please can you confirm in writing after the meeting what we have discussed and agreed will be changed and the steps to be taken to make the change?. And what my escalation path is if things don't improve in future?

daisychain01 Sat 18-Mar-17 07:39:32

Should say bullying / harassment
Not bullying/has s'assument

ammature Sun 19-Mar-17 14:28:47

@daisychain01 I totally agree. THey have told me whatever the outcome is i probably won't know as it will be kept confidential which I find really frustrating. How will I know anything has been done now and they aren't feeding me platitudes?

I'm meeting HR tomorrow, how should I approach this? Union has been helpful but you've raised a key point here how will I ever actually feel safe? This crap has been going on behind my back so long even after the grievance?

daisychain01 Sun 19-Mar-17 15:52:09

I would go along to the meeting, listen to what they say, and see if what they say seems like they are addressing your concerns.

If at a future time you feel unsafe, then you would need to revert to HR and explain what has happened, referencing that you'd already met HR and had hope it would improve.

There are no guarantees in life, that's the reality. Take it one step at a time. At least you have created a relationship with HR that you can call on in future.

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