Bullying in workplace- 4 months

(9 Posts)
LeaderoftheAteam Thu 29-Jun-17 10:19:12

Just looking for any advice!

My partner started his new job at one of the Big Four in February 2017. He was really excited as it was promised as an excellent position with lots of training, progression and bonus. Obviously, since he started none of those appear to be true, he's not happy about it but nothing can be done on that front. The problem is a woman that he works with, they have to work together and she was meant to be training him. Instead she insults him and tries to manage his behaviour to imply that he is aggressive or intimidating. He is a huge black man but that should have no bearing. Some examples- "you aren't as good as you are meant to be", "you are not taking this seriously". He asked for her help with an issue and she told him to figure it out, he asked again (after spending all day working on it and not being able to solve the issue) asked again and she still refused. She emails him as he leaves the office to highlight that he's left, e.g. Friday everyone leaves about 4. He left 4.45 to catch the train and she emailed 4.50, a question that could have been emailed all day. Yesterday he was leaving and she arranged herself to meet him as he left the office to make a comment on his work. She's not technically his manager but is so over involved in his performance and emails the manager to email him. There is NO work for him to do, with no training (and he really wants to learn to progress) he decided to teach himself some of the E-Learning courses at work, picked 5 to do and was going to work through them and do some wider reading/practice, (all of his own back or he is just sat twiddling his thumbs). Now the manager and this woman are emailing him asking why he is taking so long with the training, asking him to account for every single hour of the day. Whilst this written down doesn't seem like a lot, there are small issues every single day. It seems as though they are trying to make his time with them sooooo uncomfortable that he quits his job, I seriously think he would have if he didn't have myself and two children to support at home. The situation at work is really grinding him down and it is awful to watch, he is sooo passionate and wants to work and be good at his job and they are draining it all away. Is this normal at a bit four- as in the culture of dog eat dog and subtle bullying/harassment? He has only worked there a short time so I assume there is no legal redress? Constructive dismissal needs to have worked there two years doesn't it? What about harassment etc? He dreads work now and it's really affecting him. He is good at his job but there is NO work and he's just trying to improve himself instead of doing nothing. He just can't do anything right. Sorry if that's long. Any advice would be brilliant!

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LeaderoftheAteam Thu 29-Jun-17 10:19:51

Jesus sorry about the lack of paragraphs blush

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Asmoto Thu 29-Jun-17 10:25:02

Can you say what his role is supposed to be without it being too outing?

LeaderoftheAteam Thu 29-Jun-17 10:29:25

Senior role in finance. Is that enough detail? They are usually busy at certain periods of the year and then not much else. They are then meant to apply for jobs internally (which he does). Hope that helps

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EngTech Thu 29-Jun-17 10:32:26

Keep a record of events, chat to HR and see if the company has a policy on it.

I had similar problems years ago. Ended up off sick with stress, depression.

Had my back to work interview with HR and I let rip.

HR were horrified and my admin resulted in manager concerned "leaving the company"

Result in my eyes and now I call people out if I feel I am being treated unfairly.

You have to stand up to people like this otherwise they think they can get away with it.

Good luck with getting it sorted 😀👍

Asmoto Thu 29-Jun-17 10:39:19

Yes, I can see that with tax year end out of the way it won't be one of the busier periods.

Has your partner spoken to his actual manager about his concerns? All his interactions at the moment seem to be with the woman who's supposed to be training him, and that clearly isn't working out. I think he needs to ask for a meeting with his manager in the first place.

He's doing some e-learning, which is certainly better than doing nothing - but could he arrange to do something a bit more 'active' that would take him out of the department and away from this woman - say, shadowing in a different area of the business? If he's being encouraged to apply for internal jobs, he could look for those that interest him and ask to spend time with the present role-holder.

Could he speak to other colleagues in the department to find out what they did when they were training?

If he has been there less than 2 years, his employment rights are limited but he still should be protected against breach of his general rights, ie. harassment/bullying and if it's one of the Big Four he will certainly be able to raise a formal grievance via HR if he feels it's warranted.

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 29-Jun-17 12:00:37

First of all, yes the Big Four can be very much dog-eat-dog. And as a relatively new joiner, expectations will be high and your DP will need to prove himself. From your examples, none of the woman's behaviour is out of the ordinary for a big firm. Is your DP actually meeting expectations? It sounds like he isn't? If he started in Feb, I assume that means he's still in his 6 month probationary period? What was his background prior to joining? Is this a big change in environment for him? When I worked for one of the Big Four, I had to account for every 6 minutes of my day so being accountable is quite normal. There are some people who when they aren't busy take the p*ss and think it's a bit of a laidback holiday camp. They usually don't last. Leaving at 4pm on a Friday isn't a smart move when he's new even if "everyone else does" (ah that old chestnut that gets trotted out so often). If his working hours are until 5pm (or 6pm), bloody well stay until then or until the boss says "what are you doing still here? go home". Sounds like presenteeism I know but when you're new and "unproven", you have to go the extra mile. Once you're established with a good reputation, you have more freedom.

For Elearning, there is usually an estimated time to complete for each course. This is usually a pretty generous time and most people finish faster. Is he taking longer? If he's not, there's nothing wring with saying "it will take 15 hours to complete my 5 courses and I started 3 hours ago so asking if I'm finished yet is a bit unrealistic".

LeaderoftheAteam Thu 29-Jun-17 13:38:27

Thank you all for your advice, it is very much appreciated. I will show him the responses when he gets home and I'm sure he will take them on board.

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wheresmyphone Thu 29-Jun-17 21:20:23


First of all and most importantly he needs to engage with his manager, not his colleague. Get objectives and tasks from his manager.

If this is not forthcoming he can engage with HR but he really needs to make an appointment and talk to his real boss.

Keep records.

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