Being bullied out of a job

(42 Posts)
NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 17:21:07

I apologise now for starting this thread and then running off to do the school run. I will return in an hour or two and hopefully I will have some helpful replies.

I am currently being bullied our of my job. The bullying has been going on for many years, on and off. I have worked at the same place for a long time and I like the work I do.

I have looked very hard for another job because of the bullying, but nothing has come up with hours that suit my childcare arrangements.

I know the next few weeks are going to be really stressful and I don't know how I will cope as I tend to cry a lot when things get too much. I'm not unwell, I'm perfectly happy otherwise and I don't need to go to the doctor. I'm just looking for tips on how to get through this really difficult period without becoming an emotional wreck. I also need some job hunting tips as I've been a long time in the same job and I'm not having much luck finding anything. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 17:23:22

Have you challenged the bullying? In a formal way I mean.

Large or small company? Policy on bullying/dignity at work in place? Who is doing the bullying and what is the nature of it?

daimbar Tue 26-Sep-17 17:30:14

Sorry you're having such a shit time. Is it bullying by your manager or colleagues?

How big is the company and do you have a decent HR department?

Keep a record of everything, save all emails as proof, if anyone witnesses the bullying then see if they will document what they saw too.

Ideally it can be resolved without you raising a grievance but seeing as you have been at the company a long time you are actually in a good position to formally complain to HR. They should hopefully take it very seriously.

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 19:14:01

Thanks for your replies.

I work for a government department, a small office, no HR department. I'm not employed directly, I've worked through an agency as a long-term temp for 15 years. The whole team is employed in this way, including the bully who is my manager.

The bullying has taken the form of being accused of things I haven't done, being shouted at in front of everyone and spoken to in a really nasty way on a daily basis for no reason, being given all the worst pieces of work, nit-picking, belittling, extreme unfair treatment etc etc. It's all been soul destroying.

Work has been dwindling recently and we are being sent home early unpaid quite often. So, they are looking for ways to get rid of people and as the bully likes me least I will be next to go. I refuse to walk out without another job to go to. I was told today by an agency rep that the manager has complained about my attitude and this would be the reason I will be asked to leave first. I don't think there is anything wrong with my attitude, this is just the latest thing she's come up with to try and force me to leave.

I've written to my agency today explaining some of the things that have been happening and explained the way I have been treated over the years. I haven't had a response yet. I have made senior managers aware of the bullying problem in the past, but never told the agency, as we have very little to do with then and I didn't want to cause a problem for myself.

I know that I'm going to be out of a job soon anyway due to the lack of work, but it feels awful to be singled out and accused of being a problem, when I've been a very good employee.

My options for work are limited. I'm a graduate with the wrong type of degree. I have vocational qualifications that are not at all in demand anymore. I would be willing to do nearly anything, but struggle to find anything that pays more than 7 pounds an hour in my area. I need to earn more than 8.50 an hour to make ends meet. I don't claim benefits, and I''m too scared to do this.

So, job hunting tips and tips on how to cope emotionally when going through something like this would be really useful. Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 19:59:54

That all sounds very difficult. A 'temp' for 15 years? They are a terrible employer for all sorts of reasons.

The bully should not be allowed to get away with it. If you work for the Govt, there will be an HR department somewhere. I would encourage you to find out and contact them.

I fully understand why you're looking at the new job option most favourably. What is your degree/ work experience related to? What do you enjoy doing?

Can your agency help in finding you a new role? Are you an employee of theirs?

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:24:22

Thanks. I will see if there is a HR department tomorrow.

15 years is a very long time to be a temp. I would have left a long time ago if there were other opportunities out there. I have enjoyed the work I do, which is the main reason I've put up with all the other stuff for so long.

The bully has got away with it in the past and forced other people she didn't like to leave.

My degree is in fine art and art history. I don't think that makes me in any way employable, there are no creative industries where I live. I've nearly always worked in offices, mostly doing secretarial type work. I don't have huge amounts of confidence now to think I'm capable of doing anything else and I can't afford to spend time and money training. I just need to find another similar type of job that pays just enough and fits in with my childcare, but I've been looking a long time now and not found anything at all.

When I've asked the agency in the past to look for other work for me they haven't, maybe because there wasn't anything. I was told today by them that there is very little work about, but they will look for me and I may be unemployed when I leave. I'm terrified about this prospect.

OP’s posts: |
NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:24:50

I've never been unemployed before.

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MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 20:39:39

Are you an employee of the agency or a temporary agency worker? It's really important to know. Your contract with them is the starting point for determining this.

If you're an employee of the agency, the Govt department ends your assignment and the agency doesn't find you alternative work, you could be entitled to redundancy pay.

In terms of new work, don't worry too much about the subject of your degree. Having a degree in itself tells the employer that you have important generic skills.

Have you tried the NHS? Look on the NHS jobs website. There are so many different admin based positions in the NHS and a lot of employers, so you could well find something close to you. Many NHS Trusts are very good at offering flexible working opportunities too.

CatsOclock Tue 26-Sep-17 20:48:46

So sorry to read this. I've been through similar so know how tough it can be.

One thing I'll say is, a good CV or applicatiob form should get you through the door to interview. So, if you're not getting that far, the problem is not you but your paperwork.

Also, your current agency have an interest in keeping you where you are. You might well have to look elsewhere to find work.

Good luck with it all. flowers

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:49:48

Thanks for taking the time to help me with this.

I think I would be classed as a temporary agency worker (for 15 years). My contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. They don't have to give me my contracted hours etc. When I came back from maternity leave I was asked to take a pay cut. I'm not entitled to redundancy pay, I know this. A colleague was asked to leave a few years ago and she wasn't entitled to anything. I will ask them about this though, but the answer to all questions seems to be 'no'. Yes, they are terrible, but beggars can't be choosers it seems.

OP’s posts: |
NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:54:34

I have a good CV thanks, it's full of qualifications and work experience and things I've been awarded. I think it looks good.

I haven't applied for anything yet. I've been looking for years, but all the work in my area pays less than I currently earn or would be difficult for me to collect and pick up DD from childcare. I need to just apply for everything now, I've reached the point of desperation. There is so little office based work. I've worked for the NHS before, I will have a look at their website. Thanks.

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MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 20:57:33

If you've held down an assignment for 15 years, with an organisation who could easily end this with no repercussions, you are not a 'beggar'. You have value to add, you're just lacking confidence.

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:58:56

My plan has always been that I would start my own business, but I'm having big doubts about this but think I will give this a go first, whilst looking for other work.

I will keep checking Indeed, NHS, Unitemps and various agencies. Any other suggestions?

OP’s posts: |
NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:00:15

I know I have confidence and self-esteem problems. The bullying hasn't helped.

OP’s posts: |
MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 21:00:44

School administration? Search through Council websites.

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:03:35

Thanks Melvin.

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Ttbb Tue 26-Sep-17 21:06:43

Have you kept HR updated? If they end up firing you it will help you sue the bastards.

MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 21:10:34

Ttbb, you can't sue as an agency worker (unless for discrimination). No unfair dismissal, no redundancy pay. It's pretty awful in a situation where there has been such long service like in the OP's case.

NameChanger22 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:42:14

I agree Melvin. I feel a bit exploited. But I've liked my job and it's paid the bills all these years. I should have left a long time ago, I regret that.

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MelvinThePenguin Tue 26-Sep-17 22:16:31

Don't worry about regret. Think about putting it right for the future and trying to get out of agency work.

NameChanger22 Wed 27-Sep-17 17:42:38

I will, but it might be difficult with the bully being my reference for the last 15 years.

OP’s posts: |
fia101 Wed 27-Sep-17 17:48:33

Could you try to argue you're actually employed by local government as you've been in same post with them for so long? I worked with a bloke in a council who was on a rolling contract for years and he was told to argue this if council tried to end his contract.

MelvinThePenguin Wed 27-Sep-17 18:26:42

It is, unfortunately, very rare for an Employment Tribunal to find that there is an implied contract of employment where an agency is involved, even when significant time has passed. Courts have even acknowledged that this may not be ideal, but have stated that changes to legislation would be necessary for them to imply employment contracts more readily. Such legislation has not followed.

A lack of mutuality of obligation (I.e. the department does not have to offer a set number of hours and does in fact send workers home early) would also also be an issue.

OP, talk to ACAS/ a solicitor if you wanted to explore this. It turns so much on the facts of the case that it's impossible to say for sure that you wouldn't be an employee, but see above.

There is a law which says that after 4 years as a fixed term employee you're effectively permanent (and actually, after 2 years you have most significant employment rights anyway) but that's different to being an agency worker.

NameChanger22 Wed 27-Sep-17 18:48:07

Unfortunately, agencies are the way to go when looking for secretarial work.

I got the phone number for the HR department, but I'm not eligible to call them as I'm employed by an agency. I don't really have anyone I can go to for advice, except Citizens Advice.

I applied for one job today. There never used to be so many forms to fill in. Times have changed since I was last looking.

OP’s posts: |
MelvinThePenguin Wed 27-Sep-17 19:33:35

The govt HR dept might well not deal with the matter (particular as both you and your manager are agency workers), but I really don't think it's the actions of a responsible employer to completely ignore it. If I were them I would at least be wanting to contact the agency/agencies involved to make sure they are aware and dealing with it.

So sorry you are having such a rough time with this flowers.

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