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Work gone worse...

(14 Posts)
Charlene1 Thu 14-Aug-08 17:59:03

Here's a "hypothetical scenario" sad I would like people's thoughts on please:

You sit in an office with two people who are constantly bitching about you (and others) loud enough for you to hear, but not directly to you (saying things about "the fat girl" for instance - and you know 100% they mean you, as they are looking at you and laughing when they do it); you have put up with this daily for months, and you decide enough is enough, you are reporting them for bullying etc. and submitting your diary you've been keeping for nearly a year of every nasty remark they have ever said about you, because you want them to stop, and all work related incidents where they have sabotaged your work/not done their job etc. Various other things have happened as well in and out of work, personal and work related that is relevant.

You formally report them.
Subsequently the managers promises to investigate - but then strangely doesn't interview the main witnesses (one is your friend who will obviously stick up for you anyway) and then decides they "can't prove what was said, it's your word against theirs" - despite others in the office telling their own grievances against the bulllies.
Your manager tells you "they know you have alerted the management to the problem and we will be looking for a marked change in them in general/work wise, but come back if it happens again"

Now they think they have got away with it and are actually bitching worse than ever but deliberately so I can't make out what they're saying/talking in "code" etc, and are on a mission to get you out of the company as revenge - telling everyone what a "nasty bitch you are to have reported them"???

So, has anyone got any advice on how they could be stopped for good from "saying nasty things behind your back" and making you hate going to work every day - because there must be a solution to this that doesn't involve:
A) being forced out of your job by resigning (and they really do win!!)
B) snapping and lamping them one (get arrested obviously!!!)
C) having to watch your back forever as they are out to get you for anything they can now/you may suddenly find yourself "redundant".

No HR department or Union help by the way - and if you demand that they interview your friend, would you look desperate to be "getting them for something or anything you can"

If the bullies had been "split up" from each other because of trouble causing in the past, then surely it is not unreasonable to expect that the managers would realise there is an ongoing problem with them and not leave you feeling like you've jeopardised your own job for nothing???

Tortington Thu 14-Aug-08 18:02:48

i can't urge you strongly enough to phone ACAS acas

Lauriefairycake Thu 14-Aug-08 18:05:22

first, sympathies, that's is fucking terrible. sad

I would be going through a disciplinary procedure, and keeping a record and having it shown on your employment record. If it did not improve I would keep raising it every day quoting incidences, if forced out through stress or depression i would consider suing for constructive dismissal.

record everything (I would, not saying you should, actually tape them)

Charlene1 Thu 14-Aug-08 18:40:44

Thanks guys - the diary sounds so "petty" and "trivial" when you read it (I have posted on here before about some of the things going on) and they have denied it all, but I am still going to log everything that happens. Manager says "we're not saying you made it all up, but we can't do anything about it". They said they would tell them to "act professionally and treat me with respect", but all that means is they will bitch about me so I can't hear it properly, so can't report it, as they are already doing it!! They sit next to each other plotting mine and everyone else's firings.
I now feel like the managers think I am deranged or something and they are believing them over us, as "we've never said anything before" - except I have told my boss countless times about the work related stuff verbally and in email - he acted surprised that I hadn't come to him about it!!!! I just never said anythinhg about the personal remarks as it was too humiliating. My colleague also told them that I was frightened of repercussions and felt bad etc - but to no avail obviously.

I have just looked at ACAS website and it looks like I followed the grievance procedure correctly etc, but I can't see anywhere on "what to do if it's been brushed under the carpet"!! I don't have the money for a court case and they know it - let alone the added stress of that!!

Tortington Thu 14-Aug-08 18:46:13

give acas a ring.

there must be an appeals procedure at work.

i would also join a union - the union may fund any legal procedure but you have to be a mamber for three months

Charlene1 Thu 14-Aug-08 19:27:48

I will ring ACAS and see what they say - my contract doesn't say anything about appeals, just that grievances must be in writing. Another even worse part I didn't mention is that my manager thinks my job should now be changed to work even more closely with them,as he thinks "part of their problem is that my role in the business was created by him but they don't understand it so that's why maybe they slag me off, so if I help them with day to day things, it might improve relations with them - except that is to me effectively becoming their subordinate/slave - so he will take away the duties I have been employed to do, and have me doing what the junior staff do.
No chance of promotion, no doing what I joined the company for - he admitted it will be completely different!!
If he's puddled enough to put that in writing in a "new contract for me to sign", then surely I've got them on grounds of demotion for whistleblowing etc. This gets worse - get harassed, report it, get demoted, harassment continues, they effectively become my boss. I don't think so!!
Anyone know any good no win no fee lawyers???

hotbot Thu 14-Aug-08 19:27:57

secret dictaphone?

flowerybeanbag Thu 14-Aug-08 19:32:48

I agree with Custardo, do consider giving ACAS a call. If you've followed the grievance procedure properly, including appealing it, you need to talk to someone about your options if you do want to take it further.

Have a read here about constructive dismissal where an employee is forced to resign. Constructive dismissal is tricky, stressful and difficult to prove, but it might be the right option for you.

Do ring ACAS and talk through all this and get their opinion. You could also consider having a chat with CAB.

I would advise you to do those things and to use those conversations to help you come to a decision about what outcome you want from this situation, and to decide what the best action is for you to take achieve that outcome.

Have you had any thoughts so far about what you want to achieve, what you want to happen?

Charlene1 Fri 29-Aug-08 01:53:09

Well, bitching is still going on - just not loud enough to let me hear properly, as they know I will report it again. (Can't ring ACAS as have no landline handset at the moment).
Flowery - the outcome I want is for them to stop being such bitches about/to me for work and personal stuff. Or for me to get a fabulous new job that pays more than they get so I can tell them all to get stuffed!!

I had put my complaint in writing, I had no one with me when I was called in by 2 managers to elaborate - they told me verbally they would not be doing anything about the insults etc, but would try and improve the work side. That was to shut me up as well, as they are still not enforcing anything that needs doing.
This was all not confirmed in writing at any time, they have not bothered to to make it formal.
They have not interviewed the 2 main witnesses still.
So I have no official record of the "outcome".
2 colleagues have just resigned because of the behaviour of these people/company in general - they had been "disciplined" falsely and threatened with the sack, and on leaving it was made to look like they weren't performing etc (untrue) and got sacked (so we are supposed to be scared of it happening to us), so they have jumped before they were pushed - but are not suing for constructive dismissal.
Other staff who have left to go to competitors have been threatened by management and always "slagged off" to customers/suppliers/staff etc.
I am unsuccessfully applying for all suitable jobs elsewhere - cannot get time off to go for interviews when employers want me to go though (usually middle of the mornings etc), so have just been turned down on that basis. sad

jamescagney Fri 29-Aug-08 15:30:30

hey Charlene1 sorry you are having such a difficult time, ring ACAS when you can as flowery has said, you will get expert advice and hopefully will feel that at least you're trying to resolve the issue or move it forward.
I know that the incidents you've logged may seem trivial when on paper, but everyone knows that you can't always capture the tone or atmosphere or how awful the situation was, so don't feel that your "case" is somehow weakened.
Chin up honey.

Marchbirthday Sat 30-Aug-08 09:57:52

Oh Charlene1, are you afraid to ring ACAS do you think it will escalate? I've worked in a lot of bitchy offices, as I've temped, but I usually move on - as it is a miserable existence. I did manage to out-last one bitchy lady who used to bitch about every woman at the work place (she was so callous she would start before the door even swung closed). I tried the being 'ever so nice, extra helpful, very Sympathetic to the point of patronizing'. That does work with a lot bitches. Have you tried that?

flowerybeanbag Sun 31-Aug-08 10:00:54

If the outcome you want is for them to stop bitching, is that actually realistic? I'm not sure it is. If it is, think about what you can realistically do to achieve it.

If the best outcome for you is to find a new job, put all your energies into that. Including attending interviews. Turning interviews down because it's during a working day and you can't take holiday for whatever reason isn't going to get you a new job. Phone in sick if you have to. I wouldn't obviously normally advocate faking illness but in a situation where you are in a toxic environment where you are and if the best thing is to leave it, needs must.

ilovemydog Sun 31-Aug-08 10:12:11

Please please don't go down the constructive dismisal route. I used to work in a CAB, and they they were very difficult to prove...

The company has a duty of care to effectively investigate all allegations. Was their investigation reasonable? Doesn't appear to be.

One thing is whether your company has a separate harassment policy.

Is it a large company? Might it be a possibility to ask another office to review the complaint?

Freckle Sun 31-Aug-08 10:17:41

Line up a number of interviews in the same week and then either call in sick (you don't need a sick note for the first 7 days) or get yourself signed off work for stress. That in itself might make your managers wake up.

What is it about these two people that management would rather keep them than the people who are leaving because of them??

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