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Being treated badly at work

(46 Posts)
mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 20:49:31

Hi people, it is unlike me to make a post like this but it is troubling me a lot and I always find Mumsnet to be very helpful with advice and I would really appreciate some honest advice and opinions as I really don't know what to do in this situation. I will try not to be too boring Nd give a bit of background. Basically I have quite a good job (worked hard to get there) and have bed there for 6 years. Generally I enjoy my job and get on well with everyone usually (it's a huge company I work for ). I went on maternity leave for a year and finally managed to negotiate part time hours for when I went back to work. I returned to my job in June, which was really hard leaving my young child etc but I wanted to give it a go working less hours. I know my job inside out however a few changes have occurred while I've been on maternity leave and there are two new people in the team I work in. One lady seems to have a real dislike for me and I have no idea why as I have done nothing but be friendly and chatty and nice since I went back in June. This lady is much older than me, in her mid 50's actually and I am early 30's. Anyway in my first few weeks back at work she started making rude remarks at me and being unpleasant with nasty jibes during the day but I chose to ignore them. I told my husband and he said to ignore her. I wish now that I hadn't let this continue but I don't like to cause trouble at work. This went on and on and she would be checking up on me, asking what I was working on and if I has finished a certain job yet etc and things that you'd expect a manager or more senior person to ask and I felt targeted and watched. Bare in mind she is the same grade as me. I continued to put up with this until July when one day I was in the office and received an email from her which she had sent to me and copied in both our manager and a more senior person in the company and it was titled 'feedback' and basically this lady had taken it upon herself to write a load of lies about me to try and obviously cause trouble. Everything she wrote was made up, things such as I late every morning to work and take long lunch breaks and am always on the phone. Absolutely none of these things were true and I could back things up such as the time I arrive to work. But anyway, this really upset me and when I read the email I was stunned and just couldn't believe it . I burst into tears and had to have a meeting with my manager where I finally spoke up and said that she had not been very nice to me previously . I didn't get into trouble as nothing she had said about me could be evidenced and she was told to stop watching me and acting like a manager etc and was warned about the way she had been speaking to me. After this, things felt awkward at work but I remained friendly and civil and she started to be much more friendly and I thought that maybe she had learnt her lesson. Only out of the blue yesterday I was called into a meeting by my manager as she has now apparently made up a load of other things about me and is trying to get me into trouble at work. She made up something about some work I did yesterday and luckily I managed to prove she was wrong but she is putting me on the manager's radar and it is really making work unpleasant. She has also turned another person in our team against me as neither if them speak to me at all now. I really don't know what I have done wrong or to upset this woman. I come to work to get on with my job and go home to my family. It is hard enough leaving my child to go to work without this petty rubbish going on at work. Do you think I should leave? Or keep putting up with this? Any advice appreciated.

Featherbag Sat 28-Sep-13 20:53:28

Please repost using paragraphs, I'd like to help if I can but my brain refuses to absorb that huge solid block of text!

Chottie Sat 28-Sep-13 20:59:29

Please do not leave, you have done nothing wrong. This woman has got a real problem, it is not you.

Perhaps you should make a complaint against her? you have the evidence of the email with a lot of made up facts, you have the evidence that she has continued with her vendetta despite her warning.

She is an out and out bully. I am sure you will get lots of advice from those more qualified than me. I hate and abhor bullies any shape or form (I was bullied at school) so I would call her out, tell her to stop what she is doing, say you know about her little game and will be on her case. Please don't let the fact she is at least 20 years older than you get to you.

You sound a really nice person who would be great to work with, all you want to do is to do your job and get on with your life.

I hope things work out for you, do not let this woman get to you, she is not worth it.

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 21:10:45

Thank you hottie for taking the time to read it. I was very stupid yesterday at work as I had been in a meeting and it was when I returned to my desk that my manager approached me and asked if he could have a word. He took me into a room and he said that 'someone' had been saying this particular thing about some work I had done and I just lost it and thought I couldn't believe that this was happening again with her. So I ended up packing up my desk, put on my coat Manx I rang my Husband to collect me from work as he was looking after our little boy. I was ready to walk out of work and she watched me. I told my manager that I had just had enough and that I don't come to work for this.

My manager ended up following me out if the building and told me not to go and I went back to my desk. It was very embarrassing with make up down my face etc and for the whole afternoon she never said a word to me until it was time to leave when she said bye to me in a very sarcastic way and to have a good weekend. But she waited for no one else to be around in the team to say it. I am close to just leaving as it has got to the point where when I finish on a Friday, I worry about what she might do next while I'm not there and I'm scared about what I'm going into work for next. Do I go to HC and say she is bullying me or does this sound childish?

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 21:12:28

Sorry, I meant to say thank you Chottie! It's not easy on a phone.

classifiedinformation Sat 28-Sep-13 21:14:28

I just knew the first post would be about using paragraphs, so helpful. hmm

Op, you should set up a meeting with your manager and hr to make a complaint. Bullying is not acceptable, you have done nothing wrong.

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 21:23:10

How do I repost so I can put into paragraphs?

kd73 Sat 28-Sep-13 21:24:00

This is awful and I have recently been in all to similar situation recently. Please start documenting and evidencing what's going on, join a union now and when she next starts, see if you can raise a managerial meeting to try and bring a resolution. If the behaviour continues, think about putting in a grievance . Good luck

Wearytiger Sat 28-Sep-13 21:27:19

Yep agree, you are being bullied, this woman is wasting management time with baseless and petty accusations and the company is at risk of losing a good worker. OP, write a carefully worded email setting out the inaccurate allegations and your response. Sleep on it over night. Review it, and ask yourself 'would I be OK with someone finding this email on the printer?' If yes, you have expressed yourself appropriately. Press send and then immediately ring your manager and ask for a meeting to discuss, preferably with HR present.

Featherbag Sat 28-Sep-13 21:34:27

I didn't mean to be unhelpful, I just honestly cannot read the OP!

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 21:43:53

Thank you Wearytiger and kd73. It's hard because I feel weak compared to this woman because after she sent her email telling a pack of lies about me a couple of months ago, instead of being rude to her or standing up to her, I made myself look weak by still being friendly and pleasant. She's waited a bit longer and thought 'right , now I'll do something else'.
The thing she said yesterday was petty and trivial. Basically the way our team works is that work gets sent to a central inbox that all of the team see and have access to and we are meant to pick work to do out of the inbox but by deadline (so obviously you pick work that is required that day rather than in a few days time ). This lady went to our manager and said that I was 'cherry picking ' work from the inbox and I was told off (well warned not to do that until I informed my manager that actually the work request had come through with no deadline on it and I had been to see the person who requested it and it was required that day).

I feel she keeps getting away with it . When I say to my manager that this lady clearly does not like me and that I feel victimised by her, he dismisses it and says that I need to be really sure and careful before making an allegation about bullying . Should I return to work next week and draft an email to my manager using the words bully etc or would you give it another week ? I don't know what I have done to upset this lady. I want to have another baby and wanted to stay at work to get maternity pay and a year off again but I don't know if I would want to be there if I was pregnant with the stress she might cause me. I took in a tin of chocolates last week for my birthday and kept getting drinks for people in the team and I asked after her new grandson etc. I really try with her .

breatheslowly Sat 28-Sep-13 22:06:42

Your boss can probably see what is happening but would rather duck out of dealing with it properly. I'd be civil to her but not engage. Don't make an effort to build a personal relationship with her as you will be putting in effort to have it thrown back in your face. While it must be a difficult situation for you, if she does anything else, it merely adds evidence to your case that she is unfairly targeting you. Try to think of them as manifestations of her inadequacies rather than genuine comment about you.

Do you have other colleagues who you get on well with?

There are reasons that she might not like you - she may be jealous of an aspect of your life. It may have put her nose out of joint that you came back to your job and you know more people and know the organisation well because you were there before her. It is quite a different dynamic to having a new person start and she may resent that.

She may also resent you working part time. Some people can have weird reactions to others working part time. Some people seem to feel that you are being paid the same as full time workers but just swan off when you feel like it. Others think that they are picking up more work because of a part time worker (this might be true when a team ends up with 3.5 people rather than 4). But the people I know who work part time are often more productive in that time than the average full time worker. I work with someone who watches the PT workers they know (not in their department) and makes comments about whether or not they are doing their agreed hours. Quite frankly that is their manager's business, not the business of a random colleague.

Don't quit. I know it is horrible, but if she does anything else she is probably just going to do herself damage.

IAmNotAMindReader Sat 28-Sep-13 22:19:45

Its not you she's getting on managements radar its herself. Just remind yourself to keep records of all you do ready for when she starts up again.
You should have a traceable trail anyway by the sounds of things, it seems to be part of the nature of the job in case others ask you for a progress report on some things. Just make sure yours is on top form and you can prove every aspect of it.

Be polite to her but keep contact to a minimum and if possible always try to have a witness when around her. Keep a diary of your day particularly when it comes to dealings with her. This may sound stressful but its your defence when she next strikes and a hell of a weight off your mind when you know your records can refute anything she says. Bide your time and when you have enough evidence and she next strikes demand your manager grows a pair and deals with her.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sat 28-Sep-13 22:59:00

Nothing like kicking someone when they are down Featherbag.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sat 28-Sep-13 23:00:00

Op she is threatened by you. You need to raise a grievance cause it sounds like she is not going to stop.

Featherbag Sat 28-Sep-13 23:13:13

How have I kicked anyone, down or otherwise? Nothing beyond what was said was meant - I wanted to help, but needed to be able to read the OP. I know from past threads that I'm not the only one who struggles to read large blocks of text, so the OP may well get more responses if she reposts with paragraphs. That was it - no need for bitchy comments!

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 23:19:31

Thanks everyone who has responded. My husband said she could be jealous but I'm not really sure she could have reason to be (she is much older, married with grown up kids and same grade at work as me) but very interesting what has been said above about her possibly resenting me for being part time. I think she was happy with the way if was before I came back maybe but it is sad that we can't all get along as a team.
Our team consists of just 4 people , so 3 full time and me . I do have many friends at work luckily but it is still not very nice to put up with . I hate making a fuss but if I don't do something she will keep on doing this and finding things to complain about. I was thinking of having a talk to her privately in a room at work and asking her what the problem is but I'm not sure I've got it in me . Anyway I will think it over and then make a decision on what to do. Thanks again everyone who has responded .

mrsm22 Sat 28-Sep-13 23:22:28

Apologies for the big long first post! I do normally use paragraphs but didn't realise how long my post would be and was trying to write my post out quickly .

breatheslowly Sat 28-Sep-13 23:31:56

She may be pissed off because she couldn't work PT when she had children. I have a colleague who thinks it is terrible that men get paternity leave as he didn't when he had his DC. I isn't a rational response, but he is the kind of person who resents anyone having an easier life than him.

Don't take her aside and ask her what her problem is. You won't get anywhere and might cause trouble for yourself.

Biped Sat 28-Sep-13 23:53:50

OP, don't waste time looking for a rational reason for her behaviour, as you'll probably not find one if she's just a nasty piece of work. Do what the other posters say and don't let it get you down. All too often it's the good people who end up suffering in situations like this, because they leave jobs they were happy in to avoid conflict. Your managers need to sort her out. Stay strong and don't let her get to you - if you don't let her bother you she will have failed!

TheCrackFox Sun 29-Sep-13 00:00:39

Do you have an HR dept? They seem to be very hot on the issue of bullying at work and she is clearly bullying you. You even have evidence of it.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 29-Sep-13 00:14:23

OK OP, you have two evidenced examples of bullying. That's what it is, malicious, nasty behaviour that makes you feel bad and dread work.

On Monday you need to send your boss the following e-mail or something similar.

Dear Boss
I am noting the two incidents with x. The first happened on (see copy of e-mail attached) and you and I discussed it and you agreed I had done nothing wrong. The second happened on x and you are aware of the extent to which it upset me and that I was visibly distressed. You also confirmed that the allegations against me were untrue.

I have been worried and unhappy about this all weekend and I would like to receive some reassurance that steps have been taken to ensure that x will not repeat these vexatious allegations. I do not wish to take the matter up formally but would like some options about what I can do if there is a recurrence of this upsetting behaviour.

I like my job and do my best to do it to the best of my abilities and would like to reassure you that it is not my intention to cause trouble or additional work but I feel bullied and stressed by the behaviour of another member of staff towards me and do not feel this is acceptable.

Thank you for your help.


Fozzleyplum Sun 29-Sep-13 00:41:22

I see situations like this regularly in my practice (I'm an employment solicitor).

I'd agree with the suggestions above that you raise this in writing with your boss. Include as much detail as possible. Also include detail about the effect your colleague's behaviour is having on you. Make it clear that you are raising a grievance about your colleague harassing you. I would request a meeting with your boss to hand over the grievance. Explain that you are so concerned about your colleague's behaviour that you have been advised to hand in a written grievance.

The reason I advise this course of action is that some employers/bosses like to take the line of least resistance and don't think to look at the bigger picture if one employee is making repeated false allegations about another. They simply deal with the allegations, not the fact that they are being made maliciously.

There seems to be a lot of this about at the moment; I posted on another thread about this a couple of days ago and I've helped an employer client to deal with an exactly similar problem only this week. If an employee won't get on with another employee, and/or makes false allegations against another, it can be a reason to dismiss.

mrsm22 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:09:36

Thank you so much to everyone who has responded , especially Fozzley and Marriedinwhite. I know what I need to do. I have been just trying to ignore it at work and bent later when I come home as I don't like to make a big fuss. In the 6 years I have worked for this firm I have never had an issue with anyone and have always got on well with people.

I work 3 days a week (weds, thurs and Friday) but it is my DH's birthday on weds so saw it as an excuse to book it weekoff . I'm back in work on Thursday and actually have a meeting with our new team manager 12 til 1pm on the Thursday. I've been weighing up whether or not to say anything. The meeting is for the new manager to get to know us better. My concern is that she has booked an hour with everyone and I am not sure what the other lady will say. Is she likely to say things about me and bring things up. My husband thinks that if I say something and tell the new manager all about what has gone on that she will think I'm a trouble caused but at the same time if I do day something I might be covering my back .
It is very difficult. If it wasn't a work situation I would be a bit stronger or more able to stand up to her. The problem is that you have to be so careful what you say to people at work and how you say it.

mrsm22 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:12:38

The other thing is that if I do take it further, what is it going to be like working together afterwards? As someone above said , I think it is usually the nasty ones who get away with it. This woman in question really dislikes her sons wife and they have just had a baby. I regularly hear her causing trouble for them and being nasty and interfering. She is a very nasty piece of work.

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