I wish I could stand up to a bully

(9 Posts)
Standuptoabully Tue 29-Oct-19 19:06:45

We have a 'precious' colleague, everyone treads on egg shells around him, let's call him Keith.
When I joined the company 8 years ago I was warned about him, but I take people at face value until the day of the 'incident' !!!!
We were short-staffed, there were 3 of us running 4 "stations". Keith was off. When he returned the next day all 3 of us had forgotten to clear up his "station' from the previous day, a job that takes about 10 minutes. As I was the nearest person Keith went absolutely mental with me. He screamed and shouted, cursed me, wished me dead then came towards me in a very threatening manner, I backed off and legged it. All my apologising and offering to clear didn't seem to register. I thought the incident was over but Keith then refused to speak to me for 19 months! He excluded me from team meetings, birthday celebrations, would walk out of the room if I walked in etc etc

Ho Hum until today.
Next week a colleague, let's call her Tracy is scheduled to work at our other site. Today Keith asked the manager if he could swap some days with Tracy to give her a break from the other site. He and the manager were discussing this, in our job it's usually best to work in the same "station" all week. I'm a part-timer who is also due to work at the other site next week. In passing I just said to Keith well you could always swap with me? Meaning that it was less days to swap and would be a straight swap so no business implications. Innocent enough I thought? I've lit the blue-touch paper!!!! He comes back to the office a few minutes later and said he wanted a quiet word with me....he got me on a room on my own and said "I've offered to swap with Tracy NOT WITH YOU ALRIGHT!!!!!!" Oh no I hope I'm not going to be bullied for another year or two? How can someone hold on to that anger for so many years?

There may be another element to this. Tracy is our 'xyz' officer, next week is 'xyz' week. Keith wants to be the 'xyz' specialist but he has severe anxiety and confidence issues and is frankly rather dim, so is not ideal for the job. 'xyz 'week includes giving some informal talks to colleagues. Perhaps Keith wants Tracy to be around to do this??

BTW Keith hasn't "a thing" for Tracy, Keith is gay and very camp.

This may seem a trivial spat but it really upsets me. It's horrible to feel that you are still hated for something that was so minor, so long ago. My manager is supportive but has been bullied by him too, taken through grievance procedures. Keith's manager changes often, as I don't think any of them can manage him, or want to deal with him. Higher management seem to take Keith's sides in these matters (there has been lots of them!)

OP’s posts: |
Standuptoabully Wed 30-Oct-19 06:26:22

I woke in the night with that heavy stomach fear feeling.....and then remembered that Keith is off today smile
I love my job but am dreading working with him sad
He has done this to many people in the past, most have left, I'm the only target at the moment.

OP’s posts: |
Mollpop Wed 30-Oct-19 06:31:21

I don't know what you can do, apart from log every single incident going forward (dates, times, details of exactly what happened, witnesses etc). I'm sorry you're feeling like this. I hope things improve.

Zoflorabore Wed 30-Oct-19 06:38:21

Hi op, do not stand for this shit a minute longer. He clearly has issues and is directing them at you. Not your problem.

I presume that the others you work with are aware of his behaviour towards you? They are also wrong for allowing you to be left out etc though i appreciate they probably don’t want to get on the wrong side of him.

You do not go to work to be bullied or victimised. There are laws against this love.

Please seek out your HR department. Be the one that stands up for yourself. You have done nothing wrong.

Bullies hate being called out on their behaviour. They’re often pathetic, weak people who prey on those they think will keep quiet.

You can do it flowers

Standuptoabully Wed 30-Oct-19 06:53:56

Thank you both for your support. The colleagues who have been with the company a while all know. My manager knows, hopefully today Keith's new manager will know. The people who don't know are those who have joined in the last couple of years. To them he is Mr Nice Guy.
I do log, when I feel strong enough I will look back at the time of the original incident.
The main problem is that senior management do not support the victim. Apparently each time a grievance procedure has been gone through it has been dismissed or found in his favour. I suspect the mental health issues and maybe even his sexuality are cards he plays in his favour?

OP’s posts: |
Brown76 Wed 30-Oct-19 07:00:17

I think you need to tell him off! Say "don't speak to me like that" and keep repeating until he stops/goes away. Then see manager and demand he makes an apology. Sounds like everyone is scared of him. Show him you're not. And any more death threats you should take very very seriously, be a pain the arse and demand he is disciplined...don't be nice. Good luck

TrickOrTreaty Wed 30-Oct-19 07:05:39

Wow. Keith sounds troubled. Anxiety doesn't give anyone an excuse to be awful to others. In your shoes, I'm afraid I'd probably look for a new job. I would certainly not put up with such behaviour. If your company was more supportive and fair, I'd put forward a grievance but these things often work out badly for the complainer, you'll have weeks and moths of the grievance hanging over you.

What do you want? Are you very keen to stay? Or ca you find a similar job elsewhere? The only other option would be to tell Keith to stop bullying you, call him out on it and see what happens.

OneTerrificMouse Wed 30-Oct-19 07:12:13

Prepare a few awkward questions to raise at his talks and look super keen to learn all about xyz next week. He wants you to fear him so don't!

Anotherlongdrive Wed 30-Oct-19 07:16:38

Raise a grievance. Remind them that being physically intimidated at work is not something you have to accept. And that its actually something you could go to the police with, if they refuse to deal with it. Remind them that while mental health may be taken into account, if he did this on the street, it's still an arrestable offence.

If he is playing the sexuality card to intimidate senior managers into not doing something.

Remind them that they have a duty to keep you safe at work and you feel physically intimated by someone.

I would play the woman card. It's a protected status. You have a man physically intimidating you.

What would you do if this was outside work?

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