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Work bullying and harassment

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This topic contains 49 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by avatar Lauretta Gill 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #723114 Reply
    Lauretta Liley

    Hi everyone,
    I am at a complete stop and stand still as what to do and am at the point where I am not screaming for help!
    Long long story short, a girl (19 yrs) at my work took something out of my draw (jet planes) while I was not there. I told my boss about this and my boss got my manager (61 yrs) to tell me that I owe this girl an apology as I accused her of stealing without proof. So I did. I then got sick a month later so my manager asked me for computer logg in to put an ‘out of office’ on my emails. The girl happen to hack into my emails & found something that a friend of mine wrote to me about her and then told all of my team mates, turning them & my 61 yr old manager against me. They (61 & 19 yrs old) have been bullying me ever since, discluding me and making fun of me on a daily basis. My boss thinks I owe the 61 yr old and apology however I had never said anything bad about either of them in the emails, my friend from another branch did. The emails also showed that I did not anitiate this in anyway. Please help me and tell me what I need to do from here onwards?!
    My friend has already sent an email to the 61 yr old apologizing and stating to her that it was NOT directed at her

    #723119 Reply

    This is probably not fixable, although you could talk to HR and a lawyer. Likely you will be best off getting a new job and next time realize that your employer owns your work computer and that nothing on it is private.

    #723121 Reply

    You were wrong and you absolutely owe the manager an apology, in the future don’t spread gossip and don’t leave a paper trail. Your work computer is your companies property you are just using it, but better yet don’t participate in being mean to anyone. You need a new job no one will respect you or take your side after this, keep this life lesson in mind as you go through life.

    #723123 Reply

    Nobody hacked into your e-mail. Your work computer is your company’s property. Their e-mail system is their property. And they have a right to read anything on your computer or in your e-mail. Anything.

    You made a major mistake here, and about all you can do is learn from it. You’ll probably never regain the respect of these people, and your best option is to find another job ASAP.

    #723124 Reply
    Boo Berry Waffles

    Yeah, you were in the wrong here. If you’re going to participate in bad mouthing definitely don’t do it in a form the company could document to use against you (company email, social media, etc.)

    You should apologize, not to cover yourself, but because you did something wrong that offended someone.

    And while I realize I’m being a pedant, she didn’t “hack” your email. She likely just used a password you gave out. Hacking is something wildly different and it always feels weird when people use it to cover for “I wasn’t careful enough with my passwords”.

    All that said, that’s a crappy situation to find yourself, but view it as a learning lesson. Take your lumps on this and I would go ahead and start updating the resume. Still apologize, but this probably tarnished your reputation pretty sorely.

    #723129 Reply
    Lauretta Liley

    Hi all,
    I appreciate your comments. Thank you however I have done nothing wrong here. My friend sent the email stating something mean about the 19 year old (this was due to her taking things from my draw) the only email I sent to her was Wishing that she worked closer to me. If anything, my friend is in the wrong and has already had a talking to by her manager. There is no paper trail of me saying anything bad about my workmates, this 19 year old has just made it 10x worse because I told her off for taking things from my work draw. I am preparing to apologize to my manager as in no was I meant to hurt her feelings throughout this as before all of this happened, we were great friends. Yes it is a work computer however normal staff members (19 year old) are not allowed to just go into my emails and access them. Even my HR lady said that

    #723138 Reply

    I didn’t reply when I read this last night because I couldn’t follow it.

    First, what was it the younger co-worker took from your drawer without asking? Jet planes? What is that? If it was something personal you bought and brought in, I feel that’s a bit of a different story than if it was a standard office supply like a post-it or a pen. Not that she should really be going in your desk drawer, but if she was just looking for a paper clip I’d say no reaction was really warranted except locking your drawer going forward. If she took something of yours that was a personal possession, like a snack, or stamps you bought, or whatever, and you were pretty sure it was her, you could have asked her, “did you take my jet planes?” Whether she says yes or no, she knows you’re onto her, and probably won’t do it again. You could follow up with, “ok, well, someone did, and no one should be going in peoples drawers.” Then lock it if you can.

    If you did in fact make a big deal about this, in an accusatory way, and couldn’t prove it, that was a bad move. It obviously turned people against you, both the original scene you made and your follow-up. The only thing to do is ignore their behavior and not give them a reaction. Unless you’re close with HR and had already been talking to them about this. Then you could have said, “you know, I did apologize to Susie for accusing her of taking my jet planes out of my drawer, but she and Mary are still giving me a really hard time about it and it’s making things difficult.” And then explain. But ONLY if HR was already involved.

    Now with this email thing, maybe your bosd gave Susie the password so she could put your OOO on, and she looked through your email and found the one from your friend about Mary. If so, that was out of line for sure, but you did leave that email there in your work in-box, and since you already had a problem with Mary, it looks incriminating for you. So that sucks. You should probably have permanently deleted it, but live and learn.

    What do you do now? Probably talk to Mary and say you’re so sorry Susie showed her that email, but as she could see, you had not said anything about her, and you’ve been trying to improve things between you two for some time now, and this is so unfortunate and you hope things will get better going forward. Again, you’re so sorry that was even in your inbox.

    Then, make sure HR knows you’ve apologized, keep your head down, and if the bullying continues, there may be an opportunity to talk to HR about that. FOR A while, just do your job and don’t react.

    #723139 Reply
    Lauretta Liley

    Oh my gosh Kate, you have such amazing advice! Thank you!
    Yes it was the younger Co worker who took the lollies. Yes I do admit I over reacted regarding the jet planes that got taken from my draw. Next time if something like that happens, I will take a different approach about it. The younger Co worker has been the problem maker all along. I am unable to lock my work draws however I plan on taking anything of value home with me each night to avoid this happening again in the future.
    The comment made by my friend was directed at the young Co worker however my manager took it the wrong way and thought it was directed at her due to the young Co worker winding her up to make me look like the bad person.
    This will not get settled over night and I will continue to get sleepless nights because of it all however I have thought about my apology to my manager first thing on Monday morning and will go from there.
    I completely agree with you regarding me ignoring thier bullying as this will most likely go on for another month or so. At the the end of the day, I am there to do my job and to do my job well X

    #723140 Reply

    All right, so Susie is a boundary-ignoring troublemaker, and unfortunately you let her get to you and make you look bad twice. What id do now is focus my apology to MAry completely on Mary (forget Susie, ignore her and keep your candy in your bag plus change your password), and how much you respect her and value your relationship with her and would never do anything to jeopardize that, and you’re so sorry that email was sitting in your inbox from your friend, but your friend wasn’t even referring to Mary, Mary is very highly regarded in the organization blah blah blah you hope you can have a strong working relationship with her going forward. Then put your head down and work hard.

    #723143 Reply
    Lauretta Liley

    Thank you for your advice Kate, truly appreciate it! X

    #723157 Reply

    Damn, I want to be Kate when I grow up!

    #723159 Reply

    I’d love to be, like, a career coach in my next life. I’d need to get certified or something.

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