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Workplace bullying

(33 Posts)
Soutra Wed 25-Mar-15 23:35:14

I have just come back from a leaving dinner for a former colleague - a dedicated teacher, gifted linguist, man of integrity and all round good guy. For reasons I do not understand someone "at the top" has had it in for him and his confidence has been eroded by questions re his classroom practice. I have known him as a teaching colleague for over 10 years before I retired, have seen the excellent results he has achieved and his good relationships with his classes. He was offered "gardening leave" and his job was advertised before he had formally handed in his resignation. He has chosen to walk with his head held high and his integrity intact, but others who know him and I are shocked and saddened that this sort of thing has happened. He could have fought it, but is a gentle, forgiving person who tries to see good in everybody, OK maybe he sounds like a wimp, but I think he has been very brave to walk away.Anybody else had experience of workplace bullying or what I suppose amounts to constructive dismissal? I am just so glad I am out of it.

Jane10 Thu 26-Mar-15 07:00:17

I don't have any experience like that. The poor man. This must have an effect on morale across the whole school. I did once feel bullied by a senior manager trying to make me take part in a research study that I knew was fundamentally flawed. It was such a difficult conversation that I actually came home and had a drink (never happened before). I did stick to my guns though and she did try to make life difficult for me but -2 can play the same game! It was a waste of energy though that would have been better put into patient care.

Anya Thu 26-Mar-15 07:24:22

Yes, I know someone who has experienced exactly the same thing, again a secomdary teacher. He too was a kind, caring man whose pupils achieved well and loved his subject. The same bullying scenario from someone at the top. Bullying is endemic in the school he taught at. So another good solid teacher lost to the profession. After he left, others were subjected to the same tactics,

Again this was an Academy.

Soutra Thu 26-Mar-15 07:59:48

We could be talking about the same place Anya! (we're not, but identical scenario) sadangry

Humbertbear Thu 26-Mar-15 08:00:14

I worked in a secondary school where the HT was a known bully. If summonsed to his presence, we all took a colleague with us. Failing that, we made sure the door to his office remained open. Eventually I dug an escape tunnel. My son is now a student teacher and being bullied by his mentor. There is a lot of it about unfortunately.
Soutra, I hope your friend took advice from his union and got a good settlement from the school. This sounds like constructive dismal to me.

Iam64 Thu 26-Mar-15 09:17:02

Yes, a colleague of mine was bullied out by a new manager, who for some unknown reason decided to make her life a misery. The details are very unpleasant and I won't repeat them here. My colleague resigned rather than continue to be put under what was intolerable stress at the same time as working in a demanding professional post.

whitewave Thu 26-Mar-15 09:22:13

Golly if they are like that to their work colleagues what on earth are they like to the pupils who are much less able to cope with bullying?

Bez Thu 26-Mar-15 09:36:22

Many years ago I worked for a head who I can honestly say was the most wicked peson I ever knew! She liked people by how rich they were or what they could do with her. Early on in the time I worked with her she told a whopper of a lie about a parent and I knew the whole story. After than I never trusted her and I know that she would have loved me to leave the school but I did not and I saw her retire there. After she had gone we had an acting head for a while - and she discovered that the Head had been cooking the books of the Scoll fund!

Bez Thu 26-Mar-15 09:39:29

School Fund of course.
I often think with people who are bullies they are either having pressure applied from above or they feel threatened and and are worried about being found out in some way.

loopylou Thu 26-Mar-15 09:42:45

There's zero redress if bullying by trustees in the voluntary sector unfortunately

nightowl Thu 26-Mar-15 09:44:48

I was bullied at work around 15 years ago, by a female manager. It still makes me feel anxious to think about it. It would never have occurred to me to seek support from my union or to seek any kind of settlement had I decided to leave, because the point about bullies is that they make you believe you are useless at your job. Thankfully she left before I did, but I still felt I had to seek employment elsewhere because I no longer had any confidence in myself to carry on where I was. Bullies are horrible, sick individuals who choose their targets well, IMO.

Iam64 Thu 26-Mar-15 09:51:23

Maybe this thread could be joined to the one on Jeremy Clarkson…..grin

Nonnie Thu 26-Mar-15 09:55:27

I was bullied at work by a female manager (not mine) who had previously treated me well. In retrospect the change was when she called in to say her partner was ill and she wouldn't be in that day. I said I hoped he would be better soon and that apparently was my mistake. How could I have known? I didn't do it deliberately. Of course later I realised that when she had suggested we go on holiday together she was not joking.

I complained to my Director about the abuse and lack of cooperation because I couldn't get my figures out on time without getting hers but she did not support me, refused to let me talk to HR about it. My Director and I had been good friends up to that point, socialised and been to each other's homes but as soon as it came to supporting a senior manager in her team she did and I was left out in the cold. Yes, I knew what my rights were but in that situation, when you have become ill with it all you can't think straight.

I won't go into all the details of what it did to me but I ended up in hospital for 6 weeks and have never got over it. I still can't cope with any kind of confrontation.

My Consultant put me in touch with a lawyer who said I had such a good case he would work on a no win no fee basis but in the end it was all too stressful for me and we sold up and moved well away from all the memories.

Actually just writing this down is bringing it all back. I'm off.

nightowl Thu 26-Mar-15 10:04:52

Nonnie I know flowers

I think it stays there inside you sad

Iam64 Thu 26-Mar-15 10:09:52

Nonnie, you aren't on your own in deciding to walk away, rather than go to law about workplace bullying. I empathise with you saying that just writing it down brings back the feelings aroused during the experience. flowers

loopylou Thu 26-Mar-15 10:12:16

Nonnie I'm nearly in tears reading this and it's recalling my experience.
flowers x

aprilgrace Thu 26-Mar-15 10:38:51

Nightowl that's exactly my story. I was made to feel useless at a job I'd done successfully for many years.
I took a leap in the dark and started my own business, and I've never looked back. It doesn't pay quite as well but I'm my own boss.

chloe1984 Thu 26-Mar-15 10:46:45

Yes it happened to me after thirty years in the public sector and holding down a variety of jobs a fairly senior level I was head hunted to join a new department by my new manager who then used to email/phone me before 7.30am also sent emails after 7pm and expect them to be actioned by the following morning. Used to wait until we were all at a meeting then bawl me out for a percieved error - this in front of colleagues that had worked with me for years. What did I do? I resigned didn't have any fight in me due to a family bereavement etc. Did try to talk to her about it and understand what I could be doing better but to no avail. I felt a total failure and it took a long long while before I felt that I was worth anything my DH was so very supportive. I am a great believer in everything happens for a reason I am now a lot happier , healthier ,and less stressed than I have been for years my DH and I communicate on a better level. Having said that if I ever met her again I would take great pleasure in shouting YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A BIG BULLY at her and then running away quicklygrin

granjura Thu 26-Mar-15 11:48:36

I was also bullied by the Head of one school at taught at. Won't go into detail here, but when he tried to blackmail me about needing a reference to go on to a 6th Form college as I had indicated was my plan- I looked at him straight into the eyes and said 'YOU chose me because I am totally honest and call a spade a spade. Now I will tell you your are just a terrible bully, and you should know better than to threaten me'. I resigned that day, but worked to the end of the year for the Kids' sake- and walked straight into another job with other references, and explaining exactly why I had not sought his ref- and worked at that next school for many happy years.

Nonnie Thu 26-Mar-15 11:54:10

A common thread seems to be that none of us took the bully to a tribunal. I suppose that is why it continues because they wear us down until we have lost the will to fight.

Thanks all for the good wishes and the flowers. I still need them as I am supporting DS who is separated from a manipulative, paranoid wife who bullied him mentally and eventually physically. Then she called the police and said he hit her, he didn't!

Bez Thu 26-Mar-15 12:03:32

How long have the Tribunals existed? At one time the heads of whatever were simply supported by the upper echelons and they took no action. Our Local Authority knew exactly what was going on in our establishment and chose to ignore it BUT when the head retired although they appointed a new head her starting date was delayed a term as it was decided that the staff needed a term to recover and we had no inspectors etc or the whole of that term! So our feelings that everyone knew and did nothing despite so many people being ill was quite correct.

Tegan Thu 26-Mar-15 12:30:35

I took my bullying as far as I could. I had to shake the hand of that person and move on as if nothing had happened but nothing had changed sad. It wasn't just me that he bullied; at least I knew that I was the one that had stuck up for myself.

J52 Thu 26-Mar-15 12:59:37

Years ago, DH was threatened by an employee who expected to be continually upgraded after annual review. New to his managerial role, DH with good cause, put a stop to this expectation.

The bullying started with small comments, and then outright threats via 3rd parties, ending with us as a family, having low level police protection!

Bullying goes up the career ladder as well as down.


granjura Thu 26-Mar-15 13:29:41

Nonnie, I didn't let him grind me down- I said 'NO' and why and I left. But I was very very lucky I could afford to do so. I knew that I could rely on excellent refs and walked straight into another job, without his reference (not always easy in my profession).

Again, won't go into detail- but there are extremely good reasons that came to light soon after, which made me decide not to pursue the matter. Believe me, I would have done in other circumstances, once settled in the new job.

wellingtonpie Fri 27-Mar-15 17:18:29

Gosh! I am so surprised that this goes on as it does, but perhaps I shouldn't be.
My experience although not mine personally is of my youngest daughter. She was made redundant from a job that she enjoyed and was very good at and had acted as office manager on several occasions. When she got a new job, she thought that she was lucky to get a job that she thought she would be happy in. It started well and during her probationary period she got married went on honeymoon and then got pregnant. All good, but, her supervisor although a nice person out of office treated all those under her as if the were s
chool children and continually shouted at them. Several complaints were made but nothing improved. Although my daughter passed several sections of her probation she was ill with her pregancy and was given no support and her probation was prolonged. She is now off work and panics at the thought of returning as is several of her colleagues. This woman is due to retire but it doesn't help when the management don't give any support to their staff. And this is a company that looks into employment law.