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anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:40 PM
Help, I am being bullied at work by 2/3 other women at work.

Previously, I had a very good relationship with the three other women. It began when I went out on leave after I had my child. I took 8 mos. off after I had her, as that is how much leave I had accumulated and was allowed. It was common practice at the time and other women had taken as much time off.

I come back and the three women are not talking to me. No hellos or anything. I'd say hello, no response. Eventually one of them tells me that they are mad at me as I had taken so much time off and left them short. I tell her that other people have done the same thing and I was allowed that.

My work situation is that when we do not have a customer, we sit in a break room until one comes in, so I am often around them. I work for a big organization.

The past six years have included one of them significantly running herself physically into me on purpose. One other person was around, but not paying attention, so she could not be used as a witness. I did go to HR with that, though. They said they needed a witness but did talk to her. She denied it, of course.

Many sneers, jeers, remarks, harassment (over such silly things, for example - including over what I would have for lunch), (if anyone else got the same thing, they were not given remarks - just me), if I would sneeze on occasion (as we all do, and I do mean on occasion) they would launch into fits of "ew, ew, ew, disinfect, ew" (they did not do that to anyone else).

Recently, I have had a physical problem and have gotten slight coverage at work for it that does not affect them, at all. (meaning something made easier for me for the time being, management did this for me). The women have been harassing me about this, commenting very harshly, in my direction, in an indirect way about it not being real/necessary. Not all physical problems are that visible and mine is such. It is Very real, though.

My local manager has spoken to them many times over the past years over not bothering me about the various stupid things they come up with. They stop for a bit but then think of a new one. With their mockery of my recent health problem, I had asked him to tell them to stop again. He tells me that I need to tell one of them myself, as they will respect me more. (I knew it would not work; they are as hostile as gang members.) So, OK, I go with it. I quietly say to one of the women, as she is passing me the other day, "X", can you please come over here a second. (She does, somewhat.) I say, "Do you think you could please stop", at this point "X" walks away, then in front of a whole group of co-workers, says in a loud and harsh manner "S (me), if you have anything to say to me, you come over here and say it in front of all these people." Then I just quietly shake my head and say no.

Local manager (who has told me I'm being bullied and that they just harassed me, again) has bumped this up to bigger manager who is taking it to HR.
----

Oh, now realize they are also people who used to overtly mock & ridicule customers who are in a bad way (severely mentally challenged) when they were working with customer. I mean really mock and ridicule.

HR has known about the various issues, including them mocking customers.

The manager spoke to them about that.

They (management) had previously suppressed one person in their group who was bothering me and he does not bother me anymore.

The other three women are very different than I and I think that is part of their reason for this silliness. They are into makeup, clothes, rock music, celebrities, etc. They like to sing and dance (act like asses) and usually have a cell phone in their hand (just giving you a picture) I'm a no-makeup (except for going out) earthy, quiet horse person type.

It is going to HR again, but I so want to be done with all this. I really don't care what these three miserable people think/say about me but it's making me depressed to always keep getting bullied.

Somehow I'm afraid someone will see it the wrong way, though, and I need my job right now.

Help ?

Oh, and I can't go and get a different job right now. :(

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:44 PM
Sorry that was so long, btw.

pal-o-mino
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:47 PM
Got a phone that records audio/video? Use it.

Hire a lawyer. If the company is not protecting you at work and you feel threatened and stressed, that's harassment and you can sue the pants off everybody involved.

Labor board? Not sure what they can do, but you might check into it and see. If they are harassing you to get you to quit, you might have something there.

Just some ideas, I'm not a lawyer. If management is kind of turning a blind eye, time to step up to some outside and bigger guns. You should not have to deal with bullies ever, esp at a workplace.

Alagirl
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:48 PM
Did somebody dial zero or why are you talking?

OK, that works so much better in German...:lol:

Short of punching them in the mouth, I don't think they get it. They are rabit little b*tches, and that is an insult to all pack living canines!

You might have to ask for a transfer or a new job, since it seems management is going halfassed about it.
Those ladies are creating a hostile work environment.

twotrudoc
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:50 PM
From a former mean girl ----

Grow a set and tell them to shut it. Directly address the issue. Practice saying these sentences in an even, polite and loud tone (don't be snitty or you lose)

"Your over the top reaction to a sneeze is out of line"

"I can hear your muttering and name calling, please stop"

"My lunch is not for your discussion"

"I understand you enjoy trying to pick on others as a past time but this is not professional and please stop"

You can make your own sentences too :yes:

Document everything, make a little log with even tiny incidents. Keep addressing it with HR and management.

Have another person around to witness and direct conversation.

The biggest thing is you radiate no confidence. Get some and be direct.

Also, don't apologize for no reason ;)

Long Spot
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:55 PM
Your management team and "store" (I'm assuming it's a store as you say you have customers) are failing you BIG TIME.

You need to write all of this down with dates and times. Every comment, every request to management, every response, EVERYTHING.

Find out if your company has a district level HR department or someone else in corporate that you can contact and discuss this with, and bring your records.

This is not right. I am shocked and saddened that this has been allowed to go on for this long. I'm sorry, OP. I know you've attempted to get management to help you with this and they are doing a crappy job. Time to go above their heads and not feel badly about it.

P.S., I am horrified your manager told you that YOU needed to talk to them yourself. WRONG.

BuddyRoo
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:56 PM
My experience w/ harassment in the workplace was sexual and was many years ago. But after all the legal stuff, what it came down to was that I had to prove that I had asked for the behavior to stop. (which I could not because when I reported the issue to HR, the head of HR deleted the emails that pertained to this and I had not printed them out.)

Anyway. I think you need to tell them to stop. But if I were in your shoes, I'd contact an attorney NOW and get some real legal advice.

red mares
Apr. 7, 2012, 03:59 PM
If you were 12, I would suggest a left hook.:)

I went through something similar at an earlier job. It was like being in grade school. We honestly had the "cool kids" and the "nerds" thing going on. I thought it was just me, until one of the other gals said something.

I just decided one day, "Screw 'Em" I was not going to beg them to be nice to me or hope that they would invite me to eat with them (common courtesy here was that no one was expected to eat alone, and most would invite you to pull up an extra chair). I did not need them. I stopped going out of my way to be nice. I did my thing and ignored them completely. Great thing about being bullied/harrassed as a child - I knew that I really didn't need their friendship or approval.

Take a book with you to work. When you sit in the break room, read it. If they sit with you, don't acknowledge their presence. If one of them challenges you to call her out in front of everyone else, DO IT. Let your manager know that you have had it, and if it happens, you will go off on this/these women. If you don't already, learn some profanity. Practice it in private if you're not fluent.

People will treat you as badly as you allow.

red mares
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:05 PM
I should add, I had a boss at another job, who was a flaming a$$hole. Would scream at people, a$$hole. HR, knew, but didn't do anything until they actually heard him go off on someone.

He never bothered me. I think I scared him. I was assertive with the men I worked with directly, and on occaison told this guy if he wanted my work redone he could do it himself, I had other deliverables to work on.

Another woman he steamrolled - she let him.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:11 PM
Thanks. I love you all for listening & helping.

OK, I've got a small tape recorder, will do. I don't know how close it has to be - can I grab it out of my locker, hide in top pocket and still get a recording? I certainly will, though. They don't do the sneezing or lunch thing anymore, as the manager spoke to them about it. (But, they keep coming up with new ones.)

Lawyer - would love to but won't that be big money? I'll look into it, though. Absolutely.

Transfer or new job - not possible, unfortunately. My work is very specific and would not cross over into anything else.

Labor board - I'll go check it out. Thanks.

Two: When ever I do speak up for myself, they have even more hostile attacks for me. (Maybe that is not the worst thing, as it is going to HR again, as one of the Mean Girls just bitched at me in front of a whole group of people.) Manager, somewhat witnessed it, too.

Just a question, what goes on in the mine of a Mean Girl when the bullied tells them, in a matter of fact way, to shut it. Every time I've done it, they get more psycho. So, does it really do any good?

Thanks so much. I'm so worn out from this.

And yes, I do fear one of them may try to hurt me. One of them plowed into me, hard, already.

Why is this fun for them? I don't get it.

BuddyRoo
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:13 PM
You probably want to check your state laws on recording conversations. Even if you go to that trouble, it may not be admissible. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV...just saying you might want to look into it.

littleum
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:14 PM
I see two things going on here:

1) You sound a little like a prima donna.

2) They sound a little like total bitches

Look, your health problems are your health problems. But it sounds to me like you had a baby, you have these health problems, yadda yadda... it sounds like you're one of those people who "... it's always something." and you need/deserve/should have "special treatment"

Some people get REALLY peeved at this. You may think they're getting all kinds of breaks from management for their behavior... they may well see YOU getting all kinds of breaks/massaging the system, taking full advantage.

But hey, it sounds like they're mean, immature, petty heifers who act totally inappropriate and aren't afraid to look you dead in the eye and dare you.

I actually feel mostly bad for your management. I'm sure they want to do something but they're between a rock and a hardplace. They've got one employee who may/may not be a bit of a precious flower and they've got a batch of others who may/may not be nasty kitty cats, but nobody has come forward with any real proof one way or the other! What it boils down to is everybody is unhappy!

You.have.to.get.plain.proof.you.are.not.the.proble m.

That's pretty much the end of it. You've got to build the case for your employer. Think of it that way. If you want any/all of these women fired you're going to have to go to bat for your employer and build the case that's it not YOU, it's THEM.

And if your employer still doesn't budge you've got your choice of quitting or sueing them for not protecting you.

All on you. ALL on you at this point. So. You the precious flower or the woman who stands up for what she's entitled to?

sdlbredfan
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:25 PM
I am sure we could give you advice on what transferable skills you may have,as I am sure you must have some. Can you at least mention what particular industry/product your are involved with assisting those customers in purchasing or using?

Definitely visit http://www.eeoc.gov/ - not NLRB because ths is a hostile environment issue not a union issue - and perhaps your own State's Department of Labor. The physical attacks and verbal harassment are illegal. Contact the police if you think you cannot afford an attorney, to report that someone physically assaulted you at work and that management is doing nothing about it.

If you do not have a cell phone already, get one. If you are ever approached in a threatening way or actually assulted again by the one who physically assaulted you, don't just take it - DIAL 911 right that instant!

Good luck and keep us posted. (Feel free to PM me the work details, am pretty sure I can think of some transferable skills you have and/or give you some other useful tips if you can at least tell me what major city you are in or near.)

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:27 PM
Long Spot - It's not a store. I'm trying to be a little discrete as I'm pretty embarrassed and trying to remain very incognito here. It's a facility that takes care of mentally/physically challenged people.

Guys, will a lawyer cost big money? Only asking cause it's Sat. and I can't call any right now, or else I would. I work for a huge multi-centered group that has a big name & probably big money.

Long Spot: "I am horrified your manager told you that YOU needed to talk to them yourself. WRONG." Thanks. Some say to speak up for myself. I do see that point, but they are too far gone. It's sort of like confronting a bad street gang. (Manager likes to be thought of as a good guy by all and he didn't actually want to talk to them again or deal with it, is why he passed it back to me.) Eh, maybe that's OK as now it is going up to HR again, since Mean Girl No. 1 decided to bitch at me in front of a group.

Oh, I always, always have a book or something (usually horses but some other interests, too).

Buddy: That is atrocious. I'm so, so sorry. Mind boggling.

RedMares: When I stand up to them, which I really don't have the energy for, to be like that is just so foreign to me, they get all gangster.

SendenHorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:29 PM
geez, you really need to commit to standing up for yourself--if they get gangster---get gansterer LOL....

they are like a rogue horse that needs a come to jesus round pen session--don't stop half way!

Alagirl
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:30 PM
geez, you really need to commit to standing up for yourself--if they get gangster---get gansterer LOL....

they are like a rogue horse that needs a come to jesus round pen session--don't stop half way!

are you suggesting a round with a brass snap and a brightly colored vegetable stick?

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:32 PM
Littleum: I've got pain 24/7 and have to medicate (prescription) for it 24/7. I'm really barely getting by. Whatever consideration I have been given affects them absolutely ZERO.

I think you are onto their point of view, though.

I wish my problems weren't so severe/real.

SendenHorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:33 PM
are you suggesting a round with a brass snap and a brightly colored vegetable stick?

:)

BuddyRoo
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:34 PM
I did not have to pay for an attorney to file my claim. I had one appointed as I made my claim through the avenues available to me at that time through the county and state. Like I said though, that was many years ago and in the state of Iowa. One thing I had going for me (I thought) was that this particular person had already had his license suspended for similar behavior in the past. But the burden of proof ended up being on me. The legal crap took nearly 4 years. I STILL had to leave the job and it interfered with other parts of my life. If I had it to do over again, I think I would've just sucked it up, found another job and let it go to be honest. But I was in college and needed the job and had a sense of morality such that I didn't want this to keep happening to others either. I probably wouldn't get so caught up in that now, 15 years later.

Anyway, best wishes.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:39 PM
Sdlbred: Bing - super ideas !

I have to go out now but you all have been life savers for lending a hand, really. I can't thank you enough. Much Good Karma back to you all, guys.

JanM
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:40 PM
Go ahead and challenge them, because if they get really steamed and say garbage in front of witnesses and supervisors then that's more ammunition for you. I know what you mean about the mean girls club harassing people and others not doing anything. The other people think that as long as you are a target, then they won't change focus and go after someone else. I would deal with them at all, and if you have witnesses so much the better. Write down every incident, what was said, and who witnessed it. You might be able to do something formal with a list of witnesses and incidents by date and time.

sdlbredfan
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:41 PM
If your facility for mentally/physically challenged people is either Federal or State regulated even if a corporate entity, you have some very good resources available to you via the regulations governing such places. Definitely be prepared to and DO call 911 the very next time anyone physically assaults you. Let the police do their job, by letting them know that you are under attack. If nothing else, that might provide a wake up call to the harassing person.

littleum
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:46 PM
Littleum: I've got pain 24/7 and have to medicate (prescription) for it 24/7. I'm really barely getting by. Whatever consideration I have been given affects them absolutely ZERO.

I think you are onto their point of view, though.

I wish my problems weren't so severe/real.

I'm not totally unsympathetic, but you if you're really medicated 24/7 for severe pain, you may not be aware of how much it's impacting your work, and it's rolling downhill onto your fellow employees. There may be a lot of resentment. It doesn't matter if you situation doesn't affect them- it's frequently that you're given "an allowance", and that causes the resentment. Doesn't make it fair and doesn't make it right. But it does make it real.

You may NOT be in a condition where working is the right thing for you right now. They may actually have some legit frustrations with you/your situation. They just plain may not like you. The reason I'm telling you this is because if you decide to pursue it you need to be fully aware of whatever part you played in it all so you can formulate your arguments.

Even if you call a lawyer you need to have evidence. You shouldn't call one unless you're prepared to be out of a job. Or to be placed on unpaid leave pending outcome.

Calling 911, the police, all of that- you MUST be prepared for the consequences that WILL arise. And unless you have all your ducks in a row and some pretty damning evidence, you are going to be in a very uncomfortable place. At that point you have to be damn sure you have something better than "I said/she said".

I'm not telling you not to- by all means, if they're putting their hands on you and threatening you, yes. You need to be assertive and not put up with that garbage. But I'm also telling you that once you decide to take that level of action there's no going back. You'd pretty much become a whistleblower.

littleum
Apr. 7, 2012, 04:54 PM
I just want to add:

I'm all for you getting together a great case to shut up these rabid cows. This kind of behavior got old in middle school.

But I'm super pragmatic about these kinds of things, and I think to really force the issue you have to take some serious steps towards building the case, gathering the evidence and then being prepared to take your lumps. Whistleblowers are rarely treated kindly in these situations.

Ghazzu
Apr. 7, 2012, 05:20 PM
From a former mean girl ----

Grow a set and tell them to shut it. Directly address the issue. Practice saying these sentences in an even, polite and loud tone (don't be snitty or you lose)

"Your over the top reaction to a sneeze is out of line"

"I can hear your muttering and name calling, please stop"

"My lunch is not for your discussion"

"I understand you enjoy trying to pick on others as a past time but this is not professional and please stop"

You can make your own sentences too :yes:

Document everything, make a little log with even tiny incidents. Keep addressing it with HR and management.

Have another person around to witness and direct conversation.

The biggest thing is you radiate no confidence. Get some and be direct.

Also, don't apologize for no reason ;)

This.

cnvh
Apr. 7, 2012, 05:49 PM
I'm sure I'm going to take some flak for this, but here goes...

The problem isn't them. It's YOU. The world is not going to stop containing more than its fair share of asshats anytime soon, and it sucks that you got stuck working with some of them, but you are LETTING THEM GET TO YOU.

I'm with trudoc... grow a set and tell them to shut it, if for no other reason than to make yourself feel better. But as long as you keep allowing them to get a rise out of you, they're going to continue to do what they're doing.

kb
Apr. 7, 2012, 06:10 PM
You may want to check your company policies to determine their definition of hostile work environment. That has become a term "du jour" and the general public doesnt really understand it. People just being rude jerks generally won't fit the bill. It is usually related to comments about race, religion, gender, national origin, etc. Now if they are making comments about a disability or a perceived disability ...whole different story. As I tell people all the time.....being an a*#hole in and of itself isn't illegal. Neither is being an ill mannered beyotch unfortunately.

phoebetrainer
Apr. 7, 2012, 06:18 PM
I'm with cnvh and trudoc in this. You ask "what are they getting out of it? Why do they do it?"

They're getting your reaction. They do it because they can and because no one has ever called them on it. HR may have spoken to them, but no one who they've been attacking has stood up to them and told them that it won't be tolerated.

Have a really honest look at what is happening. What is the fundamental reason for their behaviour? Keep asking yourself "why?" without being whiny about it and in the end you will come up with some "I" statements about your own behaviour.

And if you don't get any answers asking yourself, ask them!! "Why do you nitpick?" "What have you got against me?" "What is it about me that pisses you off so much?"

b
Apr. 7, 2012, 07:00 PM
Get a copy of the book The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job. It's by Gary Namie, and Ruth Namie. Take a look at the website www.workplacebullying.org Hope this helps. Hang in there. Jingling for you.

steelerino
Apr. 7, 2012, 07:23 PM
I'll admit I'm probably one of those mean girls but the current target of my hostility IMO deserves it. I have been a county employee at an animal shelter for the last 12yrs. Working for the county we get all the good benefits FMLA, lots of sick/vacation days, and a union. We are one of the highest paying shelters so me and some of my other longtime employees make good money for cleaning cages. Also the economy has not had an impact on us at all, no worrying about layoffs, everybody I work with should be thankful for our situation. This bitch....is not. She is young and has more imaginary medical problems/limitations that I can count on both hands. She's allergic to latex, the cage cleaning chemicals irritate her, she can't get to work on time cause she has a kid, takes FMLA once a year, always gets hurt at work so she ends up on light duty/workmens comp, I could seriously go on for days.

I am one of those people who comes to work everyday no matter what. I wrecked my car in August. I could have taken a lot of time of for my injuries (I have well over 300hrs of vacation time plus whatever FMLA) but came back almost immediately w/ no limitations. The blatant abuse of our system by some of my coworkers is very frustrating & does breed resentment. The girl in question has no idea why nobody likes her. Really?

If you don't like how they are treating you man up and stand up to them! Nobody picks on me at work, I don't care what my coworkers think about me, I do my job and don't worry about making friends.

twotrudoc
Apr. 7, 2012, 07:28 PM
Sounds like the inmates are running the asylum there! Regardless of the OPs behavior, tormenting and harassing folks at work is not okay.

OP-stay calm and do not engage in hysterical fighting. Just keep your tone even and polite. OWN YOUR TONE.

Keep up the pressure with HR.

Someone else said, and I agree, ask them why they hate on you so much. Just don't ask when they are able to gang up, have your manager sit in to mediate. Do try and take ownership of your behavior that may bother them. It's not about who is right, it's about making work more enjoyable and professional.

Now, to make you laugh :winkgrin: I never used to say "shut it!", one of my coworkers does constantly. We have a chat at work, there's about 70 sups at work and communicating would not happen if we couldn't use the chat. We have a main work group chat and I was picking on my coworker (nicely, she's my friend about her teams low stats a while back. Just small comments in chat, my company is very corporate. We, she had enough and wrote "SH!T IT!! SH!T IT RIGHT NOW!!!" In chat a few times. That I and U are awfully close. The whole place went dead silent and then erupted in laughter. I don't think anyone had ever cussed in chat before.

That's my buddy! :lol::lol::lol:

JustTheTicket
Apr. 7, 2012, 07:33 PM
To me, you sound like the kind of person who is quiet, mind-your-own-business, avoid confrontation at any cost. And I'm betting that these girls sense that as a weakness in you and take full advantage. So, yes definitely tell HR/manager/ higher ups, but also, don't be afraid to be a bitch right back at them. Of course they're meaner now, they don't think you mean it. Just keep dishing the bitchiness right back at them. They won't see you as some weak, submissive thing, and they'll move on.
Good luck in your situation! I hope something works out for you!

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 7, 2012, 08:13 PM
This is the OP. I can only stop in for a minute, as I've got company right now. (We just came back from dinner.)

I can't tell you how grateful I am to each and every one of you. Really. I truly feel lots better now. I was almost in tears due this craziness. Now I can breathe, so thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, . . .

Just quickly, as I have to run - it is not a state or federal facility that I am at.

They do keep tabs on our work load and I have never been in question. And my manager says I do excellent work.

"you sound like the kind of person who is quiet, mind-your-own-business, avoid confrontation at any cost" Yes, JTT, - you have that right.

"but also, don't be afraid to be a bitch right back at them. Of course they're meaner now, they don't think you mean it. Just keep dishing the bitchiness right back at them."

Ack, I don't even know how to do that. It's such a foreign idea to me, as I naturally think you just don't do that in the workplace. I'd have to learn how to. I don't have the energy for people who are being idiots and my natural inclination is to just ignore, as I really could care less about them. I want to do the job, do it well, get paid & live my life. No silly girl stuff, I'm not about that.

Now, don't think I'm saying that I don't agree. I do. I just have to learn to "bitch right back" somehow. The other day, I just sort of looked at Mean Girl No. 1, as if she were crazy. I don't have the energy to get tied into their tizzies.

Again, thanks just so very much.

Coanteen
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:02 PM
The big issue with your manager is that he seems to see each incident as separate - he tells them to quit, they do, and then come up with something new, he tells them to quit again, they do, etc, rinse and repeat.

Your work has to treat it as a pattern of harassment, but it's your responsibility to get the records that prove this (not "prove" like in a court of law, not voice recordings or anything - but your notes about when/what happened, when you met with the manager, outcome of meeting, what happened when manager met with them, etc). You basically have to "make your case" that this is a continual pattern that has been addressed without success repeatedly. Try that first, and then say you'll involve a lawyer if it's not dealt with for good.

SendenHorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:09 PM
I think this could be a really good thing, it will teach you some lessons in standing up for yourself. Seems that we all get taught this at one time or another (stupid man, crazy mom, boss, etc).

Just try to have it help you and not discourage you. Learning how to confront people is a very very good skill to have. It prevents you from being taken advantage of and gives a sense of self-respect and power (I don't mean outward, more inward satisfaction that you are getting what you need/want/deserve).

I don't believe this has to be a fight, or make enemies....

Im not saying this is not difficult or challenging, but if you allow it to teach you I think you will be better off for it...

You don't happen to live in the midwest, born to German Lutheran moms who make tatertot hotdish and repress all non-nice emotions, right???

We have a very passive non-confrontational nature ingrained in our DNA lol....:):lol::cool:

(I'm sort of being serious and sort of funny---- we aren't really taught how to deal with bullies in some families, or to express what we are feeling directly and openly). Maybe it doesn't apply, but you are far from the only one who is trying to just get along with people....

Yes, they could be resentful ..... If I were you, I would take them to lunch and hash it out. Really, let them say what they want and not pussy foot around the issue by these silly little comments.

ESG
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:15 PM
"but also, don't be afraid to be a bitch right back at them. Of course they're meaner now, they don't think you mean it. Just keep dishing the bitchiness right back at them."

Ack, I don't even know how to do that. It's such a foreign idea to me, as I naturally think you just don't do that in the workplace. I'd have to learn how to. I don't have the energy for people who are being idiots and my natural inclination is to just ignore, as I really could care less about them. I want to do the job, do it well, get paid & live my life. No silly girl stuff, I'm not about that.

And therein lies your problem. Every time you think you're "rising above" the beeyotch behaviour, they are perceiving it as weakness and a lack of spine, because you won't fight for yourself. Sorry, but what others have said is true - you're going to have to grow a set and be your own advocate and tell them to stuff it. And be prepared to back it up with a stiff upper lip and fire in your eyes. Because if you whine, "Okay, now y'all just stop it right now!", and don't have the right attitude, they'll just laugh at you and redouble their efforts.

For examples of how to be a self confident virago who doesn't take shit from anyone, I highly recommend watching reruns of Designing Women and watching Dixie Carter's performance. Quintessential Southern woman with a steely gaze and a spine to match. Or, more recently, Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Either will work nicely, if you're not the loud, boisterous, shoot-em-up sort.


Now, don't think I'm saying that I don't agree. I do. I just have to learn to "bitch right back" somehow. The other day, I just sort of looked at Mean Girl No. 1, as if she were crazy. I don't have the energy to get tied into their tizzies.

Well, you better find some "energy" somewhere, or this mess will only continue. The only one who can stop it is you. Don't depend on others. You're a grown woman with a child - bloody well act like it. You wouldn't put up with this if someone were threatening your child with similar behaviour, would you? Why should you accept it for yourself?

Good luck. :cool:

enjoytheride
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:16 PM
I can't believe that your managers have not fired these people for their behavior.

I would speak with your manager one more time and ask for the phone number for "headquarters." If they think you are going to take it above their heads (where it needs to go) then they may actually use your job's coaching policies. If not then you can take it above them.

PalominoMorgan
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:44 PM
First, I'm sorry you are dealing with these asshats. I have a few things my parents told me running thru my head: 1. They started it, you finish it. (dad's approach) and 2. Don't stoop to their level and living well is the best revenge. (Mom's approach). You will have to decide which way to go. Me? I'd go living well and stop giving the the reactions they are craving.

I also have chronic health issues that are invisible. It is people like some who posted that think someone is milking the system when they ask for accommodations (as allowed by the ADA). Also, the perceptions about pain management in the chronically ill. I am guessing some of you are the people who sneer at people who look "fine" when they get out of a car it he handicapped spot, used service dog, or have to ask for reasonable accommodations to keep working.

I am glad some of you can still "cowboy up" and go to work after injuries. Not all of us bounce back like that. I used to, but I can't anymore. That doesn't mean I am abusing the system just because someone else feels slighted. This attitude towards disabled people without obvious injuries is also part of this "mean girl" (or guy) syndrome. Unless someone out there has X-ray, MRI, or CT vision and an ability to FEEL the pain someone is in the you need to take people at their word. Not all disabilities are visible. SO many are invisible. They are still very real though.

danceronice
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:55 PM
From a former mean girl ----

Grow a set and tell them to shut it. Directly address the issue. Practice saying these sentences in an even, polite and loud tone (don't be snitty or you lose)

"Your over the top reaction to a sneeze is out of line"

"I can hear your muttering and name calling, please stop"

"My lunch is not for your discussion"

"I understand you enjoy trying to pick on others as a pass time but this is not professional and please stop"


"Are you twelve?" springs to mind.

I could understand being angry with someone taking EIGHT MONTHS off and coming back to the same position in the food chain without promotions/some sort of reward for people picking up the slack (sorry, I don't care what the maternity leave laws are, and I know some of that was accrued leave, but eight months is an absurdly long time to be gone.) But that was YEARS ago? And they're acting like middle schoolers?

Now, admittedly, I'm what's politely called "assertive", but I would have been a MUCH bigger beyotch to manager and HR about this. The words "creating a hostile work environment" springs to mind. And they kind of have to act on that.

MaybeMorgan
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:02 PM
I can't comprend someone got physical. I keep thinking about my horse trying to get in my space and running into my elbow. You keep that personal space around you with people too.

Trakehner
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:17 PM
"The past six years have included one of them significantly running herself physically into me on purpose. One other person was around, but not paying attention, so she could not be used as a witness. I did go to HR with that, though. They said they needed a witness but did talk to her. She denied it, of course."

Well, 2 can play at that game, if you're working with this sort of trashy bunch of c's, nail em right back. You know the words, you know what they've done wrong in their lives, probably cheated on their husbands, etc....make their lives hell. Call their SO's/boyfriends and tell them stories of what their darlings do...LIE, make stuff up, make their lives miserable. Call child protective services on them and make a anonymous complaint. You can look up getting even on google, there are a ton of ways to be evil and get even....just don't tell anyone you're doing it.

These sort of trash are easy targets...do after them with a smile...you might just have some fun torturing them.

vacation1
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:32 AM
OP, your manager is a failure, not you. Frankly, with all due respect to the "grow a pair" advice, the workplace is not where you get into bitch matches with other adults. And apart from the sheer inappropriateness of the behavior, it's not going to work for you. If you were mentally/emotionally their kind of sow, you'd have sunk to their level already. Since you're not, any attempt on your part to do so is going to be instantly seized upon by them as exactly what it is - an inauthentic and tentative attempt to thwart them. They will respond in 2 ways.

First, they'll mock you. They will not take it seriously. They will behave worse. These women are never going to "respect" you. You could hold an Uzi on them and they'd smirk and call you names. It's over for any sort of normal adult relationship between you and them. What you want is for them to leave you alone and be civil.

Second, they will go to HR and file an official complain and f*** your work history forever. People like this are the first ones to scream victim and work the system when their aggression is checked in any way.

The only way to stop them is to force your bosses to stop them. Forget the whole complex backstory, the reasons why they might have remotely justifiable resentments about you taking leave or getting an extra 10 minutes a day to pee or whatever the accomodations for your illness are - the important facts are their behavior this year, and the pattern of it.

jetsmom
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:04 AM
"."

LIE, make stuff up, make their lives miserable. Call child protective services on them and make a anonymous complaint.
.

I can't believe you would suggest that. You really think it is a good idea to waste the time of an office that investigates child abuse, and take away investigators from legitimate cases of kids being abused, to make a FALSE complaint? That behavior of yours sucks big time.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:39 AM
OP here. Again, I don't know how to thank each & every one of you for your help. It's been heartwarming and this heart needed some warming. Really - good karma back to all of you.

I could understand being angry with someone taking EIGHT MONTHS off and coming back to the same position in the food chain without promotions/some sort of reward for people picking up the slack (sorry, I don't care what the maternity leave laws are, and I know some of that was accrued leave, but eight months is an absurdly long time to be gone.) But that was YEARS ago? And they're acting like middle schoolers?

Now,as I had said, it was commonly done back then. I was not the only one. About 4 other women took that long off or longer for maternity, in that department. My road is not an easy one, I had very little help and needed that time to put things together.

Someone else is out over a year right now, in my department. He had a surgery in which you cannot do heavy lifting for a year, at least, or else you will ruin your surgery (and we do heavy lifting). Of course, people are bitching about that. When some nice people were also in the room, I did speak up and say,

"You know, we had discussed this and how is this hard? (Meaning why are they giving him grief?) I had looked up the surgery and every site says you can't do heavy lifting for a year or else you can ruin your surgery (and we do very heavy lifting all the time).

Someone asked, "How do you know?" I responded, "Because, I've got the same thing going on that he does and I'll probably need that one day."

Silence.

(I'm in a line of work in which you do lots of heavy lifting and it destroys your body. His was a work injury as I also have. Then I have other significant health problems, also.

Manager was in the room, so I felt ok with talking.

Tapperjockey
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:44 AM
I can't believe you would suggest that. You really think it is a good idea to waste the time of an office that investigates child abuse, and take away investigators from legitimate cases of kids being abused, to make a FALSE complaint? That behavior of yours sucks big time.

I couldn't agree more.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:52 AM
OP again: While I've learned from each and every one of you and again, can't thank you enough,

I totally agree with Vacation 1:

Frankly, with all due respect to the "grow a pair" advice, the workplace is not where you get into bitch matches with other adults. And apart from the sheer inappropriateness of the behavior, it's not going to work for you. If you were mentally/emotionally their kind of sow, you'd have sunk to their level already. Since you're not, any attempt on your part to do so is going to be instantly seized upon by them as exactly what it is - an inauthentic and tentative attempt to thwart them. They will respond in 2 ways.

First, they'll mock you. They will not take it seriously. They will behave worse. These women are never going to "respect" you. You could hold an Uzi on them and they'd smirk and call you names. It's over for any sort of normal adult relationship between you and them. What you want is for them to leave you alone and be civil.

Second, they will go to HR and file an official complain and f*** your work history forever. People like this are the first ones to scream victim and work the system when their aggression is checked in any way.

.. . or getting an extra 10 minutes a day to pee . . .

Vacation: The little accommodation I have right now affects them less than having an extra 10 mins to pee. In fact, it affects them ABSOLUTELY ZERO. They are not even supposed to know about it but they are nosy B's who found out, fairly quickly. Manager says what they are doing is a HIPPA violation, also.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 03:04 AM
OP again (several different posts, as when I flip back to a different page to quote, my writing disappears).

Palomino Morgan:

I also have chronic health issues that are invisible. It is people like some who posted that think someone is milking the system when they ask for accommodations (as allowed by the ADA). Also, the perceptions about pain management in the chronically ill. I am guessing some of you are the people who sneer at people who look "fine" when they get out of a car it he handicapped spot, used service dog, or have to ask for reasonable accommodations to keep working.

Sorry, you are hurting too. What you said above, is exactly it.

---
Littleum: You may NOT be in a condition where working is the right thing for you right now.

You are correct. However, I'm not at the disability stage, either. I have to pay the bills, though, so off I go.

---

All, do realize - my manager has thanked me in the past for "always stepping up to the plate" and "being there even though he knows I'm hurting."

Coanteen
Apr. 8, 2012, 03:59 AM
Manager says what they are doing is a HIPPA violation, also.

Unless those women are a "covered entity" (health plan, health care provider, health care clearinghouse, and business associates doing work for them such as coding/billing) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, your manager might not know what he's talking about here.

Your manager, in general, is full of fail. You should try talking to someone halfway competent.

Equilibrium
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:59 AM
I have a couple of questions. You said before you went on leave you had a very good relationship with these women. So can I ask if they were like this with other people while you were friends? If so, were you in on the tauntings ect? We all know the pack mentality, look at this board, maybe you weren't part of abuse towards other people but maybe you chimed in. Maybe these woman felt slighted because during that 8 months you had zero contact or made zero effort to keep in touch. None of it excuses their behaviour that's not what I'm getting at in bringing these things up.

As far as the pain you're currently dealing with, I'm sorry. But it does indeed seem like you may go on about the situation. Just from your conversation above in which you jump to the Co workers defense and say I have the same thing, and I might be out for a year as well. Um, that's not going to win brownie points. There are many people in the world doing physical work that destroys their bodies. Sometimes with a physical job you need to do more than the average person in keeping fit. I know you have pain now but has this been addressed other than pain killers? I don't want to see anyone in pain. People are all unique in how they can handle said pain. I'd possibly looking into ways of strengthing other parts of your body and some alternatives to pain meds. Obviously I don't know what the issue is but if you maybe had a different outlook on pain besides, yup that will probably be me having a year off, attitudes might change. And this might sound harsh but look around, there will most always be someone worse off that makes the most of what they have with a good attitude.

I don't know what to say about supervisors. Plenty of complaints and yet not one sit down with all parties together? I mean if a little pow wow happens with frequency it soon gets boring. But in this day and age that probably can't happen without a bunch of lawyers. I agree with standing up for yourself just be sure you have the skills to do so. It's quick, "painful" ( just the right cutting words), and then you continue on. Think herd boss mare. You do not carry a grudge and you do not suffer fools gladly. Underhand, sneaky, even just ignoring the situation will not work.

I truly love all these "as a former mean girl" posts. Ok, sure.

Terri

lilitiger2
Apr. 8, 2012, 07:58 AM
OP- Im sorry to hear about your situation. Demeaning and abusive behavior is NOT okay at work. This sounds like a pattern of harassing behavior regarding your disability, which is legally protected, that is impacting your work performance, and has been UNADDRESSED in any meaningful way by your boss. It is quite likely to make any physical symptoms worse.

I would absolutely contact a lawyer (most of them will give you a free consult to look at your case and tell you what they think, or recommend which state office you should contact). Harassment sucks for so many reasons, one big one is that people begin to believe that it is about them, which it is not. It would not matter if you were a diva (which I don't see), abuse is STILL not okay. Don't respond with more abuse (which could give THEM ammunition!) but I completely agree with documenting everything, write down date and times that you remember and what they said/who was there, etc. I bet you will feel more empowered as you feel like you have a plan and are taking action.

I had a sexual harassment thing at work, and my boss did basically nothing until, after a talk with a good friend, I learned what harassment was and told him I found the interactions sexual in nature, and harassing, had plenty of evidence (which they knew) and was definitely going to pursue it. They fired the individual that week.

There is a difference between rude bitches at work (not much you can do but look for a new job) and harassing behavior (which you CAN do something about!) No,you won't make friends at work anyway but you they are never likely to be friends (and no loss there). Get as much family/friend support as you can, enjoy your child and your horses, just don't absorb the crap you are getting at work, your health is just not worth it!!

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:19 AM
Lili: Eesh, I'm so sorry about your situation. Thank you so much for your words. I will contact an attny for sure.

Equilibrium: Please note the Mean Girl No. 1 had also taken off about 8 mos or so after her second child. She also had bilateral mastectomys with tram flap reconstruction and had taken off slightly over a year. Really.

You said before you went on leave you had a very good relationship with these women. So can I ask if they were like this with other people while you were friends? If so, were you in on the tauntings ect?

Yes, the were like this with other people, but certainly not as bad as they are to me. No, I certainly was not in on the tauntings. I'm not into that. They are girls who are very much into the social aspects of things and other people. I'm more of an academic type. I like to read & study & learn, not gossip about people.

When I supported co-worker (the one who is now out from the surgery) I was just, maybe trying to throw a blanket on another evil fire I saw starting.

I do PT directed work on strengthening but that will not make cartilage grown back or torn body parts heal. I feel like I'm about to fall on my face most of the time. Even this morning, work up - no good - huge fatigue and localized pain.

You've given me insight, they may not want to hear talk of things like that. I find it hard not to talk about it sometimes, as it is killer horrible (the pain & fatigue), often. Realize that I try not to be around them much, though.

Oh, I did keep in touch a little with them when I was out but I'm not the type of person who wants to have very close friends at work. I don't liking mixing close friendships and work. It messes up the business aspect of what is supposed to go on, sometimes. They are very much "with us or against us" type people, if you know what I mean.

cnvh
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:36 AM
At the end of the day, regardless of what HR will or won't do to these harpies, you are still going to need to figure out how to stand up for yourself. Not saying you have to play tit-for-tat (wow, that really IS middle-school behavior) or even engage them in any way whatsoever, but you are investing tons and tons of energy into trying to figure out a way to make THEM stop THEIR behavior... I'm sorry, but that does no good for YOU. It's not helping you one bit.

These women will not be the last of their kind which you will encounter in life-- there are all sorts of obnoxious neighbors, crazy in-laws, future coworkers, etc., who are just waiting in the wings to take their place. If you think you can go through life whining and complaining and hoping all the Mean People out there will hurry up and get with the program of being nice to you, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery and disappointment.

Here's a lesson we should all learn: YOU CAN'T FORCE CHANGE IN OTHER PEOPLE. THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN CHANGE IS YOU.

(Believe me when I say, I am in the middle of learning this myself right now. It sucks, but unfortunately it's true.)

equidae
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:42 AM
I see two things going on here:

1) You sound a little like a prima donna.

2) They sound a little like total bitches

Look, your health problems are your health problems. But it sounds to me like you had a baby, you have these health problems, yadda yadda... it sounds like you're one of those people who "... it's always something." and you need/deserve/should have "special treatment"

Some people get REALLY peeved at this. You may think they're getting all kinds of breaks from management for their behavior... they may well see YOU getting all kinds of breaks/massaging the system, taking full advantage.

But hey, it sounds like they're mean, immature, petty heifers who act totally inappropriate and aren't afraid to look you dead in the eye and dare you.

I actually feel mostly bad for your management. I'm sure they want to do something but they're between a rock and a hardplace. They've got one employee who may/may not be a bit of a precious flower and they've got a batch of others who may/may not be nasty kitty cats, but nobody has come forward with any real proof one way or the other! What it boils down to is everybody is unhappy!

You.have.to.get.plain.proof.you.are.not.the.proble m.

That's pretty much the end of it. You've got to build the case for your employer. Think of it that way. If you want any/all of these women fired you're going to have to go to bat for your employer and build the case that's it not YOU, it's THEM.

And if your employer still doesn't budge you've got your choice of quitting or sueing them for not protecting you.

All on you. ALL on you at this point. So. You the precious flower or the woman who stands up for what she's entitled to?

All of this ^^ :yes:

EqTrainer
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:59 AM
I am saying this as kindy as possible.

You are the one who makes a choice about being a victim. You. Not them.

If you really are ready to stop being a victim, you will stop focusing on anything other than what you need to do to change the situation. You will stop making excuses for their bad behaviour. You will stop justifying it. You will stop saying you have to suck it up because you cannot get another job. Until you do that, you are enabling your own unhappy reality.

If you are done being a victim, you will consult with a lawyer TUESDAY. No excuses. You will do exactly what they tell you to do. You will go forward knowing that this is a temporary issue and that you are fixing it and that the end result will be a new, better job and a new, better you who will NEVER have a V on her forehead again.

sketcher
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:21 AM
I'll admit I'm probably one of those mean girls but the current target of my hostility IMO deserves it. I have been a county employee at an animal shelter for the last 12yrs. Working for the county we get all the good benefits FMLA, lots of sick/vacation days, and a union. We are one of the highest paying shelters so me and some of my other longtime employees make good money for cleaning cages. Also the economy has not had an impact on us at all, no worrying about layoffs, everybody I work with should be thankful for our situation. This bitch....is not. She is young and has more imaginary medical problems/limitations that I can count on both hands. She's allergic to latex, the cage cleaning chemicals irritate her, she can't get to work on time cause she has a kid, takes FMLA once a year, always gets hurt at work so she ends up on light duty/workmens comp, I could seriously go on for days.

I am one of those people who comes to work everyday no matter what. I wrecked my car in August. I could have taken a lot of time of for my injuries (I have well over 300hrs of vacation time plus whatever FMLA) but came back almost immediately w/ no limitations. The blatant abuse of our system by some of my coworkers is very frustrating & does breed resentment. The girl in question has no idea why nobody likes her. Really?

If you don't like how they are treating you man up and stand up to them! Nobody picks on me at work, I don't care what my coworkers think about me, I do my job and don't worry about making friends.

Seriously? Goody-two-shoes for you. Maybe you should spend more time focusing on what you are doing and let your coworkers manager worry about what your coworker is doing rather than creating a hostile environment for her.

You don't necessarily know all the details of her life. Just because you choose to throw yourself on the sword and work after a car accident which apparently left you injured does not mean someone else should. Some people choose to take care of themselves and utilize the benefits they have with their jobs. If she is abusing these benefits then, again, her manager will deal with it. It is not part of your job to be a bitch. Seriously. You may inadvertently be contributing to her absence rate. That is what hostile environments can do to people. But hey, if that makes you feel better about yourself then go for it. Karma is a bitch and one of these days it will come back and bite you on the ass.

In my current position, I was sick alot. As it turns out, the building has mold in it and that was making me sick. I found out later that another employee had been relocated and then quit because the whole complex is a sick building. Eventually what happened is that my manager was impressed enough with my work to let me work from home full time despite the fact that she had do deal with a whole, huge pile of shit with my coworkers.

Before being moved to work from home, I was also subjected to a group of mean girls. I'm talking "Jr High" mean. Whispering, making snide comments etc. It was pretty unbelievable. These were women in their late 30's and 40's. Thankfully I was at the point in my life where I could just ignore them. 5-10 years earlier and they would have caused me quite a lot of distress. I've never seen such a work environment, especially in a white collar professional group of people.

They had no idea why I was sick alot. I'm sure they thought I was abusing something. And then when I was moved to work from home I'm sure they figured I made up some excuse and magically got a manager to let me do it. HA! Not only did I have strong medical evidence but the company knew they had a problem and had already been sued by one employee. But whatever.

I work about 10-15 hours a week more than anyone in my group and am the best producer. That doesn't quite fit in with their world view that I'm a slacker who managed to somehow snow my manager but oh well.

The joke is on them. They get to commute every day and work in a noisy environment and I (after two years to heal) have a fantastic quality of life without my two hours a day of commuting and none of the nasty office politics. I can go out and do some gardening on my lunch break (when I actually take lunch) and if I choose, I can roll out of bed at 8:25 and log into my phone at 8:30 in my pj's. Every.single.day. :D

pandorasboxx
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:51 AM
This is a HUGE management failure. We have an anti-bullying policy at work and anyone can go to their supervisor, GM, HR or even the CEO. Allowing this to continue is completely unacceptable. I would strongly suggest a management meeting with top management before pursuing other avenues. That way is not quick and may be fraught with stress.

One red flag seems to be the staff knowledge of your health and reasons for taking leave. The HIPAA violation would rest with your benefits administrator that would administer your leave or management loose lips. If your company sponsors a health plan, then yes, HIPAA does apply in this instance. It does not apply to nosey coworkers, only to the leak. If the leak is you, well, not too much to do about it there.

OTOH, this sounds to be harassment based on disability or perceived disability. Check out the EEOC website. Disability discrimination is the hot topic du jour with the EEOC. You would have to go speak to an intake coordinator there you can guide you. You DO NOT need an attorney to do so. And afterwards, if you are retaliated against say in firing, demotion, unwanted transfer etc. the other EEOC hot topic du jour is retaliation, which any of this would fall under.

Depending on what legal tact you take, you generally are required to file through the EEOC BEFORE continuing with a federal lawsuit. (Gender, religion, disability, pregnancy, color, race, national origin etc. ) After 180 days with the EEOC, you may then request to process it through an attorney if the EEOC has not made a decision or issued a right to sue letter. It is always best to wait on a decision from the EEOC as a right to sue letter may be more helpful in acquiring legal representation.

I feel for you. No one should have to deal with this crapola at work. No one should be shamed, treated poorly or slammed for taking advantage of their legal and or company rights. Those who do the harassing are barking up the wrong tree. If you don't like the rules, advocate for change, not harass those well within their rights.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:01 AM
If the leak is you, well, not too much to do about it there.

Leak came from someone, in another department, who witnessed my slight allowance for my problem (allowance does not occur inside the building but on the property of the employer). Then spread to the mean girls via other department person. (A credible semi-manager person told me that.) How does that factor in?

Thanks Pandora.

pandorasboxx
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:07 AM
Then it is simply an observation that is may be available to all who witness. Frankly, sounds like that is barking up the wrong tree.

I would request a management meeting, describe the systematic harassment triggered by your disability (sounds like you meet the technical definition of disability) and say that if it isn't stopped immediately you have no recourse but to go further. Please ensure that an HR professional is involved in the meeting. If they are worth a toot, they will know exactly how serious this is.

Good luck.

lilitiger2
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:22 AM
This is a HUGE management failure. We have an anti-bullying policy at work and anyone can go to their supervisor, GM, HR or even the CEO. Allowing this to continue is completely unacceptable. I would strongly suggest a management meeting with top management before pursuing other avenues. That way is not quick and may be fraught with stress.

One red flag seems to be the staff knowledge of your health and reasons for taking leave. The HIPAA violation would rest with your benefits administrator that would administer your leave or management loose lips. If your company sponsors a health plan, then yes, HIPAA does apply in this instance. It does not apply to nosey coworkers, only to the leak. If the leak is you, well, not too much to do about it there.

OTOH, this sounds to be harassment based on disability or perceived disability. Check out the EEOC website. Disability discrimination is the hot topic du jour with the EEOC. You would have to go speak to an intake coordinator there you can guide you. You DO NOT need an attorney to do so. And afterwards, if you are retaliated against say in firing, demotion, unwanted transfer etc. the other EEOC hot topic du jour is retaliation, which any of this would fall under.

Depending on what legal tact you take, you generally are required to file through the EEOC BEFORE continuing with a federal lawsuit. (Gender, religion, disability, pregnancy, color, race, national origin etc. ) After 180 days with the EEOC, you may then request to process it through an attorney if the EEOC has not made a decision or issued a right to sue letter. It is always best to wait on a decision from the EEOC as a right to sue letter may be more helpful in acquiring legal representation.

I feel for you. No one should have to deal with this crapola at work. No one should be shamed, treated poorly or slammed for taking advantage of their legal and or company rights. Those who do the harassing are barking up the wrong tree. If you don't like the rules, advocate for change, not harass those well within their rights.

Totally and completely agree. Excellent advice!!! Good to know about the EEOC as well, thanks!!

spacytracy
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:23 AM
If an employee takes 8 months off, legitimately, why is someone mad at the employee??? If you have a problem with the "fairness" of that, take it up with the manager. The employee is taking what is rightfully hers in terms of time off.

As someone who unfortunately has had to take off for 2 surgeries this past year, and one surgery the year prior, its not my fault I have to take time off. I also took off when my daughter was born.

You really need to shut them down. In a matter of fact way. Don't raise your voice, just be assertive. However you have to do that. Stop saying hello. If someone runs into you, push back. I'd always be prepared to shove a person if you see them coming towards you.

I feel like this situation is like telling a child how to deal with bullies on the playground. Tell them to stop, if they don't, escalate. If someone shoves you, tell em to knock it off. Happens again, you have fair game to fight back.

twotrudoc
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:38 AM
***general gripe, nothing towards the OP***

Can I just say that I get so sick of certain people who get all put upon and huffy because they come to work (as they are paid to), get there on time (that is the expectation usually) and do their job (again, preset job expectation) and someone else in the building called in sick.

Mercy oh Lord slay me now!! I am also one of those, I called in sick twice in ten years or so. I am usually early, I am a massive producer. But I get so dang sick of the Huffies. Ya know what? Work will go on without you :) SO go away LOL!!! <---I seriously get sick of the complaining.

I have two reps who use FMLA for four days or so a month, I love them, they work hard and the job (a csr is a hard job!) comes naturally to them. Our customers LOVE them. I "lost" my absolute fastest and best rep to maternity loa/FMLA for an indeterminate amount of time. Why? She may not come back. But as her boss I want to make dang sure she is able if she does decide to. Guess what, this month, this April I am shooting for my highest stats and call volume yet this year. We'll do it too.

I think the ones who complain because they come to work (as they are paid to), get there on time (that is the expectation usually) and do their job (again, preset job expectation) and others may not or worse they just don't think others do just like to b!tch. Put all that energy into your job and maybe take a look at the big picture and get promoted.

But, please, please, just shut up already LOL!!

:yes::yes::yes::yes:

lisa
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:27 PM
You may want to check your company policies to determine their definition of hostile work environment. That has become a term "du jour" and the general public doesnt really understand it. People just being rude jerks generally won't fit the bill. It is usually related to comments about race, religion, gender, national origin, etc. Now if they are making comments about a disability or a perceived disability ...whole different story. As I tell people all the time.....being an a*#hole in and of itself isn't illegal. Neither is being an ill mannered beyotch unfortunately.

Agree with this.
However, sometimes just mentioning "hostile work environment" is enough to get HR's attention.

But remember: HR is *not* on your "side". They represent the employer. Period. Before you involve HR, you need to make sure you have CYA.

I would
1) Stand up for yourself. Say "I am a member of this team, and I refuse to be treated with disrespect. Please do not talk to me that way." Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
2) Document *everything*. (Legally.)
3) Checkout the bullying website that has been recommended. Document.
4) Visit EEOC.gov keeping in mind what KB said above.

If you then still decide to go to HR, I would have Plan B in place. By law, you cannot be fired for filing a complaint with HR or the EEOC. However, HR can find a myriad of ways to make things difficult for you. :)

Trakehner
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:41 PM
I can't believe you would suggest that. You really think it is a good idea to waste the time of an office that investigates child abuse, and take away investigators from legitimate cases of kids being abused, to make a FALSE complaint? That behavior of yours sucks big time.

Talk to a divorce attorney (or the husband in a contested divorce)...it's a common technique...and if these women are as snarky and jerky as they sound, I'd sure expect that behaviour at home.

Blugal
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:04 PM
Trakehner, you are certainly on a roll this OT weekend.

I seriously doubt divorce attorneys are advising their clients to call child services and lie about their situations. That would be a serious breach of professional ethics, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, and a reason for professional discipline.

Why are you spewing out so much disinformation?

Coanteen
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:10 PM
Trakehner, you are certainly on a roll this OT weekend.

I seriously doubt divorce attorneys are advising their clients to call child services and lie about their situations. That would be a serious breach of professional ethics, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, and a reason for professional discipline.

Why are you spewing out so much disinformation?

Not to mention how incredibly traumatic being in the system during an investigation can be for a child. It's a sad necessity if there is real cause to think a child is being abused, but let's not mince words here - anyone advocating making a FALSE allegation is actually advocating child abuse.

PalominoMorgan
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:42 PM
Yes, please. Using Child Protective Services for a witch hunt is wrong on SO many levels. 1. CPS is required to investigate every report, even if they know it's bogus. 2 . You are traumatizing a family and child for no real reason. 3. It is SO morally corrupt that I am appalled anyone would suggest it. Thankfully the OP is not as morally corrupt as some who have posted these suggestions.

Bacardi1
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:04 PM
Is the OP an adult or a child? Frankly, I can't really tell.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:29 PM
I'll ignore that Bacardi. I'm a professional working person who refuses to get dragged into a demeaning cat fight.

The OP

Vacation 1 (Post 42, Pg. 2), nailed this the best (and said it eloquently, too).

-------------------

Oh, and I read it as by talking to a divorce lawyer, Trakehner, meant that divorce attorneys can tell you stories of what couples do to each other, not that the attorney would advise it.

Bacardi1
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:33 PM
And no one is forcing you to "get dragged into a demeaning cat fight" except for YOU. If you're "a professional working person", then start acting like one & DO something constructive instead of asking for advice from a horse board.

If you're so "professional", I really can't believe that you can't sort out a bunch of office harpies - either by taking appropriate HR steps, hiring an attorney, ignoring them & continuing on with your job, or looking for a new one.

What, exactly, is left to hash out?

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:42 PM
Constructive - this thread has been extremely constructive. Actually I've gotten tons of good information here. I'm really, really glad I put up the question. I'm really grateful to (most) of you for this. I feel much more at peace, as it's helped me sort this out, process it and develop a plan of action.

OK, so tell me if HR or any attorneys are open on Easter?

If you're so "professional"

Where did you see the "so" ?

The rest is too silly for me to respond to. You are being a bully.

twotrudoc
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:44 PM
It's OT Day, one can hash out anything one wants.

Where else can you discuss office meanies, that out of control booty, makeup, renegade teachers, potential home ownership and close talkers freely.

Loosen up! And, mix up the leftover fruit from brunch in a blender, add lime or orange sorbet and some real Bacardi. Now you're good.

mswillie
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:52 PM
Reading this thread I'm reminded of the debacle at the Delaware Psychiatric Center that went on for years. Some staff members had bullied others and management did nothing.

Staff had car windows broken, threats left in personal belongings, feces smeared on cars, etc. All the while management suffered from a severe case of cranial-rectal syndrome.

The abuse also involved patients (including rape and beatings) and finally after a huge federal investigation the state cleaned house. I am under the impression that many of the perpetrators of the violence and bullying pretty much got away with it and that there was little recourse for the victims.

Guess I'm just saying that it's not always as easy as "growing a pair" nor is it necessarily that the victim is some sort of "delicate flower". Some people are just cruel and really the world would be a better place if they just disappeared off of it.

Equilibrium
Apr. 8, 2012, 03:13 PM
OP, I hope I wasn't too harsh. I don't mean to suggest you deserve any of this because you don't. As we know girl groups can be vicious. And while you shouldn't have to censor things you say, containing things you might say to give them ammunition is probably best. But like I said learn to defend sharply with words. I am indeed sorry your experiencing pain that debilitates your life because that's not fun.

I really hope the higher ups in the company can do something to sort the situation.

Best of luck
Terri

Arcadien
Apr. 8, 2012, 03:23 PM
:cool:Advice from someone who is not naturally assertive but has developed a powerful anti-bully strategy over the years. To the point that, would be bullies not only give up their efforts, but later tend to apologize and go above and beyond to try to be friends with me. :cool:

First, I expect everyone to be cooperative, polite & well meaning. I know not everyone is, but I start out with that firm expectation & it kind of oozes off of me. Some would be bullies stop there from the sheer power of my "I'm sure you are a lovely person, so glad to be working with you" aura. :D

If they reveal that they just can't live up to my expectations of poilte society, and disappoint me more than once, I face them with what I've come to call "THE FREEZE". I become cool, dispassionate, unemotional, respond in short, to the point sentence, make any requests short & to the point, and look them calmly in the eye. No matter what they respond with, this is all they get from me. the key is NO emotion. Not positive, negative, NOTHING.

It can take some time, but I've never failed in breaking them down :cool: When they approach me with even an inkling of civility, I soften The Freeze a tiny bit. It is a very concious effort. I'm naturally a very nice, easy going person. If they spend any time around me, in spite of themselves, they begin to act in ways that will bring out my sweet, warm, cooperative side. The Freeze me is not nice, not fun, and no reward for bullying - you just get - nothing from me. I almost treat you as a voice, a figure I must deal with, but no more. It is a powerful deterrant!

Again it does take some effort. And I think the key is, I do feel everyone has a nice side, and when they show even a glimmer of it, I encourage it. I don't gossip, I don't hold grudges, and I easily forgive.

But don't get mean with me or you will face - THE FREEZE :D:lol:;)

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:21 PM
You were absolutely fine, Equilibrium. Thank you for asking. I'm open to ideas of what they (the Mean they) are perceiving.

you shouldn't have to censor things you say, containing things you might say to give them ammunition is probably best

Totally agree. I usually say almost nothing around them. When I answered to why co-worker with the surgery will be out for so long, I wanted someone to be reminded of the facts (this surgery you can't lift heavy objects for at least a year) as opposed to whatever amount of time they construed in their head would be acceptable (without even knowing much about the surgery he had).

But like I said learn to defend sharply with words.

Gotcha. However, I just did that and Mean Girl No. 1 went ballistic on me. That's ok, though, because it is going to HR again, due to that.

---
Arcadien:

THE FREEZE". I become cool, dispassionate, unemotional, respond in short, to the point sentence, make any requests short & to the point, and look them calmly in the eye. No matter what they respond with, this is all they get from me. the key is NO emotion. Not positive, negative, NOTHING.

I believe I do this. The b's still walk around cackling, sneering and all that, though. I guess it's a hobby of sorts, for them. I don't think these ones can be softened, though. It's a very far gone situation. I try to maintain a calm, pleasant expression throughout the day (and I know sometimes they look at me to see where I'm at mentally). The guys there are all fantastic and the other two women left are nice. We do well and can laugh and talk. It's just a pocket of the three b's. One of the b's is just in the group cause she is someone who in her words, once said she "can't be left out of anything". She is not that harmful. The other two are as tough as gang members, though. As Vacation 1 said, I could be standing there with an Uzi and they would keep coming at me.

sdlbredfan
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:36 PM
I can't believe that your managers have not fired these people for their behavior.

I would speak with your manager one more time and ask for the phone number for "headquarters." If they think you are going to take it above their heads (where it needs to go) then they may actually use your job's coaching policies. If not then you can take it above them.

That is a good idea. I just thought of something else that might help you at least be more assertive in dealing with the bullies. Pretend they are bratty yearlings that need to see the whip and respect you and your space. If they have any senses of humor at all, maybe make yourself a modified baseball cap with 'mean mare ears' flattened back and when they do something inappropiate, put that hat on and get into their space and try to make them back off the way you would a bratty yearling. OTOH, right now, your non-confrontational manner speaks well of your self-control, and contrasts well with how out of control they are.

sdlbredfan
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:37 PM
OP, your manager is a failure, not you. Frankly, with all due respect to the "grow a pair" advice, the workplace is not where you get into bitch matches with other adults. And apart from the sheer inappropriateness of the behavior, it's not going to work for you. If you were mentally/emotionally their kind of sow, you'd have sunk to their level already. Since you're not, any attempt on your part to do so is going to be instantly seized upon by them as exactly what it is - an inauthentic and tentative attempt to thwart them. They will respond in 2 ways.

First, they'll mock you. They will not take it seriously. They will behave worse. These women are never going to "respect" you. You could hold an Uzi on them and they'd smirk and call you names. It's over for any sort of normal adult relationship between you and them. What you want is for them to leave you alone and be civil.

Second, they will go to HR and file an official complain and f*** your work history forever. People like this are the first ones to scream victim and work the system when their aggression is checked in any way.

The only way to stop them is to force your bosses to stop them. Forget the whole complex backstory, the reasons why they might have remotely justifiable resentments about you taking leave or getting an extra 10 minutes a day to pee or whatever the accomodations for your illness are - the important facts are their behavior this year, and the pattern of it.

Ohmigosh, you are right. This is the best post on this thread!

mvp
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:40 PM
Didn't read the whole drama.

But I did (mis)read the title.

You are being bullied by a mere two-thirds of a woman?

How'd that happen?

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 05:29 PM
Sorry mvp. Three women in the Mean Girls Group - two are horrible, one is just there cause she needs to be "in". I meant 2-3 people.

---

Thanks Jeanie aka Sadlbredfan. I have company still for the holiday and wanted to finish up on this thread before it closes. (I'll catch on on the other later, is what I mean.)

Pretend they are bratty yearlings that need to see the whip and respect you and your space.

My concern is that it would backfire and I'd be the one in trouble. But, yes, they really do need the #@$% beat out of them, at this point.

As Vacation said:

Second, they will go to HR and file an official complain and f*** your work history forever. People like this are the first ones to scream victim and work the system when their aggression is checked in any way.


---

From Sdlbredfan:

If they have any senses of humor at all, maybe make yourself a modified baseball cap with 'mean mare ears' flattened back and when they do something inappropiate, put that hat on and get into their space and try to make them back off the way you would a bratty yearling.

No sense of humor. It's a very gone, near dangerous situation. As said, one of them rammed into me one day, first thing in the morning. Before I even put my coat down. I had said nothing to her; I was just there. The hat - they would get off on this and make a huge mockery of it, it would be terrible. They would launch into one of their teenage "ew, ew, ew" rants.

hiddenlake
Apr. 8, 2012, 06:16 PM
But remember: HR is *not* on your "side". They represent the employer. Period.

This is not always true. I can understand your perception because some of us in the field certainly make it seem that way, but as an HR professional myself, the only way I "represent the employer" is by making sure the employee's needs are met. My role is to create a win-win outcome for both the employee and the employer, because I guarantee you if one of those parties loses, the losing party is going to make the "winning" party lose too.


HR can find a myriad of ways to make things difficult for you. :)

If you are an otherwise performing employee who is truly being harassed, then any HR person who is worth his/her salt won't "make things difficult for you." Yes, there are some crummy ones out there, just as there are in ANY profession. So far it sounds like both you and the OP have had some crappy HR support, and for that I'm sorry.

OP, go to www.ada.gov (http://www.ada.gov) for some good resources and information on what to do next. Workplace harassment, as others said, is protected under the ADA. You do not actually have to be disabled--you only have to be regarded as having a disability to protected. And the courts treat the employer's liability pretty much the same way they do with other forms of harassment under Title VII--if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment, the employer can be held liable.

I know you've gotten some advice to fight back against the bullies, but I advise against it. Make this about them, not about you. If you engage them, the bullies will use it as a cause for ammunition against you and it will backfire or at least reduce your claim. Either calmly tell them to stop or walk away, document the situation and what you did (and write down who the witnesses were), and yes go to HR. That's not being a doormat, that's being wise.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks Hidden Lake. Some very wise ideas & thoughts.

I can' thank you enough for the ada link. And everyone for the great links & resources. You have been invaluable.

I know you've gotten some advice to fight back against the bullies, but I advise against it. Make this about them, not about you. If you engage them, the bullies will use it as a cause for ammunition against you and it will backfire or at least reduce your claim. Either calmly tell them to stop or walk away, document the situation and what you did (and write down who the witnesses were), and yes go to HR. That's not being a doormat, that's being wise.

Totally agree.

spurgirl
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:36 PM
From reading your posts, OP, I gather that your current health issues have 1) Been mentioned to the wrong person/people, as in, this group of women, and 2) Your current health issues/medication has slightly altered your responses/slowed you down, so to speak. Stop talking about your issues. These b*tches smell blood in the water, so they are continuously harassing you.

I would make sure your boss (and his higher up? you are involved with, too) knows you will be documenting everything, from this day forward, including the treatment of the clients.

I would literally carry a notebook or pad around with me, and document, document EVERYTHING. Let them see you do it, and DO NOT respond to them in any way....Other than to say "Excuse me, could you repeat that? I'm documenting all your workplace harassment, and want to quote you accurately for the report to management. Thanks." Turn on your heel, walk away. Of course, be sure to watch your back. I would certainly take my breaks from clients away from this group, and go anywhere in the office except the break room where they gather. I am assuming you could stay at your desk, or find somewhere to walk to...Don't set yourself up to be exposed to them. Only be around them when required.

sdlbredfan
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:36 PM
Good luck and keep us posted! I realize this off topic section and threads will close down soon, unfortunately, but you know who those of us who genuinely have tried to help are, if you feel like giving any of us a PM update. I completely understand why the pissed off mare hat would not work though, bummer though, because it would be kind of fun for you if something like that did work, in the category of 'what I learned at the barn that works in the rest of real life', LOL.

Rambler
Apr. 9, 2012, 12:29 AM
Have you told your doctor about this? It is obviously having a serious effect on your mental health! If your doctor puts you off on stress leave and everyone knows why, maybe management will be forced to do something about the bullies. It looks pretty bad on them when employees are becoming sick because the environment is so toxic.

Griffyn
Apr. 9, 2012, 12:50 AM
This is so on topic. This Thursday a coworker from a place I used to work killed himself. I had supervised him previously and he was a WONDERFUL, kind,loyal, trustworthy employee. He was a loving father, and married his soul- mate. What happened? He was forced to transfer units (not for performance reasons, we just shut down a section) and was harrassed daily and bullied mercilessly at the new place. Im not saying this was the sole reason, but work became an overwhelming and stressful environment for him. This other worksite is known for tolerating certain types of harassment. Please take the advice from other responders to this post and KNOW YOUR OPTIONS. Not saying you are in the same place psychologically, but a bullying stressful work environment is NOT acceptable. A cold shoulder is not the same as harassment, so know the law, what constitutes workplace harassment and document, document, document.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 9, 2012, 05:50 AM
I have to go to work (it's Mon a.m.) but had to reply to the kind new posters before this thread closes.

Again, huge thanks.

Griffyn, I'm so,so terribly sorry ! I don't know what else to say as it's beyond words. Prayers to him (where he is at now), his family & loved ones. Can they bring a suit on this for his employer failing to step up to the plate? (Not that that would fix things, of course.)

Sometimes I will put a picture of my child in my top pocket to keep me going. I think I will today. I'm so not looking forward to this.

Brilliant idea to tell my Doctor. They often know the right directions to travel to pursue things, too. My Dr. is so bright & on the ball, too.

Sdlbred: You have been so wonderful & helpful. This sinking soul is extremely appreciative for all you've said, helped.

Notebook: Great idea. I often am writing things down on paper but more organized.

Must go off to that hostile place (work) now but I love you all for this.

XXXXX000000

sdlbredfan
Apr. 9, 2012, 07:21 AM
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration just posted some new regulations. They even specifically mention lifting excessive weights as an ergonomic issue. Definitely get in touch with OSHA!

http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=22116

Jeanie
ETA - Veterinarians could also use your particular skillset - humans are not the only ones who get what you facilitate/provide.

my buddy's blue
Apr. 9, 2012, 10:35 AM
I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I am dealing with only 1 mean girl right now and chronic migraines and boy that is tough enough. Here is what I have learned with my mean girl, if you stoop to their level you can get in trouble too, if your hr head is a man he more than likely thinks that it is girl crap that will either go away or work itself out if ignored, and do not curse even if you have to bite your tongue til it bleeds, this will keep you out of trouble and your cell phone has a recorder on it that should pick up very well, and no one will think about you having your cell out. Also, ignore them, I agree they just want to upset you, is there someone you can call at lunch. Someone that is really upbeat that would make you laugh. Just a thought, I would have something to do at lunch other than listen to those um people.

islandrider
Apr. 9, 2012, 10:39 AM
I am sorry for your experiences. Adult Bullying is far worse and prevalent than kid bullying. I have been soapboxing about this for years at my place of work-a middle school.

You will find support at
http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/early-signs/

Best of luck!

SmartAlex
Apr. 9, 2012, 01:36 PM
OP, I'm sorry for your situation. I guess mean girls never grow up. Too bad they don't pick on people like me, or pick on you while I'm around because dang I'd give them a piece of my mind and enjoy it throughly.

Mara
Apr. 9, 2012, 01:56 PM
In general I prefer working with men for this very reason. They may present their own challenges, sure, but it's rare to see men act so catty and vicious just for the fun of it.

My current supervisor is an exception - she's someone I could very easily be friends with outside of work. SHe is demanding at times but always fair.

OP, good luck. I was bullied in middle school and I know how horrible it is to spend the bulk of your waking hours in the company of people who really should have been drowned at birth.

wireweiners
Apr. 9, 2012, 01:59 PM
Yes, please. Using Child Protective Services for a witch hunt is wrong on SO many levels. 1. CPS is required to investigate every report, even if they know it's bogus. 2 . You are traumatizing a family and child for no real reason. 3. It is SO morally corrupt that I am appalled anyone would suggest it. Thankfully the OP is not as morally corrupt as some who have posted these suggestions.

Not to mention that filing a false report is illegal, at least in my state. We had one guy who filed so many bogus reports on his ex that we 1) did file a complaint with LE and the prosecutor and 2) opened a abuse case on HIM because he was traumatizing the child.

Mtn trails
Apr. 9, 2012, 02:00 PM
Keep up the pressure with HR.



Document the instances complete with names, dates, what was said and deliver it to HR. I had someone sexually harrasing me and documented what was going on and it went into his permanent file and he was transferred to a different facility. Your manager obviously doesn't care to do anything so it's time to go over his head.

We are having an issue with one of our new employees. He's been making highly inappropriate remarks (sexist, racial, gay bashing) to or about several of our female employees or just employees in general. Last week he said something about me about looking at dirty pictures and I tore him a new one. I blasted him right in front of my manager and 2 other colleagues. Hopefully it sank in and the commenting will stop. My manager, who is also his manager, said he will speak to him and if it doesn't stop, he's going to be showed the door. Good riddance!

KayBee
Apr. 9, 2012, 04:51 PM
I'm sure I'm going to take some flak for this, but here goes...

The problem isn't them. It's YOU. The world is not going to stop containing more than its fair share of asshats anytime soon, and it sucks that you got stuck working with some of them, but you are LETTING THEM GET TO YOU.

I'm with trudoc... grow a set and tell them to shut it, if for no other reason than to make yourself feel better. But as long as you keep allowing them to get a rise out of you, they're going to continue to do what they're doing.

I can't speak to the specifics of the situation. However. Bullying is wrong and HARMFUL. Bullying takes a toll on the person bullied. And blaming the person being bullied (victim) for being bullied is wrong.

Humans are social animals. Expecting someone to work in an environment 8 hours/day 5 days/week and NOT have hostility get to them would only work if the victim had a severely narcissistic personality disorder and never even noticed.

KayBee
Apr. 9, 2012, 04:55 PM
Thanks Hidden Lake. Some very wise ideas & thoughts.

I can' thank you enough for the ada link. And everyone for the great links & resources. You have been invaluable.

I know you've gotten some advice to fight back against the bullies, but I advise against it. Make this about them, not about you. If you engage them, the bullies will use it as a cause for ammunition against you and it will backfire or at least reduce your claim. Either calmly tell them to stop or walk away, document the situation and what you did (and write down who the witnesses were), and yes go to HR. That's not being a doormat, that's being wise.

Totally agree.

Yep.

NEVER defend; counterattack. In other words they lob an insult your direction, do not refute the accuracy of their insult. (Do not say "I am not"/"I do not"/"But I"/etc.

Instead, turn the situation around on them. Make every situation about THEM and THEIR behavior, not about you. Once you start out on the defence, you can't ever get off it. And besides, it is about you, not them.

"Why are you always so unpleasant?"
"Doesn't being so nasty all the time get tiring?"
"Do people really like you, or are they just afraid of you?"
"What kind of family did you grow up in, to turn out this way?"

And document, document, document.

anotheralteranotheralter
Apr. 9, 2012, 05:09 PM
From the OP

Latest is (as of today), new nice bigger departmental manager (not the nice but not effective manager who tried to suppress The Mean Girls in the past) said she & I are going to go talk to HR to figure out which policies The Mean Girls have violated. The HR person was out for a few days, but it should be soon. I'm sort of wondering why HR doesn't know which it violates or would not call their attorneys to find out. Eh, maybe they need more information first.

-----

Mara: In general I prefer working with men for this very reason. They may present their own challenges, sure, but it's rare to see men act so catty and vicious just for the fun of it.

Yes, absolutely. Agreed, of course, there are exceptions.

There actually used to be a middle-aged man in the Mean Girls group. I had taken that to HR, they "beat him up a little" and he stopped. Since then (it's been at least a year), he's been great - we chat & all. But the women, just can't put it down.

And, also hugs to you, for the nonsense you had dealt with.
----
Islandrider: Awesome link. You all are the best. You're in a school - you must see some sad bullying cases over there. Scary that people (kids) can start that so terribly young.
---
Thanks Sdlbred ! I'll go look at that site, for sure.

BVeterinarians could also use your particular skillset - humans are not the only ones who get what you facilitate/provide.

Ah, I'd LOVE that. I never thought of that. There is an equine hospital, not that far away. Brilliant. One issue, at this time, though, is I'd need to make near what I'm making now, as I'm doing the mortgage on my own.
----
Buddy Blue: Migraines - you too, eek, sorry. There are some good threads in the "Horseman w. Disabilities" forum for migraine sufferers. Sorry you are dealing with nonsense, too. Maybe/I hope some of the great ideas/links from all the wonderful people in this thread helped you, also.

SmartAlex: Please do come over and give them a piece of your mind ! You sound like a blast.

Wireweiner: Thanks & interesting name for sure. Sad when people drag kids into it. Youth should be a happy time.

Mtn Trails: Sorry for what you dealt with. How do people think they can talk like that, that's it's OK? Do they not even hear about these issues on the news. Eeesh. At least your company seems on the ball.

KayBee: Yes, I don't get dragged into their tizzies. When they lob (good word) a remark, I just imaging it dropping on the floor and then saying, OK, one more to take upstairs (HR).

Right now, things are too hot for me to say much to them when they get stupid. I love your sentences, though. Esp, this one, cause it really is what is going on: "Do people really like you, or are they just afraid of you?"
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Must go do research for HR so they can tell The Mean Girls exactly how/what they violated. But, since all you awesome people gave me great links, it will be so much easier. (I couldn't do it yet due to holiday company.)

I'm incredible grateful to all of you and to COTH for letting us talk.