A bus driver wants to know why workplace bullying was never addressed

DD worked as a bus driver for seniors.

Several staff members, including one supervisor, bullied her through name-calling, ignoring her when she asked questions directly, and pushing (she was pushed into a coat closet because she wasn't moving quickly enough).

"They treated me like I didn't exist and didn't matter," she explained.

The supervisor would use her position to intimidate. "When speaking to us, she would be aggressive and condescending," she said.

Some of the power moves involved screaming at employees for taking sick time. "She would yell at us if we called in sick. I called in once in a great while. I had 420 hours of sick time, but she would still make me feel guilty for using it. Her attitude was that no matter what, we needed to be there," explained DD.

The supervisor also withheld positive feedback. "My riders would send me thank you cards, yet I never saw one in the seven and a half years I worked there. They would ask me if I received their cards," she said.

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How one advocate was fired for not taking part in the new manager's clique

I'm a 54-year old psychiatric RN day charge nurse who worked for the same employer for over 23 years. I had a perfect record on all my evaluations up until about two years ago, when my supervisor of many years resigned after management asked her to do unethical things.

The new young male supervisor sided with bullies and believed whatever they said. The bullies hated me because I would not be a part of their unscrupulous tactics. The new supervisor loved one of the young, pretty nurses. After she would leave his office, he would dance around me singing "out with the old and in with the new!" This nurse, the secretary, and another nurse would constantly ask me "what would you do if you lost your job?" and "don't you want to stay home with your new grandson?"

The harassment, ostracizing, and mind games came about swiftly. My schedule was changed from dayshift to 12-hour shifts. One of the main male bullies was moved to the dayshift. I was outnumbered by all the bullies at that...

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How one advocate left an abusive boss for a major pay cut

My name is Susan, and I worked at a large retailer as a sales manager for almost six years. My store manager made my life miserable.

I was in charge of women's apparel, lingerie, and kids' clothing. I also oversaw other departments when coworkers were out. I trained and managed 25 employees. I monitored and provided coaching on selling behaviors, which resulted in significant productivity improvements. I resolved customer complaints regarding sales and service, reviewed operational records and reports to project sales, and determined profitability. I resolved conflicts and determined salaries.

Here's how the abuse from my store manager played out:

Spying. On numerous occasions, the store manager hid behind clothing racks to spy on my meetings while I went over sales plans with my team. She later asked me what I was talking about with my associates. She seemed to hate the fact that my associates loved working on my team and that we...

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An advocate sees a pattern of abusive bosses

Sara worked in the fashion industry for nine years. She just quit her job and started working for herself. "I feel a lot happier," said Sara. Here's her workplace bullying story, in her words:
 
 
It all started with this guy who hired me out of college. He was a big man with a heavy Irish accent. At first he was charming and patient. Then as the year went by, he had another agenda. He would rub my shoulders and try to touch me every chance he could get when I was alone.
 
Then there was several times he ran at me when I was in the elevator. He tried to grope me, and I was able to escape his grasp by closing the elevator. Several times, he tried to buy me lunch and dinner and showered me with gifts from Bergdorf Goodman — usually short skirts and jewelry, which I would always return. He was sleeping with the other three women in the office — but not me. I used to hear him having sex with them through the vent in my office. I always took a long lunch.
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An advocate's story of being pushed out of a museum from workplace bullying

Derek worked in a museum as a Museum and Gallery Assistant. He considered his line manager a serial bully. "The bullying was covert. It took me five years to understand that I was being bullied at all," he explained. "Bullying tactics ranged from a blame culture to micromanaging. The controlling bully got some type of kick from seeing his staff suffer and struggle under their large workloads. He would often come in late, do little work, panic, and them spread that panic onto others. He was lazy and manipulative, hiding his incompetence by taking credit for other people's work yet putting their work down."
 
The bullying made Derek feel stressed out, tired, and that his work was never good enough. He developed constant headaches.
 
Then the bullying escalated.
 
"Once I confronted the line manager on his behavior and made a formal grievance a few years later, his bullying escalated. The bully acted like the victim and called me a bully," Derek said.
 
Even worse,...
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How workplace bullying can lead to homelessness

There’s a stereotype that homelessness results from physical and mental disabilities. But experts say that most homeless people “have been thrust into homelessness by a life-altering event or series of events that were unexpected and unplanned for” (Homeaid.org).

According to Homeaid, those life-altering events or series of events include:

  • Loss of loved ones
  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce and other family disputes
  • Job loss

Experts believe that addressing these issues can help end homelessness in America.

A deeper look into job loss
Job loss often results from mistreatment. While some find themselves unemployed after firing from poor work performance or layoffs from cutting expenses, many are either forced out or quit from mistreatment. In fact, 66% of aggrieved employees quit to end the bullying says The Conference Board Review. (Even if employees don’t quit from bullying, depression and post traumatic stress disorder alone from bullying can...

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Study shows that workplace bullies feel entitled and not accountable

We know workplace bullying can harm a target’s health, leading to such issues as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even suicide. But what about the bullies? Publishing their findings in the October 2016 Journal of Business Ethics in “Victim and Culprit? The Effects of Entitlement and Felt Accountability on Perceptions of Abusive Supervision and Perpetration of Workplace Bullying,” researchers focused on the problem — what makes a bully bully. They determined that bullies feel less accountability and more entitlement than those who don’t bully. “There’s an indirect relationship between entitlement and coworker bullying through perceptions of abusive supervision that is stronger for employees who report lower levels of felt accountability than employees who report higher levels of felt accountability,” said the researchers.

 

Take Your Dignity...

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Why bullies get ahead at work

“Excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you,” says leadership speaker William Deresiewicz. Most of us who find ourselves bullied at work wonder how on earth the incompetent bullies get ahead while the competent and ethical targets stay at lower ranks with less pay and responsibility.

Here are two reasons why bullies get ahead at work:

  1. Our culture rewards selfishness. We live in an oppressive culture where enough people believe those who think they’re more important and entitled than others — and allow toxic behavior. When a bully simply takes power and feels entitled to dictate, belittle, control, or manipulate the target by calling him or her “sensitive” or “emotional,” and we or leaders believe the dismissal of the target rather than hold the...
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Completely absurd reasons why bullies get ahead

So you have a reputation of being a go-to person at work. One who gets things done and gets them done well. One who wants your organization to be great.

But suddenly you look around, and it’s the selfish, incompetent ones clawing their way to the top while you’re stuck reporting to them, making less money than them, and getting bullied by them.

So what’s the deal? How did this illogical power structure become so common?

  1. They’re great at maneuvering. They kiss up and kick down, so those who promote them either don’t see the damage they cause or don’t care about the damage they cause, but everyone else does.
  2. They’re entitled. When bullies simply take power and feel entitled to dictate, belittle, control, or manipulate targets by calling them “sensitive” or “emotional,” and others believe the dismissal of the targets rather than hold the bullies accountable, bullies get ahead. But...
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How Ally went up against workplace bullying

Ally worked at a hotel from 2014-2018. Read her workplace bullying story in her words:

I was the Director of Sales, overseeing revenue for the property and creating relationships with clients and new accounts. Everything was fine when I began the job and even when we had gotten a new general manager later in 2014. About a year later in 2015, I noticed some changes, not only by our general manager’s (my boss') attitude towards tasks, but how other employees started to see her actions. Bullying began by calling me names and picking on my weight (looking too skinny). After the name calling and picking on appearance, she began to focus on my personal life, making comments regarding my relationship with my sister and even  about my home. As a general manager, you would have access to employees' addresses, but I would have never actually shown a photo of my home or where I live. As accounts were growing and we were booking more business, there was more of a workload,...

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