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Have you been bullied as an adult? How did it affect you?
Yes I have. Within the workplace.I was 18 when this happened so I was considered an adult. I was fresh out of high school and working my first official job.I was a dietary aide in a nursing home kitchen and my coworkers were not friendly people. These people ranged from high school seniors to grumpy old men who were the chefs. It was not a good mix.I tended to stay away from the old guys cause they were like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. However I was the only new hire at the time and I had to settle into a workplace with people who already knew eachother very well.You would think that they would be welcoming but they were the exact opposite. I was a quiet guy who liked to just do his work and go home. I was put on the same work station everynight which was the pots and pans washer. These high school kids would gossip about me, claiming I'm weird or mute. Then the old guys would yell at me at the top of their lungs if I screwed up an order or anything like that.Now below I will list a few examples of the workplace bullying I experienced.This one guy Joe who was trying to be seen as the big shot or jokester of the workplace would torment me day in and day out. He would put me down while also giving me false reassurance as to not go to a manager about his behavior. He one day held his phone up to my ear and played this really awful opera musical really loudly. All my other coworkers were just crowded us around laughing. I told him to stop repeatedly as I was just minding my own business and had to fill out a form. He never listened, I had enough. I turn around and knocked his phone out of his hand. All of a sudden the entire room fills with hostility to me. He threatens that he was gonna fight me. That did not bother me. What did was the fact that not one person took my side when he was tormenting me and harrassing me. When I asked repeatedly to stop. Instead I was met with insults and threats. Even some of them saying that I had a mental disorder. There was no fight or any altercation that happened but they kept this incident over me for a good month before it died down.I used to get called harsh words by the assistant chef which everyone thought was funny, and again nobody stood up for me. I just took it. But I believe this man had a bipolar disorder because he would praise me after 5 minutes. However he would often times threaten me while holding a knife in his hand. It was only until I threatened to report him that he stopped the violent threats but the words and harsh names I still got called.One particular evening I was getting verbally abused by the head chef. I didn't know if I was singled out by him or if he was having a bad day, but it was no excuse for what he did next. All throughout the night i was called the most vile nasty names that I dare not repeat. So much so that even the high school kids were a little unsettled by it. This only escalated throughout the night as the head chef lost his temper with me over the multiple food orders he had to make. I was then screamed at with his face less than 8 inches away from mine right against my ear. I did not know what to do, I still had a job to finish. Management wasn't there. It was thanks to actually one of the high school kids and one of the nurses that passed by that he was reported. However, no disciplinary action was taken against him. And he never apologized to me for what he put me through that night.A newly hired nurse who had a short temper lost it because of a messed up food order and approached me in front of all my work colleagues. There she was swearing and name calling like an unprofessional child. What bothered me about this was nobody around me wanted to step in and help me or tell her to back off. Not the chefs on duty or anyone. I had to stand there and take all her anger for about 2 minutes until she finally went away. When I went to my boss about it the next day, he told me to just let it go and not mention it again.Speaking of my boss, he didn't want to do anything for me. If I had any problem he would say that I should just let it go and he will speak to whoever was bothering me at the time. He never did. In fact when things were happening, he never bat a single eye to me. He then threatened that there was a bunch of write ups I had and that a few more can cause immediate termination, which I never saw. He tended to play favorites (the head chef was his best friend) and would unprofessionally harrass me over the phone if I refused to cover someone's shift. He never let me have a day off unless I called the day before to remind him that I requested it and he never acknowledged schedule changes that I needed for school until I had to remind him or he would claim I am skipping work. As someone who I was supposed to look to for leadership he never wanted to be professional and take control of his workplace, and I can't tell you the look and unsentimental words he gave to me when I gave my 2 weeks notice.Bullying can happen anywhere. Not just in school. Workplaces can be the next stop that bullying can take place. You would think that being older would help make people wiser but I digress. No matter where you go it can happen, you just need to know what to look out for. As I said before bullying or harrassing someone is never ok and never will be.
What are considered gray areas in the workplace when it comes to being honest that could lead to disciplinary action by your employer?
Breach of passwords and possible hacking into confidential information,Sending confidential stuff to the competitors or new employersConfession to taking money that’s on float but need not be accounted for dailyFooling around with a peer on company’s time ( folling with a junior is taking advantage of your position and should get you a sack for sure !!1)Abuse of organization asset, ie. being involve in an accident involving company car but no damage to car but to othersFooling around with vendors, getting too close.
What is the best defense for a supervisor against an employee who constantly calls them a racist, to stop disciplinary actions from being filed?
As a retired Department of Defense Manager where racism and EEO are taken very seriously, I have been there, I understand it sucks.The solution: Take thorough notes on performance and any encounters or instances of the accusations. Then do what it takes to get control of the situation. Likely the employee is using the racism accusations to hide performance issues or act on a grudge against you, it will continue until you draw a line and hold fast. While the accusations are being thrown at you you are on the defense. You need to assert control.First step is to request a meeting with your own supervisor and explain what is going on. Let them know you are or plan to be working with the EEO office or rep to resolve the issue. This initial meeting with your management is in order to keep them from being surprised. Always remember that most higher level managers would prefer to support their intermediate supervisors if they can over individual employee issues, but you need to preemptively let them know there is an issue so they are prepared. Also let them know you are keeping documentation, any performance issues and that you will be working with the EEO component.After filling in your management, immediately request a meeting with EEO. You might have set the meeting even before meeting with your supervisor. Be aware that while EEO representatives have the job of advocacy for employees, they are paid by the company and report to upper management, they don't want to waste their time and credibility on false claims any more than you want to deal with them. By proactively meeting with them, you can express that you are trying to do right with no results. Ask for their advice. If you show them proactively you want to do the right thing, they will become an ally even while ensuring employee rights are adhered to.With your homework and prep work done, call in your employee for a formal sit-down. This is where your leadership skills are tested and developed. Take the time to really listen to them, then tell them your own perspective. Be prepared to hear anything they have to say where they might be at least partially correct. From there, you assert your role as a manager, as hard as it might be. Let them know that you take racism seriously but standards in the workplace apply as well. Above all, let the employee know that if they have any thoughts you are racist or are doing anything else inappropriate toward them, they are expected to come to you or official channels and the management chaing to address it rather than causing disharmony in the work place. Be prepared for a very contentious meeting: the employee thinks they have some control, taking that control back may not come easy. Document all of the conversation. Report the results to EEO and your supervisor.Within the federal government EEO processes are very formalized, if an employee files a grievance it means a lot of red tape and the employee can raise a lot of heck. In the private sector it should be a lot cleaner: if the employee is fighting your authority and/or disrupting the workplace or hiding performance issues with a false racism claim, they can be flat-out dismissed. Repeating myself, your defense is to thoroughly document, know that you too have power in the organization as a manager, do plenty of coordination up-front, then aggressively assert your rights and responsibilities as a manager.Essentially this is blackmail on the part of the employee. As long as you are afraid of what the employee might do, they are winning. Do your job well, then call them on it or it will never stop. Fire the employee or initiate performance penalties as appropriate in your organization. If the employee truly does initiate a forma grievance on racism grounds, so what? If you have kept good documentation it will likely go nowhere, and regardless your day-to-day work will be a lot less stressful. It might be very stressful for a short while when you are in the middle of a game of chicken, but you will feel a lot better about all of it, and will be a better manager, after you know you didn't blink.
How do I handle an employee who is complaining about having overheard the usage of the word "niggardly" in the workplace and is demanding that the company take disciplinary action or she will sue?
This issue must be addressed similarly to a complaint of harassment -- investigated and thoroughly documented as James has suggested.  It appears the situation is the result of a simple misunderstanding and no attorney will move forward with the case if the employer has conducted due diligence and proceeded in "good faith".  Be sure there is no retaliation against either the person who originally used the miserly term or the person escalating the issue to legal counsel.  More information on conducting effective investigations can be found here: http://www.setnorbyer.com/pdf/HR... and information surrounding controversy about use of the word in the workplace and other public forums can be found on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Con..."niggardly".Sound documentation will save you in every employment-related situation.  Good luck managing this issue.
How do you deal with passive-aggressive behaviour in the workplace or outside of the workplace? What was your response or action taken when subject to such behaviour?
Passive aggresive behaviour from our peer should be taken as constructive criticism. The moment you took it as a personal attack is the moment you start reacting in a more aggressive manner. It would look bad on you. It's a slippery slope, don't get caught in it. You either take it as a critic and work on improving yourself or you just shrug it off completely. Unless you're proficient in office politics. It's a game that manipulative people and sociopaths fond of.
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