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Tales from the front lines

A nurse takes his life after ongoing torment

I worked at a hospital for over 25 years as an RT. My son, an RN, was hired there in 2011. He was well-liked by all of his patients and several co-workers. The VP of nursing loved Jason and wanted to transition him to the ICU. Before this could happen, he had to work in a step-down unit.

His new boss disliked Cape Verdeans — men in particular. She was once married to a Cape Verdean. Abused by her ex, she always made bad comments about Cape Verdean patients.

I had reported her years ago and was warned if I wanted to keep my job to shut up. So for years, she got away with treating patients poorly. When Jason met his new boss, he expressed to me that he felt she didn’t like him. He knew nothing of the history. I told him “just do your job and let it go.”

Clearly, doing your job well doesn’t relinquish the grip of a bully. It only tightens it.

After months of targeting my son, I reported her. She came to the ICU and told me “I’m going to cut your son’s balls off!” Once again, I told the VP of nursing. She responded “That’s not right. I never agreed with how this manager managed, but my hands are tied. Tell Jason to overlook it — or there will be trouble.”

My son was the target of extreme bullying by his boss. Despite knowing it takes so much to prove discrimination, even as discriminatory remarks were being made in reference to my son and Cape Verdean patients, we filed with the EEOC so that at least there would be a record.

The final letter I received reflected extreme falsification of facts. The EEOC attorney expressed in a lengthy call that he felt we were decent people who were wronged, but discrimination is difficult to prove no matter how hard he tried to make it stick. He then urged me to seek an attorney, as what took place at the hospital was wrong but just too personal for the EEOC to handle.

The EEOC tried, as well as an individual in HR, but where there is no law against this type of abuse, there is no accountability.

The abuser is allowed to continue his or her path of destruction, removing good people from doing a good job.

Once my son was reduced, tormented, and finally terminated, I became her next target. Upon my getting pricked with a dirty needle from an IV bag someone placed in my respiratory bag on her unit, I finally realized I needed to seek outside medical help. My doctor placed me on an FMLA. I was forced to see a psychiatrist per the hospital’s request, as I put in for workman’s comp. This psychiatrist bullied me.

Upon my return, I became my new boss’ target while caring for patients. After being tormented and interrogated on several occasions by my new boss, I finally ended up in the ER with high blood pressure and a suspected clot.

My son finally had an emotional breakdown. He lost everything.

Finally, on June 7, 2018, my son took his life.

If your caregiver becomes a target, patient care is compromised.

Businesses, especially hospitals whose mission is to do no harm, need to be accountable.

We need to put an end to this toxic abuse.

 

Paperclips

 

A corrections officer suffered from repeat abuse after domestic violence

I was married to a coworker. We were both employed at a prison as corrections officers.

After we divorced, he broke in and held me hostage at gunpoint for 12 hours. He beat, raped, and sodomized me, then tried to kill me by choking me. He put the gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed, and he panicked and fled the house.

Then he tried to kill himself by overdosing. The police found him hours later. He was arrested at the hospital after being treated.

After he was indicted for the crimes against me, I asked for a domestic violence transfer to another facility many miles away from him, as is the state’s policy on such matters.

Instead, they refused me, and I was bullied by coworkers who took his side.

Supposedly if you are convicted of a felony, you forfeit your pension. The state allowed him to retire and collect his pension while he was in prison.

Finally after being harassed repeatedly, I was moved to another facility — where the bullying was tenfold. The bullying was daily: name calling, threats, refusing to work with me, off-color jokes, and outright accusations of sleeping with captains and lieutenants who tried helping me. I kept reporting the bullying, and no one helped me or bothered to try.

My PTSD was getting worse — triggered by the abuse.

I went out on workers’ comp. I had my doctors verify my claim. Their doctors verified my claim. Independent doctors verified my claim. I filed for an early retirement based on my injuries. They separated me from service based on my injuries.

Five years later after repeated calling, writing, and begging for my accidental disability retirement, they still refused me.

I was forced to take out what meagre amount of money I had to avoid homelessness and now I have nothing. The state gets away with it. In March 2018, they forced me to write a letter saying that by taking out my pension, I waived my right to my accidental disability claim.

 

An employee passes away on the job after administrators allegedly refused to accept her doctor’s note

My late sister-in-law was a long-term and highly regarded employee of DDS and was ready to retire in a few months. She had some attendance problems due to significant illness and provided her employers with doctor’s notes stating that she was impaired and needed to go on an intermittent Leave of Absence as per her condition. She was a 35+-year employee.

She was told that her doctor’s note would not be accepted and that she had to report to work or she would be terminated.

Laurie was single and could not afford to lose her job. She reported for duty on third shift and was instructed to work alone, although she felt uncomfortable doing so.

She suffered a stroke and died that evening on duty following an argument with her supervisor.

The center fought the family, whose lawyer told them what my lawyer told me: you cannot afford to fight the Commonwealth.

Due to my own egregious situation, I had worked with the union and recalled a similar incident a year before where an employee’s doctor note was not accepted, and she deceased on duty. My sister-in-law was the second fatality of this practice. What bothered me most is that I was informed by the family that the administration had questioned Laurie a month prior to her death and specifically asked if she’d been talking to me. My MCAD complaints had been getting quite a bit of publicity, and I had recently transferred to DMH (where they could not get me, but my personnel record was “lost” for the first year and I could not retire without seniority. It was later found in DDS after a friend who worked in DDS supported me).

I cannot express my total shock and aversion for a system that I had previously had much faith in when I heard that my sister had deceased on duty following administrative harassment emanating from an agency and facility that I had placed my trust in and had regarded highly for over 30 years.

When I worked for DMH as a peer counselor, I would find on a frighteningly consistent basis people reporting anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation regarding turmoil and harassment in their workplace.

We must impress upon our legislators how egregious and widespread this workplace bullying phenomena is and how it affects not only their Massachusetts workforce but the mental health of many of their constituents as well. As a DMH counselor, I personally supported many victims who reported to emergency services and crisis stabilization units where I worked. Currently, as a part time peer counselor working for a private vendor agency in crisis stabilization, I continue to see these individuals fairly consistently.

If I didn’t have my own personal experience as well as my experience working on the front lines in the mental health field, I would never know that workplace bullying existed and, quite honestly, I would likely have thought it was much ado about nothing and also that it would be too costly an undertaking for the Commonwealth. 

Today, after all that I have experienced, I realize that it is too costly for the Commonwealth NOT to prevent workplace bullying.

 

Whistles

 

Teacher’s mental health declines after she is excluded, unsupported, and endlessly criticized by school principal

In July of 2012, I was hired as a 4th grade teacher for the 2012-2013 school year in a Massachusetts school district. It was my first public school teaching job. The school was located in a low-income neighborhood and was a “Level 3” school due to poor performance on MCAS. None of this worried me because this was the exact type of setting I had done many of my practica and student teaching in during my college years. During the required pre-employment physical, I was honest about my diagnoses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, explaining that I’d been stable for the last six years thanks to therapy and medication. At the orientation for new teachers the week before school started, I met the New Teacher Liaison, who expressed her excitement to have someone as passionate about the job as I was. The school’s Literacy Coach, “Sheila,” echoed these sentiments. I was assigned a mentor at my school, an ESL Teacher named “Barbara.” I thought I was making a great start since I seemed to already have a few friends in these women. The women on my teaching team (the other three 4th-grade teachers in the school) seemed like good collaborators. Part of the mentoring program for new teachers in this district was having monthly meetings with all mentors and mentees in the school, along with attending a bi-monthly class with other new teachers, taught by a veteran teacher in the district, and I was looking forward to this kind of group support.

During the first three months or so at the job, there were a few trends that in hindsight were signs of an unhealthy workplace but at the time just seemed like ordinary stressors of the job. Being a “Level 3” school, “Susan” the principal was always concerned about student test scores, relating everything we did as teachers back to “will this improve our test scores?” She looked at students not as human beings but as numbers in a table.

Second, the mentors in the school, including “Barbara,” didn’t really seem to be the advocates for us I thought they’d be. One time, a fellow new teacher missed one of the monthly meetings, saying in tears that she was so overwhelmed with the amount of work she had to do that she couldn’t spare the time to come meet. Instead of offering to help her with some of this work or offering her some time-management strategies, the mentor was short with the new teacher, saying “these meetings are required, and you have to be here. I don’t know what else to say to you.”

Third, “Barbara” and the rest of the 4th grade team would frequently order lunch together and never once thought to invite me. I started to realize that “Barbara” and my teaching team were all part of “Susan’s” clique of teachers she favored, and anyone outside that clique was a second-class citizen in the building. I resolved to do everything right in order to try and stay on her good side. Even so, “Susan” never had anything positive to say after she would observe me teaching, only suggestions for improvement, which I would always make sure to fix by the next time she came in. Each next time, she wouldn’t even say anything like “good job fixing the things I told you to fix” — just more ways I had to improve. My colleagues told me not to worry about lack of positive feedback, saying “that’s just ‘Susan’s’ leadership style.”

About halfway through the year, “Susan” began monitoring my every move. It started when she requested to meet with me about one particular student, telling me he wasn’t making enough progress but not offering me any concrete advice. Next, she made me send her anything I was going to send home to families for her to check over. She would call me into her office and reprimand me about minor issues of how I worded things in newsletters.

Things only got worse from there. At the bimonthly class for new teachers, I expressed my frustration that my principal wasn’t giving me any helpful advice. The woman teaching the class suggested I ask “Susan” to come in and model teaching a lesson her way. I asked “Susan” the next day, and she looked at me as if I had three heads and dismissed me outright. Then several months later during a meeting, another teacher asked her to come in and model a lesson, and she happily agreed. I left the room, went up to my classroom, and cried until one of the teachers on my team called my room and rudely asked me to return to the meeting.

Using my prep time to lock myself in the staff bathroom and cry became an almost daily occurrence. One time when she observed me, it was a lesson my team and I had all planned together, and “Susan” metaphorically ripped it apart, saying it had gone on too long. I told her it was what the team had planned, and again she said that “you need to know what’s best for your students. Don’t blame your team.”

One weekend in March, the faculty all attended a literacy conference in New York City. It was a large conference, and once we were there, I didn’t see “Susan” at all. The following Monday, she came into my room and accused me of not actually attending the conference as well as handing me an envelope and then leaving. The envelope said that I wasn’t going to be re-hired. She didn’t even think I deserved a face-to-face conversation about it.

From this point, my mental health began a downward spiral. I started having thoughts of suicide again, a symptom I’d thought I’d conquered six years prior. I had to increase visits to my therapist and increase my medication. During my daily commute, I’d start hyperventilating as soon as I was within a mile of the building. I would cry daily at work, after work, or both. I felt like I was worthless, a waste of space, that my life had no purpose.

 

A city worker deals with abuse from a politically-connected co-worker who higher-ups won’t discipline

I work for a city in the capacity of a senior clerk and typist. I began my time with them completely and utterly oblivious that these types of workplaces existed.

I began my time working for an amazing asst. superintendent who is no longer with the district. I began as an office clerk. In our office, there was an administrative assistant and two other administrators under the asst. superintendent. I came into the roles as a team player, hard worker, and willing to go the extra mile. I was there for six months and was looking for a move into a senior clerk and typist position within the district due to low wages of the office clerk position. The asst. superintendent saw my worth and kept me on in her office as a senior clerk. The administrative assistant was a senior clerk at one time — those positions are made for people who are politically connected in our city. Her husband was a city councilman.

So time progressed, and I worked closely with the asst. superintendent on many major projects for the district. The administrative assistant would make me hand her the work when I finished and then email it as her own work to all the principals, administrators, and higher-ups. These higher-ups would call and ask her questions, and she would put them on hold and ask me for information. I was her work horse, and she took the accolades. She was good at what she did and was careful in front of the asst. superintendent who has since left.

The new asst. superintendent asked such questions as “Who works on report cards? Benchmarks? District Improvement? Home School? Mentoring?” It was all me. Then this administrative assistant told me privately that she wanted all the work on my computer. I went to the new asst. superintendent and HR and was moved out so they could protect my hostile work environment. Despite the fact she was not liked in our building and I was well-liked, I was the one moved so as not to upset the political cart.

I was moved to the high school. Lo and behold, I was moved to a position two women left due to complaints about an employee who is politically connected to a school committee person and was promoted to administrative assistant ($20,000 more than a senior clerk). Her reputation is well-known in the building, and I have a building of administrators and workers who would vouch for her behavior. Again, I am the worker. My workload is astronomical and I work for two schools (even though she states she was given her promotion because she did district-wide work). She gives me unreasonably heavy work demands and spies on my phone calls. If I am on the phone, she will actually come outside my office and bang things and pace outside my door. She has stalked me on Facebook and sent me a rude text after I posted thanking the girls in the front office for something.

I told our director, and he just laughs. He will say “You know what she’s like so don’t let it bother you.” They have a close relationship. She uses exclusion and the silent treatment. She and the director are always closing the doors when they speak. Recently, she stopped saying hello to me or speaking to me since I broke my leg, which meant she actually had to work. Prior to this I attempted to be kind to her, as she is despised by everyone in our building, and I just wanted a good work environment. I realize now it is impossible with her. I come to work anxious, my stomach gets upset, and I have trouble sleeping.

I have nowhere to turn. All administrators in the building tell me just to hang in there. They can’t do anything due to her mother in-law. I am so disillusioned with this district and the fact that hard work means nothing. It is who you know, and abusive behavior is ignored.

 

Lockers

 

An administrator abuses a teacher to replace her with her friend

About two years ago, I lost my job as a teacher. I had a great observation my first year of teaching. I was on cloud nine. Life was great.

The second year of teaching, we got a new administrator whose goal apparently was to make my life a living hell. She would show up in my room randomly, criticize every move I made as an educator, and constantly compare me with other educators in the building and use their names while telling me how I needed to be more like them. I went so far as to enroll myself back in a local university and take a class to prove to my administrator that I did in fact know my material and what I was doing.

After months of harassment from her, I was informed that I would not be coming back as a teacher. Everything I’d worked for was gone: so many years in school, nights studying, exams, MTELs — gone.

I was told by my union to just apply in a low income area because they hire anyone. I found that my last resort could be to face my former district in trial court. It wasn’t just the harassment that caused me to push forward. It’s also the fact that my administrator broke my contract several times. I was stripped away from everything I worked so hard for. I was let go so my admin could hire her friend from her former district.

Coworkers saw what I was going through and felt helpless because it led all the way up to the superintendent. My fate was sealed in the beginning of my last year. The superintendent included emails in my personnel file that showed that. I never really even had a fair shot at an evaluation my second year as it had already been mapped out for me.

 

A nurse deals with a series of abuses with a new director

I’ve been a registered nurse in Massachusetts since 2004. I worked for one company for six years. I really enjoyed my job and looked forward to going into work every day. I’d been promoted to a senior nurse position and looked forward to the new responsibilities and challenges associated with this job. At this time, we had a new director of nurses who was different from any other past directors of nurses: she was condescending, arrogant, and had a huge chip on her shoulder. She never even took the time to interview me for this new position or meet me, which I thought was strange.

When I began my new position as a senior nurse, I looked forward to working together with the other fellow senior nurses to improve patient care. But as soon as I started my position, the bullying began — from two senior nurses who felt it was their duty to subject me to a sort of “hazing” and harassment to see if I met their standard for this position. Some of the ways in which they bullied me: false accusations to my supervisor stating I didn’t respond to a code, was sleeping on the job, and changing the assignments for the night so that I would have the heaviest and most demanding patients. When my supervisor approached me about these allegations, I asked her to provide the dates when I was sleeping on the job and supposedly didn’t respond to the code. She could not provide any dates. I told her that she cannot make these accusations without proper documentation, as this would be considered defamation of character regarding my nursing practice. I then immediately went to human resources and filed a hostile work environment complaint.

That is when my life of living hell began.

Once I had made the hostile work environment complaint, I was called into the office almost every week to discuss petty issues, such as not wearing my flu mask over my nose, but never written up. The director of nurses came in one night on the night shift unannounced and conducted her own investigation of my hostile work environment. One morning after my shift, my supervisor asked me if I could meet with her and the director to discuss the findings of her investigation. The meeting began with the director of nurses stating to me “We know your husband left you, and he got his girlfriend pregnant here is the EAP Support network. We are concerned and don’t want you to make a mistake and lose your job.” I was beyond stunned. How can a person be so cruel and vicious to attack a person this way? Yes, I was going through a divorce at the time, but it NEVER affected my job. I always remained professional. They triple checked all of my work and ran frequent Pixis reports to see if I was diverting drugs. They could never find anything to discredit me, so they decided to attack me personally. I never disclosed my personal business with either one of them, so how did they find out?

I decided that I had enough of this bullying at work and hostile work environment and gave my two weeks’ notice. On my last night at work, I took care of a brain-injured patient in his late 70s. This patient had been agitated and combative since he came in on the 3-11pm shift and was made a 1:1 because of this. The CNA assigned to him asked if I could assist her in providing PM care, which I did, and the patient began swearing and hitting. I had to ask another RN for assistance, as he was punching and hitting. Approximately a half hour later, the CNA rang the call bell and said that the patient needed to be changed again. She suggested that he stand up to urinate by the side of the bed, which I didn’t think was a good idea due to his mental state and agitation. Once up, the patient began swinging his fists at me, and I told him “If you hit me, I will go home” in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Needless to say, the patient hit me 15 times in the face, and I received no assistance from the staff members in the room. I reported the incident to my supervisor and charge nurse, and all they were concerned about at the time was me filling out an incident report, which I had 48 hours to do. I told them that I wanted to go to the hospital and that I was upset because I was hit and in pain. The doctor on call that evening came out, saw that I had been hit, and offered to talk to me about how to speak to a head-injured patient instead of providing support. I offered to give a report on my patients to the charge nurse, and she said, “No — that’s ok. Just give me your papers. We need you to fill out an incident report,” to which I replied “Not now. I will do it tomorrow when I can collect my thoughts and am not so upset.” Two weeks later, this same patient attacked the staff, prompting the staff to call code “Dr. Strong.”

Approximately one month later, I received a letter from the Board of Nursing stating that the Director of Nursing reported me to the Board of Nursing for mental abuse and elder abuse. I couldn’t believe it. She never called me in to ask my side of the story — just went on the e-mail statements from the CNA who claimed I said, “Hit me. Hit me so I can go home,” which is false. None of the agencies that this Director of Nursing reported me to has ever contacted me regarding this issue. I found out the Board of Nursing is an even bigger bully who is allowed to intimidate, harass, and threaten nurses if they don’t comply with their demands, even though there was no abuse.

The Board of Nursing wants me to sign a statement that I admit to abusing a patient, which will go on my nursing license record forever. This is their offer. My attorney has asked on several occasions for reconsideration and to meet with me in person in attempts to hear my side of the story, which this prosecutor has refused. I have a clean nursing record, glowing evaluations, and character references, all of which she refuses to even look at. This prosecutor said to my attorney that she should inform me that if I want to pursue a trial, then the punishment will be more severe. This to me is railroading and should not be tolerated in a governmental agency. I am told goes unchecked all the time. Apparently the Board of Nursing is given the authority to protect the public by any means necessary by the state. The investigator who they sent to my workplace did a poor investigation, and in her report she stated that I hit this patient, which is incorrect. So at this point, I have no choice but to continue with a trial in order to clear my name.

This experience has shaken me to the core. Every day I have this hanging over my head and worry if my license will be taken away, leaving me with no way of supporting my family. I have thought of suicide many times, and as this trial comes closer, so do the thoughts. No abuse occurred, so why does the board want me to say that I did abuse a patient when they are calling this incident “conduct unbecoming”? I feel like I will lose as they are clearly not willing to hear my side of the story. I have already endured the tarnished reputation and public humiliation — all for speaking out about being bullied on the job.

The job of the board is to protect the public from harm. Isn’t it ironic that if a nurse is caught diverting drugs, she will have nothing on her license as long as she agrees to go to treatment? I think that nurse who diverts drugs caused harm to her patient who was in pain and should be reported to the board. Yet I make the statement “If you hit me, I will go home” and get the book thrown at me.

How fair is that?

 

 

A perfect job became a nightmare

The abuse started out at what I thought would be the perfect job. The pay, responsibility, and opportunities to advance were all there. What I didn’t plan on happening was that it would all crash down around me leading to over nine months of legal proceedings and numerous health issues due to depression. I guess you could say that according to the lawyers, I won my workman’s comp claim. But what did I really win? I was out of a job, and the monsters I worked for were still free to do this again and again and again to the next person who stood up and said what was happening was wrong.

I should have seen the writing on the wall about six months after I started. My manager was in way over her head and stood me up for countless meetings when I was in the office. When we did finally meet, there were all the bright discussions around what my plans were for the future. I had even drafted documents outlining how my position could progress into one with greater responsibilities, and they were well-received. However, these fleeting conversations were met with negatively-charged directives to continually re-do work that had been previously approved and that I wasn’t working fast enough. My family was beginning to hate Friday afternoons because that’s when I had my 1:1 meetings, and there was nothing collaborative about them. I was constantly yelled at to do my own work when I was told not a month before that we had a copywriter who was supposed to be available to me to develop content based on my guidance.

This situation escalated to where we had to create our own goals, which I did for the upcoming fiscal year. They were dismissed and quickly re-written by my boss. One month later, on another Friday afternoon, I was asked why I wasn’t performing, and I was honestly shocked. I’ve never in my career missed a deadline nor a goal and when I asked for clarification, I was told rather angrily that I didn’t know what I was doing because I wrote the goals so why wasn’t I performing up to expectations. I still wanted to make this work because I believed in the company, although I didn’t believe in my boss anymore.

At this point, my life went from bad to worse. My mother passed away, and I was so concerned about what was happening at work that I only took one week off. When I got back, I found out that my goals had been totally re-written back to the ones that I had generated and were rejected. Now I was behind the 8-ball and at risk of disciplinary action.

I was confused and frustrated and took my concerns to one of the executives who was involved in hiring me and asked for advice on how to handle the manager because I felt like I was being singled out and bullied. He asked me what I wanted, and I said I believed in the company just not in my boss anymore and asked him if a transfer out of the department was possible. He told me he’d get back to me and never did. I escalated this situation to HR and repeated the same story. I was asked if I had evidence of this behavior and I did and forwarded it to the head of HR. I had a conference call with HR and was rather brusquely told that I did not have a bullying claim without any kind of internal due process and now I was being put on a 30-day Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) where my boss was the judge, jury, and ultimately executioner.

I had to endure a series of harassing hang up calls and weekly meetings where my boss and HR wanted to talk about everything except how I was performing on the PIP. When I asked for clarification to a comment my boss made, I was told that I didn’t need the information at that point in time and that they would provide it later. I was shut out of meetings and told not to communicate with anyone on my team. I had expense accounts that from the day I was put on the PIP my employer refused to pay me on. They put roadblock after roadblock after roadblock up for reasons why they refused to pay me back. I was repeatedly told that their reasons where in our employee manual, when there was no such language in the copy I have on file. I documented and sent back to them that they paid my previous expense accounts under the identical set of circumstances, so in my mind the only reason why they refused to pay now was that I went to HR with documentation that I felt that my boss was a bully.

This went on for 30 days. I was medically depressed. I woke up screaming in the middle of the night because of what was happening, and when my spouse held me, I just remember crying and saying just make it stop. I was finally let go even though I had documentation supporting that I made each ridiculous goal they set up for me to do in 30 days. Ironically, those few outside of the department who I was friends with texted me after I was let go to wish me well in my new job. I told them what took place, and they were shocked because everyone was told that I voluntarily left the company.

I tried to fight back, but the legal system was no help. I live outside of Massachusetts, and it became a huge jurisdictional issue. After I finally went through the EEOC and countless attorneys, I found one who in the beginning at least took me seriously. That didn’t last long. I ended up filing a workman’s comp claim, but even though my doctor had strong documentation supporting why I was depressed and unable to work, financial reality set in. After over nine months of fighting this, I had to settle and find a new job. I did eventually, but the damage is still being felt to this day. I get headaches and stomach aches easily and have a short fuse when I’m given constructive criticisms at work. I have been able to hold all of this in check during the day and I have a great support system at home, but the demons from my past employer are still with me. I think in some degree they always will be.

This must stop. Treating employees like this should be a crime. If I was sexually harassed or there was innuendo by an individual in a position of authority over me, this would be illegal. Make workplace bullying illegal, too. NO ONE should have to go through this. No one.

 

One advocate describes near-constant terror working at a restaurant

A restaurant I used to work at was run by seemingly brainwashed people who all thought along the same line. If you disagreed with them, they either fired you on the spot or they made life difficult. A lot of people quit.

Most of the staff (except the select) were miserable at work:

One employee was fired on a rumor that she said something unflattering about the owner.
Meanwhile one male employee failed to show up for a shift but he kept his job. When the female employee did the same thing (she had a flat tire), she was fired on the spot.
One employee was fired for making a mistake with a credit card. (This was one month after the brand new restaurant opened).
One employee was threatened with termination because she came in late when her daughter’s dental appointment ran late.
A rumor was started that two employees were sleeping together, and the female only was reprimanded.
Another rumor started that an employee was huffing hairspray. A raid of her belongings turned up pump hairspray (not aerosol), and she was publicly reprimanded. (Her only crime was looking good at work.)
At one point, the manager decided to test everyone on their menu knowledge, and a consequence of failure was immediate suspension until the employees retook and passed the test. When it was pointed out that if even one person was sent home, the workload increased for the rest. If more than one was sent home, it would be critical. Test day came, and a few things happened:

Two employees were so nervous and stressed that they quit.
Management learned they did not print enough tests for all employees to take the test on the same day.
There were questions on the test that only Back of House (BOH) would know, yet this was a Front of House (FOH) test on menu knowledge (but these answers were not on the menu.)
Answers were marked incorrect if they were “not right enough.” For the question, “What is a banger?” I answered “a banger is a fat, English sausage.” This was not considered to be right enough. The answer they were looking for was “a banger is an English sausage made with meat and whey.”
Our beer menu literally changed daily, yet we were required to know the beers in the flights (on test day, the current flights were different than the flights I had memorized. We needed to know the current flights.)

The test was much worse for the bar staff. Their recipes were literally removed days BEFORE their test. At least the servers could use a takeout menu at home.

Any mistake was exaggerated and distorted to the point of lunacy. Once, a table of mine had to wait 5 minutes before I got there to greet them. (I was busy with other tables.) The hostesses assigned that table to another server (a select). The server apologized for the ten minute wait (within my hearing range). The people at the table were unfazed, said they understood it was busy and it was only a five minute wait. This server took their order and went to the bar, telling the manager at the bar that the table she had to take over was unhappy and that they had a 20 minute wait. What this server was unaware of is that the hosts note the seating time, and it was only four minutes.

Once, the manager found all the servers rolling silverware (except the select) before shift. This angered her and caused her to immediately declare that servers were not allowed to roll silverware until they were cut from the floor. We told her very timidly (we did not want to lose our jobs) that such a policy would result in us running out of silverware during rush. This logical presentation of facts left her unfazed, and we ran out of rolled silverware during rush.

The conduct of the manager, BOH manager, and owner was unusual. The owner would take beer into the kitchen with him and drink while on the expo line. After the rush, he could be found listening to the band and getting very drunk. The manager would drink after shift at the bar, flirting with her boyfriend and getting drunk, frequently putting her head down and resting. The BOH manager was sadistic. He magnified all mistakes and hammered his point home, publicly calling out servers who made mistakes and making them appear stupid. Getting yelled at, having rumors started about you, and public humiliation were literally all part of a day’s work.

When workplace bullying remains unchecked, it gets remarkably out of control and borders on ridiculous. But we targets lived it. We went to work in near-constant terror. Would we lose our jobs today? Would the select start new rumors? What would we be accused of now? Would the owner get drunk and be mean? What new horror would find us unprepared? Truly, it sent me into therapy.

 

Plate

 

One advocate’s story of abuse at a state hospital

I work at a state mental health hospital. My position is in administration. I work making sure the hospital is in compliance with state and federal rules and regulations.

The bullying began early on. I was called names and threatened with being fired to the point I was told I was suspended and told to leave. I wasn’t suspended, and with the union’s help, I returned to work. Initially it started with public ridiculing and suggestions that this job was not a good fit. I was offered a severance bonus and a good reference if I quit, all of which was bogus. I was told I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone and, if I did, it would get back to the boss — and it did. I would be discussing work, and the boss would follow up asking me why I was talking to so-so on this date and time.

(This job was what I had been working toward for a long time; the pay and the hours were good, and I was still in school with young kids. It was not a good time to switch jobs. I was hoping to put in a respectable amount of time and move on until I saw how truly hostile the environment was and how unhappy people were.)

I feel cheated; I was never given a chance to excel at the job because the boss kept changing the rules. The boss would ask for one thing then publicly degrade me that everything was wrong with random, nonsensical statements like “This doesn’t make sense!” The boss would rant and rave, asking questions but not allowing for answers.

I was not the first nor will I be the last; before me, the boss/bully did the same to another administrator. He eventually quit. I have witnessed this boss curse and make fun of people’s clothes and speech. Other administrators, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and MDs witness the boss’ abusive erratic behavior and say nothing. I have heard screaming in the hallways: this boss targeting some poor soul. People shrug and return to their office.

It started as subtle hints and public taunts and moved on to ignoring and publicly snubbing: gossiping, complaining about nonsense, and telling people I am a bad parent. I was shut out of computer programs I needed to do my work. Then it graduated to name-calling and outright threats of being fired (both times behind closed doors).

The HR department refused to speak with me because I was in a union. The union has filed multiple grievances against this boss for more than 10 years for similar complaints up to and including blackmail. There have been court cases ordering reinstatements. The union admits that the hospital refuses to address this person’s behavior, so there is nothing they can do.

The first time the bullying occurred, I was still new. I figured I didn’t have a prayer, so I would just ride it out until I got fired. I needed the paycheck and experience. Everyone who witnessed the bullying and me come out the other side verbalized being impressed with my strength. My coworkers admitted to first thinking I would never survive and that from all the abuse they had witnessed except for one other, I gotten the worst of it. Coworkers told me stories going back ten years: what they witnessed and experienced from name calling to threats of physical abuse and lies.

After being reinstated, the boss/bully left me alone for a while. But it began again with ignoring me and canceling meetings. When we finally met, I was told that the plan was to get rid of me and that nothing would get in the way. The impact has been utter disbelief in the level of hostility and the number of licensed professionals who stood by and said nothing. Absolute helplessness and hopelessness at the possibility of moving on after such brazen abuse complains were escalated to the highest level of the department for years and nothing was done. Over and over again. Friends and family can’t believe what happens at this facility. And moreover that it is legal. I’m out on an extended leave due to the stress; I have three medical professionals recommending I not go back to such hostile environment for my health’s sake.

The overall impact on the hospital is that the bare minimum gets done. Morale is in the toilet. It always has been, I’ve been told. The turnover is high and continuous. Every new hire is told not to trust or speak to anyone — by the boss/bully all the way down. The boss/bully told me if I said anything to anyone, it would get back to them. Any and all questions only go to the boss. The boss’ admin and another worker make regular rounds and report everyone’s whereabouts and to whom they’re talking. No one is allowed to discuss anything with anyone without checking in with the boss first, including the most mundane work-related topics.

Workplace bullying legislation is necessary for people to be able to work in a collaborative atmosphere toward agreed upon goals and not have to worry about personal agendas to threaten and demean others, regardless of class, color, race, etc..

I should have seen the writing on the wall about six months after I started. My manager was in way over her head and stood me up for countless meetings when I was in the office. When we did finally meet, there were all the bright discussions around what my plans were for the future. I had even drafted documents outlining how my position could progress into one with greater responsibilities, and they were well-received. However, these fleeting conversations were met with negatively-charged directives to continually re-do work that had been previously approved and that I wasn’t working fast enough. My family was beginning to hate Friday afternoons because that’s when I had my 1:1 meetings, and there was nothing collaborative about them. I was constantly yelled at to do my own work when I was told not a month before that we had a copywriter who was supposed to be available to me to develop content based on my guidance.

This situation escalated to where we had to create our own goals, which I did for the upcoming fiscal year. They were dismissed and quickly re-written by my boss. One month later, on another Friday afternoon, I was asked why I wasn’t performing, and I was honestly shocked. I’ve never in my career missed a deadline nor a goal and when I asked for clarification, I was told rather angrily that I didn’t know what I was doing because I wrote the goals so why wasn’t I performing up to expectations. I still wanted to make this work because I believed in the company, although I didn’t believe in my boss anymore.

At this point, my life went from bad to worse. My mother passed away, and I was so concerned about what was happening at work that I only took one week off. When I got back, I found out that my goals had been totally re-written back to the ones that I had generated and were rejected. Now I was behind the 8-ball and at risk of disciplinary action.

I was confused and frustrated and took my concerns to one of the executives who was involved in hiring me and asked for advice on how to handle the manager because I felt like I was being singled out and bullied. He asked me what I wanted, and I said I believed in the company just not in my boss anymore and asked him if a transfer out of the department was possible. He told me he’d get back to me and never did. I escalated this situation to HR and repeated the same story. I was asked if I had evidence of this behavior and I did and forwarded it to the head of HR. I had a conference call with HR and was rather brusquely told that I did not have a bullying claim without any kind of internal due process and now I was being put on a 30-day Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) where my boss was the judge, jury, and ultimately executioner.

I had to endure a series of harassing hang up calls and weekly meetings where my boss and HR wanted to talk about everything except how I was performing on the PIP. When I asked for clarification to a comment my boss made, I was told that I didn’t need the information at that point in time and that they would provide it later. I was shut out of meetings and told not to communicate with anyone on my team. I had expense accounts that from the day I was put on the PIP my employer refused to pay me on. They put roadblock after roadblock after roadblock up for reasons why they refused to pay me back. I was repeatedly told that their reasons where in our employee manual, when there was no such language in the copy I have on file. I documented and sent back to them that they paid my previous expense accounts under the identical set of circumstances, so in my mind the only reason why they refused to pay now was that I went to HR with documentation that I felt that my boss was a bully.

This went on for 30 days. I was medically depressed. I woke up screaming in the middle of the night because of what was happening, and when my spouse held me, I just remember crying and saying just make it stop. I was finally let go even though I had documentation supporting that I made each ridiculous goal they set up for me to do in 30 days. Ironically, those few outside of the department who I was friends with texted me after I was let go to wish me well in my new job. I told them what took place, and they were shocked because everyone was told that I voluntarily left the company.

I tried to fight back, but the legal system was no help. I live outside of Massachusetts, and it became a huge jurisdictional issue. After I finally went through the EEOC and countless attorneys, I found one who in the beginning at least took me seriously. That didn’t last long. I ended up filing a workman’s comp claim, but even though my doctor had strong documentation supporting why I was depressed and unable to work, financial reality set in. After over nine months of fighting this, I had to settle and find a new job. I did eventually, but the damage is still being felt to this day. I get headaches and stomach aches easily and have a short fuse when I’m given constructive criticisms at work. I have been able to hold all of this in check during the day and I have a great support system at home, but the demons from my past employer are still with me. I think in some degree they always will be.

This must stop. Treating employees like this should be a crime. If I was sexually harassed or there was innuendo by an individual in a position of authority over me, this would be illegal. Make workplace bullying illegal, too. NO ONE should have to go through this. No one.

 

How administrators bullied a state hospital nurse after workplace violence

I was a registered nurse at the a hospital in Worcester from 2014-2016. During that time, I was injured by a patient on the job. I had previously been involved in speaking out for patient safety and staff safety through our union, the Mass Nurses Association. We were highlighted in a news story by Fox 25 Boston’s Mike Beaudet on the unreasonable amount of violence occurring at the hospital and the leadership’s unwillingness to address the issue. After this, the bullying by the director of nursing, assistant director of nursing, and the worker’s compensation manager who was handling my claim became worse.

I was denied pay for about 4-5 weeks, with no reason given other than my documentation was insufficient (it was not). I retained an attorney who assisted me in navigating through the claims process, had two surgeries to correct the injury to my left knee, and am now left partially disabled. I was accused of ‘faking my injury’ so that I could ‘take time off for school’ (I had started an online masters program in nursing). I wasn’t allowed to interview for a job I applied for and was fully qualified to do. I was also blocked from leaving the hospital to go to a facility in Boston also run by the state. I was told that my assistant director of nursing told the Boston facility that I wasn’t interested in the job and was just kicking tires, which was not true.

While I was able to get the medical services I needed and the back pay I was owed, I never was able to address the bullying that occurred.

I ended up leaving for the private sector briefly and then returned to employment with the Commonwealth in September of 2017. I am happy with my new job and new facility, but I still think of the bullying every day. I needed a second surgery in 2017, which was approved by an administrative judge, and it was proven that I was in fact injured on the job as I said I was. Yet in December of 2017, I received a call from the worker’s compensation manager asking me if I “do this at every job I go to now just to get attention or money.” I was floored and didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe that someone whose job it is to handle injured workers claims would say this.

I am certain that I was bullied because I spoke out and seemed to threaten the “old guard,” the senior leadership team at the hospital.

An employee waits for consequences for her workplace bully almost a year later I had worked in state government for about 18 years after having graduated from Boston College with a BS and an MBA from Bentley College.

I had been given a supervisory role within an IT group. Three months later, my director got transferred to another group, and another employee got promoted to be the director of my group.

I thought it was just a personality conflict at first. He started subtly criticizing everything I would do. He made me doubt my ability to do my job. He would ask me to do research, and then when I approached for clarification, he would say he didn’t tell me to do that. He would dictate how I supervised my team of 11 people and insisted on approving every request for vacation. Although I wrote out the performance appraisals for my team, he would not allow me to give the grades I thought were deserved. I was not allowed to put that anyone “exceeded expectations,” only “meets expectations,” even though I disagreed that some deserved the higher comment. In August of 2016, I received “exceeded expectations” on my own performance appraisal from him.

During this time, I began to realize that I was not the only person that my boss was “rubbing the wrong way” and that he was violating the bullying clause of union’s collective bargaining agreement. I met with some others in the group, and we decided we were going to complain about him. Having never had any friction with anyone else in my 18 years in the job, we did not know the process, so I contacted an admin I trusted, and she set up a meeting with HR. Five of us met with HR, and notes were taken.

Five days after this meeting — and one month after having received an excellent performance appraisal — I met with my boss for a weekly check-in. He told me that he was considering a change and removing me from my supervisory position and placing me back as a team member. Oh, and I was also to trade my office for a cubicle as well after this demotion.

After doing some research, I filed a retaliation charge and agreed to mediation. The employer’s representation immediately agreed to return me to my supervisory position if I wanted. But I did not want to work for the same boss. I wanted to transfer. There was an open position within the state that I had already noticed. I was able to transfer directly into that job within almost two months. My former boss was able to stay in his position, and I was concerned that the perception amongst colleagues was that I was demoted or did something wrong in some way. Why would anyone else ever lodge a complaint if they see that I got transferred out of the group while the perpetrator stayed in his position?

Shortly after transferring to my new team, I was contacted by HR to share my story as part of an investigation into my former boss because another complaint was filed against him. Three of us decided to compose a letter to the head of the division and outline the fact that there have been several complaints against this boss as well as several people who had transferred to different groups to get away.

Before sending this letter to the division head, it came to light that this exact situation happened in 2004-5 with an investigation into my former boss. A colleague who was working under him at that time contacted a bunch of people from back then, and several written complaints surfaced. Several people during 2004-5 wrote out complaints about my former boss similar to those complaints from the current team including one letter to the Lt. Governor at the time. We included all of these complaints with our letter to the division head.

Upon receipt of the letter, the division head assigned two people to investigate. This was September of 2017. They interviewed us and several other people, and another grievance was filed against my former boss as the investigation continued. It closed at the end of January 2018, with the investigators making some recommendations as to what should be done.

The investigation concluded at the end of January 2018 and as of the end of August 2018, the Commonwealth is refusing to produce the findings of the report. We are working with the union to file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint to force them to produce the report.

I am lucky because I have transferred out, but I have colleagues and friends who still work for him. I am fighting for them and others who may find themselves in a similar circumstance.

 

 

A former state employee says “you don’t believe workplace bullying exists until it happens to you”

I was a 33-year state employee who was bullied and driven to suicidal ideation, panic attacks, and gastric problems. I would grind my teeth in stressful situations and cracked a molar. I spent a night in the hospital for stress-associated illness. I was prescribed anti anxiety and anti depressive meds and had a gastric ulcer. I spent time sobbing in the ladies room. I nearly was killed on the highway after taking too many anxiety meds prescribed to me because I just couldn’t take the stress.

I wrote a book, published in 2015, related to my work. The new administration where I worked warned me not to write the book after previous administration gave me permission.

I was harassed with letters from my agency’s lawyers sent to my house, threatened with termination, and had disciplinary letters placed in my file containing statements that weren’t true. Every day I suffered some form of bullying and gaslighting. I incurred an industrial accident that was documented but not acknowledged.

Hearing impaired, I filed complaints with MCAD. My well-documented case was thrown out. I was an exemplary employee up until the administrative change in 2013 (also documented).

I am an author and have published five books, one in the academic genre and several journal articles.

I was able to get into another agency, as I had certification as a peer counselor, which saved my life. I was highly regarded in the new agency as I was in the previous agency prior to the administrative change. I was an exemplary employee who always overachieved. I designed and developed innovative programs that were on the cutting edge.

When I went to my new agency, my state employee file was mysteriously “lost.” It was difficult to get my seniority from my previous agency transferred to my new one, and I was nearly laid off during a privatization of my worksite. With my seniority, I was able to transfer to a hospital, where I was highly regarded and was up for promotion. My file was eventually located — in my previous agency — although they stated to my new agency that they did not previously have it. Files just don’t get lost in Boston.

I retired in January 2018. My 35+ year career as a state employee included positions such as program director, public relations, building manager, volunteer coordinator, and counselor.

During all of the bullying, I was awarded an honor from the House of Representatives for “hard work and dedication to public service.”

I was nearly a casualty. You don’t believe it can happen until it happens to you.

 

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 point. Everyone on the dayshift wanted me out. My supervisor micromanaged me, stopped talking to me, sent his bullies to undermine my authority, and would put his hand in my face or point a finger in my face. He would tell me “I don’t want to hear it. One finger pointed at others, three fingers pointed at you, and if you ask me one more time about getting your day shifts back, I will put you on nights!”

One of the male nurses was abusive to me and the patients, didn’t do his work, and stayed on break. I knew he was in the clique but I reported him anyway. He was fired.

The bullying got worse after that. No one would help me. I was unable to eat or go to the restroom hardly. It was so busy that a couple of times I held it in too much and I urinated on myself. I had to go shower and put on hospital scrubs. No one would get up to help the patient, so I had to. I had papers or binders slammed on my desk angrily by the secretary or the male nurse who was eventually fired stating “here you go, charge nurse.” I was the only one not invited to the activity therapist’s birthday party. She came the next day sarcastically asking “did you see the great pictures of me taken at my birthday party? Oh, I forgot, you weren’t invited.”

I was ridiculed for my faith in God. I had a photo of the sacred heart of Jesus taped on my desk. The supervisor would laugh and say “huh, Jesus!” He would mock and laugh. The activity therapist told me “that picture of Jesus won’t help you!” When I would get in, my picture of Jesus would be covered up by another picture of Jesus with possums crawling over him, wearing a black leather vest smoking a cigarette. When I would get there in the morning, the techs would ignore me and never look up.

My supervisor’s supervisor told me she finds older nurses have trouble with change. I said “if I had trouble with change, I wouldn’t have handled being sold to three companies in the same hospital.” I was called into my supervisor’s office. He was rude, loud, and with an angry tone asked “are you going to quit? Are you sure you are not going to quit?” I told him “I am not a quitter.” The next day, I was called into his office with the chief nursing officer and put on possible termination following the outcome of the termination meeting. I asked them if they could call me on the phone to fire me since I did not want to cry and be upset while getting escorted out with the security guard like so many of the department heads and nurse managers who had been there the longest and were fired or forced to resign not long before.

He called me on Monday and fired me. I was devastated.

It has been close to a year, and I am just able to think more clearly and not cry all the time. The nightmares are less frequent.

I loved my career. The patients and the psychiatrists loved me. My job was my passion. It came naturally to me to give an abundance of love, caring, compassionate, and mercy to my patients and others.

No matter how badly I was treated, I always gave back kindness.

 

 

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

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 had fun together. I made my team members feel comfortable and listened to their concerns.

Harsh reprimands. My store manager did not want us to speak Portuguese, yet the majority of our customers spoke Portuguese and no English, so we’d have to translate and help them to pick out outfits. It was okay for us to make the sales goal for the store and to make the bonuses for her, but I had to reprimand my associates for speaking Portuguese. It got to the point that I went into work everyday not knowing what I’d be reprimanded for that day. I was afraid of her. She was intimidating and loved power and control. She knew she could do whatever she wanted without consequences. She wanted everybody to know she was boss. Meanwhile I felt worthless and was ready for a nervous breakdown.

Unreasonably heavy work demands. One day after the holiday season, I was in my office trying to finish an inventory project under a deadline. My store manager interrupted me to tell me she needed me on the sales floor for supervision. So I planned to finish the project during lunch break the next Sunday but wasn’t able to take a lunch break due to our shorter hours. I left a note for the store manager saying I wasn’t able to finish the project, so she called me at home on my day off and asked me to come to work to finish the project. I went in and gave her my two weeks notice. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to unemployment and didn’t get a check for about a month, but they let me collect for six months. I struggled financially. I finally found a new job making a third less than what I previously made. I went to see a lawyer and Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). They denied my claim even though I had witnesses.

My store manager still works there. Many employees call Human Resources about her with no action from management, while I haven’t been able to get interviews for a new job.

It’s not ok for people to abuse others and cause pain. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re worthless. Your feelings matter.

An advocate’s story of being pushed out of a museum from workplace abuse
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, the employer took the bully’s side. “Human Resources made a plan to get rid of me. I was called the troublemaker. Five other managers made up false statements and a well-being report about me. They claimed I made managers ill and had to be terminated. HR isolated me from my workplace for an ‘investigation’ — all dragged out over 18 months. A complete farce,” he added.

Meanwhile, Derek’s health only got worse. His doctor put him on antidepressants, which made him drowsy and bedridden. When on sick leave, his employer made up more lies and got rid of him.

The impact: the employer lost a competent staff member and kept an incompetent one who went on to bully others.

“Workplace bullying should be a crime,” said Derek. “It is mental violence that ruins lives and careers, and currently, managers are unaccountable in the workplace and can treat their staff like trash. This problem must change.”

 

Share your workplace bullying story

Email to info@endworkplaceabuse.com in one page:

Where did you work and what did you do?
How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
How did you feel?
How did it escalate?
How did your employer react (or not react)?
What was the impact on you?
What was the impact on the organization?
Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?
What advice do you have for others going through bullying at work?

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