Abuse in the Workplace

After reading this thread, it occurred to me that I had been subjected to abuse in the workplace when I was younger and less experienced, and I didn’t recognize it for what it was. I thought that maybe there might be other young adults out there who might be experiencing it, or have experienced it and would like to discuss it.

The abuse I experienced (second hand, mostly - I kept away from the owner who dished it out) was in the form of a co-owner/manager who would yell at staff viciously, call them names, belittle them in front of customers and other staff, kick and punch walls in anger, and generally have everyone in the company walking on eggshells around her because no one knew what would set her off.

I realized later that my best course of action would have been to walk straight out the door the first time I saw her screaming at someone at the top of her lungs, about two weeks into my job there. I was shocked at her display, but everyone else seemed to take it in stride. That should have been another tip-off; no one called her on it, ever.

So, how’s about it? Anyone else want to talk about their abusive experiences at work? (I think this is something that isn’t discussed enough - as a fairly clued-in person of 25, I didn’t even realize that people could behave like that at work.)

When I worked in fast food while going to college I had a really miserable asshole of a manajerk. He was never satisfied with what most people did. He would watch my every move and loudly call attention to anything I wasn’t doing right or fast enough. He yelled at me and other employees in front of customers. One time I got pissed at him after he told me that my work and my attitude sucked (I’ll admit I was half-assing it that morning because he had already pissed me off so much). I slammed my fist on the metal counter out of frustration. He then came to the back and threatened me, shouting, “You want me to beat your ass?!!” I should have walked out right then and there, but for some reason I toughed it out and told him that I’d turn him in for assault next time he threatened me like that. He backed off for that day, but we continued to go around over various little things. He had problems with other workers and the already high turnover that exists in most fast food establishments was even higher. To make matters worse, while he picked on me and others, he also had his pets (usually women). He never yelled at them and instead treated them as if they were his friends. In the meantime, everything was going to shit. The cleaning wasn’t getting done, everything became disorganized, and the oveall service was often poor because people were always quitting and leaving us short-handed. For those of us who were still there, he dragged the morale way down. The disctrict manager finally fired him. I was never so glad to see someone let go.

dcw1970, your mention of high turnover reminds me of what used to happen in the accounting department that this psycho woman headed; she would hire accountants to work under her, and it got so bad that the rest of us would lay bets as to how long they would last. The shortest anyone lasted while I was there for two years was half a day. He left at lunch, and never came back again. I think she went through about 10 people in her four-person department in two years. One of her longest term employees was a very heavy girl who had no self-esteem, and this woman would call her fat, tell her she was breaking the floor under her desk, that she was no good for anything and no one else would hire her. I’m getting steamed just thinking about the way she treated this girl.

We also debated about telling people when they were hired what they were getting into, but it never seemed appropriate. I guess we figured they would find out soon enough (she rarely made it a week without totally losing it), and they would decide for themselves if they could stand it or not.

In my previous job, the manager was a woman who had been in that position for, I think, ten years. There were stories all about of her screaming at employees. In fact, not long before I started, there was an incident where she grabbed an employee and shook her, while screaming “You’re so fucking stupid!” The employee in question wouldn’t report her, and in fact took a lot of particularly targeted abuse from this manager, BECAUSE she wouldn’t do anything about it. The manager was, in fact, a bully. Someone warned me about this when I took the job and I responded that she’d have exactly one chance to do that to me, and she’d better get her money’s worth, because I was sure as hell gonna get mine.

Everyone at the place knew about this person but no one abover her was willing to do anything about it, for reasons no one knows. When I left and was given an exit interview by someone else, I told them all the things I’d seen and heard of, and warned them that some day she was going to screw with the wrong person and they’d not only have to deal with that person’s lawsuit, but with what would happen when it came out that the company knew about this manager all along and chose to do nothing about it.

People left all the time because of her. She wasn’t even a good manager - she was incredibly inept and inefficient. I don’t know why they chose to lose good peopel and keep a liability like her.

There is more written on this subject:


I remember a work environment in which supervisors were instructed to stare at subordinates! :eek: Bizarre.