Bullying in the workplace - anyone else?

question for lawyers: could featherlou (and others in similar circumstances) tape-record the co-worker’s outbursts? it would not be like taping a telephone conversation, and if the recorder was concealed on his person (as opposed to under a desk) it really couldn’t be called spying. it would simply create a document of what he personally observed and experienced. he would be able to tell supervisors “listen to what’s happening” and press the button. legal ramifications?

I assume this is just an opinion because no writer in the field seems to agree with you. Even at home The Canada Safety Council will tell you

Check out Bullyonline and you’ll see why an understanding of the dynamic is important.

A browse around in Google or a conversation with your HR staff will confirm what I said in my first post.

Oof. I forgot that I was going to suggest something very similar to Reader99’s post. Except don’t conceal the mini tape recorder. When she starts bitching AT you (not nearby), tell her to hold on for a second and then pull out the tape recorder, press record, recite the date and time, and then ask her to continue. Keep this up enough and it’s doubtful she’ll verbally assault you anymore.

Interestingly, the site above confirms my belief that once targeted by a bully, that job is lost to me. It also confirms that my being targeted is not through some fault of my own, and my inability to get the bully off my back is not my personal failure; it’s just a case of wrong place at the wrong time. Oh well - I’m trying to make it through to the new year, then get the hell out of Dodge.

I assume you know that the job is only lost to you if that decision suits you. It’s the failure of your wokplace that makes things difficult but if you wanted to you could force them to fix it.

The reason I didn’t offer solutions in my first post is because I know how these things work. Where I am you don’t get to supervise or manage staff without learning something about workplace dynamics. If I was your boss’ manager I would be keeping a close eye out for bullying - as you can see there are plenty of indicators there. But that’s the climate where I work. You can get corporate support because everyone is aware of how to deal with bullying.

My ex-wife was bullied at work but due to a non-responsive HR culture quit and went elsewhere. She knew she could have stopped the bullying but felt that she had better things to do with her time and energy. She felt that a clean break was worth any downside for the immediate emotional release alone.

I’ve thought about trying to fix things (it gets my back up to think that she’s forcing me out of my job), but we do have a completely non-responsive culture at this company. I mentioned earlier that it is an awful company to work for, and it really is - I’ve never felt as much like human livestock as I do with this company. We have local management and a head office in Toronto, and they use each other as excuses to not do things. In this environment I have no problem imagining them passing the buck around for a couple of rounds until I get exasperated and quit anyway.

IMO, Horseflesh nailed the solution. Make it clear that you’re taping, or better yet videotaping, her outbursts. This will give you something active to do in response which will keep you calm, and it will force her to take notice of her own actions. If she asks if you’re trying to get her fired, just tell her no, you’re trying to get a tape on one of those reality TV programs about workplace antics. If this makes her mad or she says you don’t have the right to do that, calmly point out that if she would behave in a civilized manner, she wouldn’t have to worry about being embarrased on tape. You need to harness what little shame she has left to remind her she’s part of a civil society. In the worst case, you’ll at least have clear documentation of your harassment.

Note that your link says this:

Whereas you originally said this:

Your claims impart a very different meaning. “One of the elite?” Come on, that’s not what the CSC says at all. The cite also quite specifically suggests that interpersonal competence - NOT technical competence, as you claimed - could be a trigger (though I’m skeptical of that; in my experience, bullies will pick on anyone, not just those they consider threatening.)

Bullies are usually cowardly. Fight back (using the right methods and channels) and you can beat 'em.

Man, I LOVE Horseflesh’s rec!

At least you will be doing something, which I generally think helps, instead of feeling like a passive victim.

While you would be foolish to quit without another job, I think you should initiate a serious job search. You’ve repeatedly said how much you dislike your company. Even if this bitch quits, the other problems will remain.

So take a 2-pronged attack. Check out whatever options you may have to seek redress from your present employer due to this intolerable situation. At the same time, seek employment elsewhere.

Featherlou, before you give up entirely (and I can see why you would want to) give the HR route a try. I too, work for a megacorp, and one thing that I have discovered is that HR in a big company can sometimes be completely autonomous. Your bosses may not be willing to help you, but HR might. If that doesn’t work - well…accounting is a skill that’s nice and transferable…

Is it my imagination, or is every example in this thread relating a woman who is the bully?

Is this what most people are seeing out there? Notwithstanding the Canadian Safety Council’s assertion that a bully is just as likely to be a man as a woman, I’m interested in the doper’s experience here.

I’ve seen this in the workplace also, and it has always been a woman who was the bully. I’ve spoken to women who have also said they’ve had problems with women only. Is this a product of an insecure female professional who needs to hide her inadequacies with bad behavior? Are women forced to “prove themselves” in a different manner than men and therefore act aggresively if they want to get ahead? Do HR organizations shy away from discipine because it’s easier to ignore it and hope it goes away (by either the bully quiting or more than likely the target leaving)?

I’m not bashing women. I find working with women really no different than men. Talent isn’t determined by gender. But I also have noticed a trend, both in personal experience and this thread.

Note: I’m also not speaking about sexual harrassment. I understand that this is usually a man harrassing a woman. What I’m speaking about is bullying behavior that seems to be directed by a woman to a man or a woman in the workplace.

So how about it, dopers?

Hmm, a concealed closed-circuit camera in Accounting so they can see exactly what is going on in here. That would be marvelous. No more “she said/she said.”
(ps - Tatiana, I would love to tell you the name of the company I’m working for here in Calgary, so you and your friends and relatives can avoid ever working for them.)