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Help with Tricky Work Situation!
Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace


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#1 laura7

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

I would appreciate some input  from EB members about a tricky, work-related situation I find myself in.  Here goes:

I started a new job when DD was 4 months old.  I gave it considerable thought at the time and thought that it was "do-able"- 2 set days per week with some extra days and an on-call component.  At the time  DH wasn't working a great deal so it seemed ideal.  Anyway, from the time DD was 2 months old I began expressing, getting her used to having a bottle and orientating her into the local day car centre.  

Anyway, all went incredibly well, even better than I anticipated, until about 4 months when the Manager announced that he was retiring, and another staff member also left.  One of my colleagues began acting in the managerial role until a suitable replacement could be found.  She had initially applied and deemed unsuitable for this position on a permanent basis (no past management experience).  Any way months go by and due to the paucity of applicants she is given the role.

The person whom I replaced gave me lots of advice re this person such as "don't trust her" and words to that affect, however due to my nature and the fact that I didn't have any specific grievances disregarded his advice.  Well no sooner than she was in the job she began berating me, putting me down behind my back and suggesting that I was unreliable if I had a sick day if either of my children were unwell.  She also talks about other staff members behind their backs  and generally sets about making the work situation toxic.  Yes I felt bullied and harassed!  DH has been begging me to leave for ages.

For some time I have thought about resigning even though the hours of this job were generally ideal and I was working in an area that I loved and had considerable experience in.  After much thought I decided against it (primarily because of financial reasons) instead organised an additional one day per week job elsewhere to gain a bit of perspective and enrolled in a part time course to give me some long term options.

So I go on leave two weeks ago.  Manager goes to me "Have a nice holiday", "Where are you going?" etc and generally insincere platitudes such as this.  I get back from our family holiday and there is a letter waiting for me from head office requesting a formal meeting to discuss my workplace conduct and performance.  To say I was shattered would be a huge understatement .  Anyway the meeting was scheduled for while I was still on leave so my DH rang up to cancel it (he volunteered).  At this point i couldn't stop shaking. Four days have gone passed and I am still preoccupied with this (sleep severely affected) and I still don't know what to do-I'm not usually indecisive.  I'm due to return on Monday.  I am not in a union and I know that if I were to join would not help me as the letter predates my joining.  I feel I have no other option to resign and feel very hurt and angry-especially as my conduct has been called into question.  As it's too late to submit a resignation letter I feel sick with dread about going on Monday.  Any  constructive ideas anyone?  What would you do?  I don't want to discuss it with DH anymore as he has a tendency to say "told you so" which in this case is not constructive!

#2 fifi-trixibelle

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

Not sure this is baby names?

#3 dessiesgirl

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:48 PM

You walk in with your head held high, waving the letter around, look your boss straight in the eye and ask if now is a convenient time for the meeting you were advised about. Join your union anyway - they may help, I'm not sure. In any case, you are entitled to have a support person with you at any disciplinary meeting, so ask a co-worker to come with you, as a witness.

And take notes. Then write or email your boss with a summary of what has been said by both sides, so there is no room for lies or misunderstandings at any later date. Ask for specific examples of the unsatisfactory cobduct referred to in the letter, and ask why it hasn't been addressed before.

Don't take any crap - you've done nothing wrong!

Edited by dessiesgirl, 17 January 2013 - 04:53 PM.


#4 PrincessPeach

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:52 PM

Do not resign!

I'd go to the meeting & find out what exactly it is they have an issue with. They should give you an opportunity to discuss your side of the issue. If they don't, i am sure fair work australia should be able to help you out.

#5 mollybot

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

Deep breath.

Gather your wits and your resolve, go in on Monday and tell them that you will need any problems that they may have had with your performance in writing so that you have time to address them.

TELL them that the meeting will have to be rescheduled for at least a week's time. Refuse to have any meeting with them sooner. If pressed, tell them that you are a bit taken aback that they would do this while you are on holiday.

This will buy you time. If you are stressed out of your mind, go to your GP and tell them, they can write you a sick note for stress and this may come in handy later.

Ask yourself "Do I *need* to stay in this job for the money ?" if the money would be tight but copable, I'd walk away and go for work elsewhere.

Chin up, you've done nothing wrong ! Don't let her run you out of town !! Leave on your own terms, don't squeak in there on Monday and resign !!

#6 FiveAus

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

You have the right to have a support person in that type of meeting. They generally can't say anything but they can take notes and also witness what's being said between management and you.
Is there someone at work, maybe in a different department, who you like and could act as your support person?

Also, contact Fair Work Australia and ask their advice.

#7 elmo_mum

Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

you can still join the union... and they will still help you!!!

they may want a bit of back pay fees, but they will still help you out!!!!

#8 DM. 2012

Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:04 PM

You can join your union. I had an issue at work and joined the union and they helped me out. Don't be too quick to quit your job, if other people are having issues with this manager then perhaps they could voice their concerns with the union too. You have a right to bring a support person into the meeting with you, but you have to let your manager know about this in advance.

Have a list ready for any issues you many want to bring up, be sure to make sure they voiced in a professional manner. Also, if you have an idea of the things she may bring up, have some rebuttals and explanations prepared.

At my work we managed to get department manager to quit (wel HR told us it was a "mutual" decision") by collectively submitting complaints about her to our HR department.  As one of the union quotes say "the workers, united, wil never be defeated".

#9 12 Poobahs of Xmas

Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:07 PM

Have you actually spoken to the union, or are you assuming they won't help? Most will help someone in your situation, I've known of two completely disparate situations (different workplaces and very different unions) where they've been more than happy to help non members in cases such as yours.

Please give them a call if you haven't already.

#10 password123

Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

Definitely don't quit. Pps have given great advice about arming yourself with a support person and documenting what their "complaints" are. Please seek union advice.


#11 laura7

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:51 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies.  Looks like I have some serious thinking to do and I'll just have to psych my self up for Monday  sad.gif




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