To see more stories on the WBI Forum, click here
We've learned the value of taking the long, detailed version
of our experiences (often a list of every incident) and condensing our stories into a brief summary for multiple uses. Legislators
will only read a paragraph or two; attorneys want the short version of what has happened to us; higher echalon personnel
want to hear the facts minus our emotional responses (we recognize the need to share our emotional responses in
a safe environment, away from the workplace). To help you with this process, we recommend a three concept paragraph.
Begin with an introductory sentence
of what kind of environment you work in and in what capacity (naming your employer is optional but not recommended, especially
if you still work there). Next, give three concrete examples (one or two sentences each) of situations you want to describe.
Finally, use your closing sentence to summarize and include the fiscal impact or estimated cost of the situation in dollars
to you, to your employer, and to the general public ie tax payers.The following true stories are examples of how to share
your story. "The names have been changed to protect the innocent", just like in the old "Dragnet" show:
When working in accounting
and HR at a Palo Alto tech company, I was relentlessly harassed and bullied by my younger,
female supervisor. I was humiliated daily, in front of coworkers, over mistakes that she, herself had made. She assigned
time sensitive tasks to me without critical access to required resources, all while she
received awards for my accomplishments that she took credit for.
I was ultimately terminated, after 18 months, despite breaking
company records for collections ($1.3M in 1 month) and while grieving my father’s
passing overseas. I am left broke and with several diagnosed stress-related health issues
resulting from internalizing my abuse, all in order to keep my job during a national recession. Five years (and 2 college
degrees) later, I remain unemployed. It is difficult to honestly and acceptably explain
why I left my former position.
I am unable to seek any legal recourse for my losses because my harassment, however
damaging, was not the result of my being a member of any legally protected classes. ------Violet,
Another Target of Workplace Bullying:
Before it happened to me, I used to think that employees who were given a hard
time by their bosses probably deserved it. As long as I worked hard and took pride in my work, I had nothing
to worry about. I was wrong. I became a target shortly after a co-worker made a false
allegation against me. My manager began a campaign to drive me out of the workplace by replacing my duties
with menial tasks, denying time off, refusing to speak to me except to reprimand, writing me up for minor and contrived infractions,
sabotaging my work, enlisting others to monitor and criticize my work, and physically intimidating me. I
am still hanging on after several months because I cannot afford to quit and job prospects are slim in this economy.
No one in a civilized society should have to endure such mistreatment to earn
a living. Krystal
A Federal Police Officer...
Like many folks, I would have never imagined
that this would happen to me. I am a federal police officer. I recently transferred to a new position. I would have never believed that I would become a target.
After a year of stress I am currently trying to resign and move on with my life. Even that task has been opposed by my bully
supervisor. He wants to teach me a lesson by firing me. I had to hire a lawyer to resign. I'll find out next week if I can
resign. Note I have been with the same department for 28 years without any issues until now. I had to seek counseling for
stress and I came close to losing my family. Every morning I wake up and say to myself that I can't believe
this happening. This has truly been a nightmare. Trevor
An English Teacher...
am an English teacher, injured by an abusive school superintendent. He was a serial bully who practiced
psychological violence with impunity. Within 10 months my bully dismantled my successful
20-year career working with immigrant students. I was stalked, physically threatened, and terrified by
this man who stripped me of my First Amendment Rights. I was given an arduous workload and treated differently
from my colleagues. I was an outstanding educator. I am now disabled with Post-traumatic
Stress Disorder. My PTSD has converted to myoclonus, the involuntary contraction of voluntary muscles.
Under normal stress I become spastic and my speech becomes distorted by stutters, slurs, and tremors. After
7 years of painful litigation, I was awarded $150,000 for Worker's Compensaton with no “hush clause.”
My Freedom of Speech is not for sale. I am a shadow of my former self, but I work voluntarily as
an advocate for other targets and an activist for legislation to promote a bully free work environment for us all. This
bill would compel employers to finally recognize and stop work abuse which is presently
legal and ignored in our culture. Shirley, A Disabled Teacher
Worked for the largest private University...
While working for the world’s largest private university for over 5 years, I observed
and experienced exploitation, bullying, and systematic discouragement as a way of doing business. After
being lured by false promises, “Come early, stay late” (and you’ll earn a lot more money), and finding it
to be a lie, I launched a class action lawsuit to be paid overtime for the extra hours we all worked. The lawsuit took two
years to settle, but then, within weeks after the company settled out of court and agreed to pay overtime nationwide,
I was “released from my employ”. I was under the care of a therapist for over a year,
spent 3 months out on medical leave, and battled depression as I put my life back together and found other employment. A conservative
estimate of cost in legal fees, medical expenses, and lost company income equals $562,500 with personal cost of over $10,000
to me. I am so glad I found the California
Healthy Workplace Advocates to help support legislation to stop this kind of treatment.
We all deserve a bully
Worked for a HUGE, well known clothing manufacturer...
At age 59 and single, I became unemployed from my 13-year
job with a highly credible and respected clothing manufacturer – an icon in the apparel industry. I'd
worked my way up in Product Management to a team position responsible for generating a third of the company’s
annual revenues. My performance and strong work ethic established me a favorable reputation among
peers and upper management. In 2000 I became the target of a psychologically violent supervisor with a known history of bullying. I immediately reported the first incident to my manager, to HR, and to
the company nurse. In retaliation my bully
gave me an arduous workload, redefined my training, denied me training, and created false disciplinary action and performance
evaluations for 2.5 years that were contradictory to my professional behavior and credibility. I was discriminated
against, treated differently, and isolated from my peers. My psychological and physical well being deteriorated. After 10.5
years as a valued employee, I became documented as unprofessional, a poor performer, unable to meet expected standards, and
unable to get along with others. In 2003 I was WRONGFULLY terminated and unemployed for 1.5 years. My financial stability
and medical coverage were threatened, as my health needs dramatically increased. I continue intensive, one-on-one and group
therapy as I try to resolve issues of depression, anger, fear, humiliation, guilt and shattered self-esteem. Participation
in group therapy sessions brought me face to face with countless other working people unprotected from legal recourse, suffering,
and dealing with harassment in the workplace. I am shocked at how common work abuse really
is. Sadly, Lilah
a bad review until...
To make a long story short, I have been ostracized, criticized, bullied, brow beat, had accusations levied
against me and then told I could not go in search of the truth. I’ve been lied to by my supervisor and other sworn
personnel, but then it’s only my word against theirs. I have brought up safety issues in public buildings along
with many other items, presented them to my supervisor in the form of an email, only to never receive an answer. When
liability issues and the amount of work I was attempting to handle began to have an effect on my physical and emotional well
being, I began seeing a psychologist. My evaluation/step increase was withheld for 5 ½ months and then after I kept
pressing the issue, I received an evaluation that reads more like a character assassination. My 2 prior evaluations
from my previous supervisor’s had been stellar. I also had been awarded employee of the month and given a special
award by my peers for dedication to my profession. The fact is some people are corrupted by power and if there are no
viable avenues of protection against the unethical abuse of power, individuals and organizations will continue to suffer
in innumerable ways. We need legislation to protect us. Steven
A California State Employee:
I am a
prior state employee, constructively discharged in 2004 for "Whistle blowing" on a state department. A
racial comment was made about me to a coworker; after I approached my supervisor about the comment, she began blocking
assignments. Management labeled me an "outcast" and coworkers began ostracizing me. I wrote to the "chain
of command," asking for assistance but continued to be shunned by management. After several requests to be
transferred from the department, management moved me to another supervisor in the same bureau, who continued bullying
attacks! I interviewed for another division, was offered a position, but the manager slandered me to
the hiring department head, who then withdrew the position. The work environment became so unbearably hostile my only
recourse was to leave. To make matters worse, I became privy to fraudulent activities
amounting to hundreds of thousand of dollars. Management tried to hold me accountable for a 5 million dollar error
that had a derogatory affect on the neediest of Californians, but I refused to participate. I tried to reinstate,
but am blocked to due to a negative evaluation in my personnel file. To date, no department will
hire me. In my opinion, the state needs to address the mismanagement in state government agencies, as no
one is "managing the managers." Lynn
Still this Devastating
Bullying Trend Continues... I'm glad to know that there is a grass-roots organization formed
to combat this kind of abuse.
Cost to employer:
Loss of untapped talent that
could potentially correct internal flaws in workflow and increase productivity; failure to retain people of integrity, people who actually
do their jobs. Inaccuracy in accounting measures, which translates into loss for both the customer and at the bottom line. Competitive advantage lost in
the global market.
Cost to target: A fragmented resume inaccurately reflecting stability and work ethics of a potential employee; loss of employability based on slander and liable that
Bullies get away with. Talent and career path is stifled because of bully’s
insecurities, therefore loss of potential income