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Workplace Bullying

RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
Workplace bullying of disabled staff is a very  real problem which is rarely addressed by management who would rather cover it up than stop the bullying. As someone who is disabled I already have more than enough to cope with in managing my health problems, dealing with the side affects of my medication and generally trying to make the best out of my situation. However, being bullied at work for many years was not helpful, needed and was not something I welcomed but unfortunately nothing was done about it and I have ended up with more health issues that I neither wanted, required or asked for as a result. In my case the bully took great pleasure in bullying me especially since they knew that management couldn’t touch them because they would make false complaints about them. Unfortunately disability discrimination in the workplace is rife and it can destroy someone’s life because the person being bullied is alone, not supported by colleagues who are either scared of the bully, scared that the bully will make vexatious complaints about them or prefer to bury their head in the sand. I suspect many disabled people who want to work resign because of workplace bullying and it is something which needs to be highlighted because sometimes this protected characteristic is forgotten about and being disabled is hard enough without the dread of going into work and knowing you have to face yet more abuse whilst nothing is done. I wish bullies would think before they choose what they deem to be an easy target before they start bullying and harassing someone who is disabled because bullying someone is a choice and can destroy someone’s life. 

Replies

  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 410 Pioneering
    Hi @RAwarrior, I think you’ve said it all, workplace bullying makes life hell especially for  people already coping with their disability. 
    Isnt there a whistleblower anonymous helpline for such problems?
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Thank you for your comments and support. Unfortunately I followed the formal grievance procedure giving a large number of examples and lots of witnesses none of which were interviewed. Management know the person is a bully as they have been bullying other staff for years but they are scared of the bully making vexatious complaints against them. Management chose to do nothing. I wish people would understand that there are long term effects when someone is bullied and harassed especially over a long period of time. My Rheumatologist was more worried about my mental state than my physical condition whilst I was being bullied! I only wanted to go to work to do a good job and earn a living. In my case the doctors have always said it is better for me to work and I do appreciate that this is not always the case if someone is disabled but in my case work was supposed to be better for me. What I did not bank on was the dread of going into work for fear of what I was going to face on a daily basis. I wish people would understand the legacy and long term effects that a disabled person can suffer from as a result of workplace bullying. It is not only the living nightmare whilst you are being bullied and harassed it is the fact that you can me left with mental health issues that you never had before. Some people assume that once the daily bullying stops then you should “move on” however, having no self esteem, being constantly on alert for fear of it happening again and feeling very alone are just some of consequences of condoning bullying because doing nothing is condoning it. I think people who think it is okay to target disabled people really need to think twice before they destroy someone’s life.
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Hi @RAwarrior, I too was in a similar situation around 9/10 years ago, its it a shocking experience and left me with long term health problems, I have a good go who helped me report the bullying and also my work union. It takes its toll and is certainly a very serious issue that sadly remains. i won at tribunal but the cost to my health was tremendously damaging. The tribunal said the bullying had been condoned sadly for far too long. I cannot legally name the company, however it was in the press, I do hope and pray you have legal help and if not, would advise you to firstly see HR then go from there. best wishes, keep safe and we are here  :)
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    I meant gp not go.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hi katho31,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I did seek advice from my trade union who were supportive and I did follow the formal grievance procedures, however, management did not uphold my grievance despite the overwhelming evidence and the  number of witnesses I named. It was clear that management had already decided not to uphold my grievance which I only raised through desperation. I was left with a choice whether or not to go to an Employment Tribunal. However, because of the drastic toll many years of bullying had taken on my health including weight loss, anxiety, depression, Insomnia and PTSD, I couldn’t face the long process of an Employment Tribunal. The bully is still employed but at another location but I have the constant fear that I will see them again. I learned a few months ago that the bully had physically attacked two members of staff about 20 years ago so as I see it they can’t touch the bully. Unfortunately the bully accuses anyone that tries to challenge their behaviour of racism which is completely untrue and does a real disservice to real victims of racism. A senior manager also told me they can’t touch the bully. My GP was horrified about the bullying and so was my Rheumatologist but until management tackle this person they will be allowed to continue harming others especially disabled staff which were the bully’s main targets. Although I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did ( and still am), I really wish bullies would think twice before targeting disabled people because it is far worse than perhaps targeting someone who is more able bodied and doesn’t have to live with a permanent illness and all the things which go along with it. On a positive note I am really glad that I have found this community forum with people that do understand what it means to be disabled and actually try to help others instead of harming them.
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Thanks @RAwarrior, you have certainly been through the mill and it is very upsetting to us here and the fact that its continuing is dreadful. Could you contact the national bullying helpline their number is 0845 22 55 787 its open mon-fri 9-5pm best wishes and keep posting if you feel like a chat or anything, I'm bit unwell at moment, sorry been long day ill be more able to post tomorrow, take care and your not alone  :)
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hi katho31,
    Thank you so much again for your kind words, information and support. I am glad that I don’t feel alone as I did when I was being bullied. I am that you are not feeling very well and I hope you feel better. Thank you so much for your reassurance. Take care of yourself.
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Anytime @RAwarrior :) tried to go to sleep but my body says no!! I am here and had pain relief so fine  :), how are you?
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    HI @katho31,
     I hope you are feeling better. I have this online community to be very helpful and I only joined yesterday. It’s great to be part of an online community that really does understand the difficulties which many disabled people face. Many thanks again.
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Hello ther @RAwarrior, yes im much better thank you  :) been doing my breathing exercises and got my neck massager on, hubby got me nice bunch of flowers, white roses so big smile on my face!! Im glad you are with us and it does help when your understood, we are all unique, lots of varying difficulties and illnesses, have you had a go at the name a food or drink using last letter game? its fun  :)
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hello @katho31,
    I’m glad you’re feeling better and what a lovely thought from your husband😁. 

    I recently bought a neck/back massager as I get a lot of muscular pain although I don’t generally suffer from back pain but I do get muscular pain in my neck and back probably as a result of my posture. I have Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, however, it’s interesting to learn about other disabilities. I used to go to a Rheumatoid Arthritis support group before the Covid 19 pandemic which really helped as patients, their families and friends could discuss their problems openly without being judged. Everyone in the group was able to share their stories and experiences. It also meant we were not alone and we were there to support each other.  It may sound strange but when the group started it became apparent that many patients had experienced exactly the same problems at work, in general and in particular had been on the receiving end of some very upsetting and unhelpful comments. Unfortunately there are a lot of myths and there is a lot of ignorance about Rheumatoid Arthritis which eventually I became immune to. I’m sure many people with other disabilities have encountered similar problems. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked if I have had a fall, if I have tried a special diet, if I have tried different vitamins
     (some of which are a big no no because they interact with the medication I take) and been told that I don’t look ill. This online community is a welcome change and hopefully I can learn about other disabilities and the problems people face whilst hopefully trying to make a useful contribution by trying to help other people. I find that actually trying to support and help each other can make a huge difference. In my case it can take the focus away from my own problems. I think it takes so much energy which many of us simply don’t have (as in my case fatigue is a huge part of RA ) to have to fight for basic things which can make someone’s life a bit easier when sometimes there is a straightforward solution. Thanks again for your support.😁
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Thank you so much @RAwarrior, very kind words again and its much appreciated  :) I adore white flowers and I've got them next to late mum and dads pictures  :) xx anyway, my condition is osteoarthritis of knees and ankles and fibromyalgia in neck, lower spine, stress does make it worsen, however lots of us have various coping strategies and its great to hear others and their ideas/and ways of dealing with many debilitating conditions, calming music, sounds of bird song, the waves in the sea, a plant blossoming a group of ducklings following their mother etc..and yes helping others when you think you can be of help, and yes lives hard enough without having the added anxiety of fighting for basic things, so happy your here with us  :) my fatigues hit me now, going to have lie down and be much more alert later!! best wishes and thank you also  :)
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 410 Pioneering
    Just bringing the thread back on topic.
    My penultimate job was awful due,to,one of the management team being a really bad bully. Unfortunately there was little or nothing which could be done about it due to his position and the way in which he cleverly bullied. He especially enjoyed denigrating  someone in public, much to the amusement of his cronies. The worst job of my life, I resigned after six months even though I needed the job. Sometimes self respect and self esteem are more important than money.
  • cupcake88cupcake88 Member Posts: 217 Pioneering
    @RAwarrior I’m really sorry you went threw this I have found this is many jobs since being disabled I’m currently taking my previous employer to tribunal for not only allowing work place bullying for happening , but also allowing the manager to also taught me and the owners as well . Now there prob regretting it and taking it more serious as we have a upcoming pre hearing and there going to have to explain there disgusting actions . 

    I would deffo raise grievance they don’t usually take that serious ,  I mean I have known people to take there employer to tribunal while still working there . I do have a lot of edvidence against the respondent , always best to try and collect at much edvidence as you can. 

    It’s so stress having to go threw this process but at least they will have to face up to there actions and they will know I’m not messing about .
    i think it’s important there employers learn that we as disabled people aren’t going to tolerate there crap .

    @[email protected] im also sorry you went threw this to your so nice and don’t deserve that treatment either xx
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hi @leeCal,
    Unfortunately this person is what I would call a serial bully who has just been moved to different locations for years instead of being sacked. Unfortunately I have been employed for many years and I didn’t suffer from PTSD until the bully was moved to my workplace and started bullying and harassing myself and other disabled people almost immediately. As I have said in previous posts I found out recently that they had physically attacked two other members of staff years ago so there was no point in me challenging the behaviour because what chance did I have? The bully was one of my peers. It is not acceptable when a senior manager says that they can’t touch the bully. I tried to avoid any contact with the bully once I heard that but the bullying got even worse because they didn’t like the fact that I didn’t want to have anything to do with them for very good reason. Bullies like to believe they are in control and hate it if someone stops talking to them but who wants to talk to someone who ridicules them on a daily basis?  The bully used to run to the manager making false complaints about everyone and unfortunately the manager did nothing.
    Unfortunately a common trait of a bully is to blame the person they have chosen to bully which is exactly what happened. 
    My only hope is that someone has the strength to go to an Employment Tribunal when the bully does it again. I am sorry that you were also bullied and many thanks for your support. As I said before this is the only forum I have ever joined and I have been given the opportunity to highlight something which is a massive problem and a huge barrier to disabled people remaining in work.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hi @cupcake88
    Thank you so much for your support and kind words. Good luck with your employment tribunal and I am so glad you have the courage to go to a tribunal. I hope you win and it will then be in the public domain for everyone to see as the culprits will be named.

     I raised a formal grievance which contained so much evidence (pages of examples)  and I named many witnesses which they did not bother to even interview, however, it was not upheld and I no action was taken. I believe that management had decided to cover it up at the beginning because if they upheld it they would have had to dismiss the bully. The bully also accused anyone who challenged them of racism which was completely untrue as people did not like the bully’s behaviour and it had nothing to do with race. I believe this was part of the reason the bullying was allowed to continue and the irony is that the bully used to make racist remarks themselves which I and several others witnessed yet they accused other people of racism. It made me feel like I didn’t matter because management were terrified that the bully would say they were racist so did nothing at the expense of my health.
    Unfortunately I am out of time to go to an ET and I chose not to challenge the grievance not being upheld because my health couldn’t sustain anymore stress. Unfortunately I have to live with having PTSD and as I have said in my other posts I have tried to find coping mechanisms but unfortunately it never really goes away. Many people don’t understand what PTSD means and just say “you need to move on”. I didn’t know much about PTSD but one of the main problems is flashbacks. I could be in a coffee shop (pre-Covid 19) and see someone who looks like the bully and start to panic. The bully used to sit there and laugh after they had insulted me and it was condoned. The bully always said they were the victim and never the cause. I have to try to see the bully as weak and a coward for choosing to pick on someone in poor health as most people with RA will tell you it is a serious illness. I take no interest in any disability issues at work because they mean nothing to me now.
    Many thanks again😁
  • cupcake88cupcake88 Member Posts: 217 Pioneering
    Are you still working there ? Because you could still start legal proceedings against them it has to be with 3 months of it last taking place . Yeh they deffo admit as there’s showing guilt . I’m quite confident and like you said it would be public for all to see that’s if I win or don’t I think they put it all online I was reading threw other peoples cases online and it’s interesting. I personally don’t want what happened to me all over the internet but the company have more to loose that my self they have done wrong and Even tho I may loose It’s the risk I’m prepared to take to stand up to bullies 
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 38 Courageous
    Hi @cupcake88,
     I think it would be published online under the Tribunals Service so people would have to specifically look for the tribunal’s decision on that website as far as I know but your legal representative would be able to advice you. Unfortunately I am out of time and I do still work there. The bully is at another location but I am always fearful that I will see them again.
    Many thanks again for your support😁
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