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I have been a victim of workplace bullying for over 4 years. My supervisor goes to people and tells them I am rude and anti-social. He did this to me on my 2nd week of starting and told me a colleague who is now one of my best mates in the company was a "bad communicator". I myself think this is ridiculous and my friends and family do too.

Because he has been with the company for 20+ years and is charming and well liked, he is believed and he has destroyed my reputation through lies.

What I want to know is, can I use my other non-verbal interactions with colleagues (i.e. skype messages and email) to show I am not this monster they think I am? I mean when I approach someone face to face I always say hi or hello and talk to them with respect.

Background:

I work for an automotive company (a major one) and I'm a development technician. It all started when I overheard him and another one of the bullies slagging me off calling me a fat c**t and from what it sounded like they were in cahoots to get me fired. I reported this to mine and his supervisor at the time which basically said he didn't believe me and that he wouldnt say something like that (I have it on recording). From here on I was systematically mobbed, I had snot wiped on my paperwork, dead flies put in my coffee cup, constant stares and laughing & criticised for the smallest things.

So I'm basically known as a troublemaker for standing up for myself. My union rep told me I was being mobbed which I looked up and according to the 5 stages I'm at stage 4 very close to stage 5. I have many recordings of peoples lies and bulls**t for my own sanity.

Why I have let this go on for 4 years is (1) I enjoy the job (2) It pays well and (3) I don't give in to bullies. I have a recording of the main bully saying I am doing a good job and deserve promotion in April 2019 and behind my back he says I'm incompetent, stupid and shouldnt be here.

  • Are still actually getting raises and promotions despite the bullying? Who was the main bully speaking to when they said you deserved a raise? – BSMP Sep 28 '18 at 17:23
  • Thank you to everyone for the comments. I am from the north east of England so there is little opportunity up here to move on, especially in my field and my family and friends are here so moving south would be difficult. Recording what people are saying might sound odd to some but the mind games these people play messes with your head. Regarding promotion, I applied for a lead tech position which I carefully went through the duties of the role to prove my capability. After I applied I saw an email from the main bully to the eng manager saying we don't need someone for this role anymore. – Kenny Barber Sep 29 '18 at 13:46
  • He took me into a room and said we are not recruiting a lead tech anymore and went on to explain that he spoke to the eng manager about the good job I was doing and they said I would be getting moved up a grade in April then 2 grades the following April to lead tech. He told me I had to meet the requirements for moving up a grade. I believe these requirements are bogus because they are tasks that engineers would do, not a low grade tech telling me I'm being setup to fail. A good friend of mine has been a tech for less than 2 years, has no degree in electronics and little understanding of it. – Kenny Barber Sep 29 '18 at 13:58
  • .....yet he has been tapped for a test engineer role in April. He has been given no tasks to meet and effectivly will be above me even though he has to come for me for help alot. The main bully knows he's a good friend of mine thats why he is giving him the test eng role, He did the same with another tech who was promoted to a senior tech with little experience and was a good friend until he manipulated him and he started being a jerk. The main bully would get him to give me meanial work and then stand laughing at me (I wanted to punch the pair of them). – Kenny Barber Sep 29 '18 at 14:04
  • In England there are a couple of cases where employees recorded meetings with their managers without their consent and the recording was used in court. As long as you record a conversation in which you are present, it can be used. If I was you I would buy equipment and record everything. – tst Sep 30 '18 at 17:00
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I had snot wiped on my paperwork, dead flies put in my coffee cup, constant stares and laughing & criticised for the smallest things.

What you are describing is not simple bullying, it is harassment. If you have already contacted HR and your union without resolution, you need to talk to a lawyer.

I am not a lawyer, but here is my advice. Please take it with a grain of salt and look up the laws in your area.

  1. Compile evidence of abuse. If you are in the US, check if your state allows one sided audio recordings. Take pictures of the flies and similar abuses. Keep the papers that have biological attacks.
  2. CYA. Print emails of every interaction with HR, your supervisor, and your union.
  3. Talk to a lawyer. If you are in a country with labor laws, this kind of harassment is almost certainly covered.

As always, be careful. If your coworkers are this aggressive there is no telling what they are willing to do. I would avoid confronting the coworkers directly at all cost.

[Edit]

I realized that I never answered your actual question. Per SE's spirit, here is my answer to your original question of how to improve your reputation:

Keep being friendly. Greet people, ask about their weekends, and express interest in their hobbies. For the work side of things, try practicing open body language and sitting in a centralized location in meetings. Even if you are not ready to be active in the meeting, appearances go a long way. The book, "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie is a popular guide on human interactions.

In general, the best way to change people's perception of you is by showing them. My favorite way to "show" people that I am friendly is by bringing in food every couple weeks (bonus points if you baked it!). Try to remember people's favorites and bring that in next time.

Through all this, please take my original advice and talk to a lawyer. This is deeply troubling behavior by your colleagues and it should not be dismissed.

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I'm in a similar situation and I admire you for sticking around for 4 years. I would never manage.

At the same time, what you describe as the advantages of your job are things you can find elsewhere. You can find a good-paying interesting job with people who aren't horrible.

I opened a similar thread on another forum some time ago and I remember one reply very well. The person wrote: "Bullying is an interesting phenomenon. The bully and the bullied can't live without each other although they claim to hate each other".

I think there's a lot of truth in it.

  • You can leave your position. If your current job is well-paying you have probably accumulated a bit of money to sustain you even if you quit cold-turkey, without having found another job.
  • You seem to have work experience - at least 4 years, which is quite a bit. This makes your job search much easier
  • You stayed at your current job for 4 years, so nobody will call you a job-hopper what wanting a change.

Instead, you are thinking about how you could convince your coworkers you're not a monster.

The answer is: you don't. You apply like crazy and leave this toxic culture.

You don't try to repair things which can't be repaired.

There's really only this one solution to your problem unless you enjoy being victimized.

Choosing to leave an abusive relationship is not "giving in". Would you advise a friend who is being abused by his/her boyfriend/girlfriend to stay in a relationship because getting out means giving in?

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  • 3
    I don't think most of the bullied need their bullys but bullys definitely need victims, which is why the OP should not be certain they'll get fired. Right now the bully is getting exactly what they want: an employee that performs well that they can still treat like crap. – BSMP Sep 28 '18 at 17:39
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Its time for a Change

New Job, new colleagues

I think in this case it extremely important to know your location.

Given US or Canada laws, very likely you have a legal recourse with place of work and or coworkers. No matter how strong and unaffected by it you are, it is in human nature to be affected by bullying, especially for a long time.

Wouldn`t wait until it gets to a shotgun visit to the workplace stage

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