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So I recently left a job where I was being bullied pretty badly. Now I've found a better job, and I'm happy I left, but I'm wondering whether I should lodge a complaint against the manager who acted so unprofessionally.

At the time I didn't because I didn't think anyone would care. HR, more or less, told us at induction that we wouldn't be supported if we complained about a higher-up abusing their power. I did try to talk with the manager, and tell him that I felt people were losing morale over his actions. But he just steamrolled me, told me I was wrong, and then punished me for it later on.

But now that I'm gone, and don't have to worry about it biting me in the behind, I've been thinking of sending an email to one of the directors in the department. We got on quite well, and I think he would believe me.

That said, I'm worried it will end up only hurting the people I worked with. I've already heard that this manager has targeted someone else, making their life hell. So would this be just a case of stirring up a hornets nest? Would it just make the lives of my former team-mates worse? I know of other complaints of bullying just being swept under the carpet, even the person being bullied getting let go.

So I just don't know whether it's worth it. Should I just let this go and move on, or try to do something about it?

  • 3
    I don't remember the exact words but it was around the lines of "if you have a problem with a manager, and report it to HR, then it's a case of he said/she said. And we'll be looking at who is more trustworthy. A manager who has been there for years or a new employee who is just in the door". – cognizant Jul 18 at 10:58
  • I was there for around 2 years. You're probably right. It's hard letting such injustice go, but getting involved won't help anyone. Thanks for your reply. – cognizant Jul 18 at 11:03
  • No. The only person I know who after being bully severely, tried to really challenge the abuse ended up getting dragged through the mud. Their reputation was ruined and they had to leave. – cognizant Jul 18 at 11:07
  • This sounds entirely like a cultural problem at the company and likely stems from the top. Just get out and move on like you did. If they're not doing anything illegal then there is no reason for any sort of authority to step in. You can write online reviews about the company and hope that they fizzle away due to employee attrition and retention issues. – MonkeyZeus Jul 18 at 18:35
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    @cognizant "then it's a case of he said/she said" - Yes, but - you lodge an incident, and nothing happens, because he said/she said. The next person raises an issue, and now there's a history, and HR can begin to take notice. But if nobody ever says anything, bullies can persist indefinitely. – Don Branson Jul 18 at 18:56
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At the time I didn't because I didn't think anyone would care. HR, more or less, told us at induction that we wouldn't be supported if we complained about a higher up abusing their power.

But now that I'm gone, and don't have to worry about it biting me in the behind, I've been thinking of sending an email to one of the directors in the department.

The time to do something about a problem in your workplace was when you were working there. It's unlikely that this director is completely in the dark. And you seem to imply that HR already knows and won't do anything.

"if you have a problem with a manager, and report it to HR, then it's a case of he said/she said. And we'll be looking at who is more trustworthy. A manager who has been there for years or a new employee who is just in the door" - tells me that they would trust an ex-employee's word even less.

That said, I'm worried it will end up only hurting the people I worked with. I've already heard that this manager has targeted someone else, and making their lives hell. So would this be just a case of stirring up the hornets nest. Would it just make the lives of my former team-mates worse? I know of other complaints of bullying just being swept under the carpet, even the person being bullied getting left go.

If your assessment is correct, you would indeed be hurting your former coworkers.

So I just don't know if it's worth it. If I should just let this go and move on, or try to do something about it.

If the company didn't care about this manager before, they are extremely unlikely to care just because of complaints by former employees.

At best, whatever you say would be dismissed as the complaints of someone who doesn't even work there any longer. At worst, it would bring trouble down on your former coworkers.

Let it go.

7

It's never too late to report serious inappropriate behavior, especially if it rises to the level of abuse and is persisting.

There are a number of potential organizations to appeal to (including your previous firm's HR team or the organization leadership), depending on your objectives and the specifics of this individual's behavior. All of them understand that reporting an incident at the time, while it may have been the right thing to do, isn't always feasible or safe for a subject of bullying or abuse.

If you feel like it is important for an authority or responsible party to be aware of your experience and observations, you might consider several alternatives:

  1. Contact the director. Perhaps you can reach out over email, but I would be sure any substantive discussion of the issues you experienced and are observing now is in person or over the phone. Phone or in-person is best since your tone will be well understood and it gives the director an opportunity to clarify what he/she wants to understand accurately.

  2. Alert the HR team. You may or may not have gone through an exit interview. It's fine to reach back out to the same HR team members who processed your departure and let them know you have additional information that you think they should be aware of.

  3. Alert a local labor advocate. Most localities have an organization that actively works to protect and advance the interests of workers. Let your local labor advocate know what you experienced and observed - they will both be able to advise you on what you should do and possibly investigate or confront your employer. You may or may not be able to make anonymous reports.

  4. Support your past colleague. You mentioned another individual is receiving the brunt of your past manager's attacks. You could reach out to them with an offer to discuss your own experience and hear about what he/she is experiencing now.

  5. Do nothing. Nothing obligates you to report what you experienced. There is nothing wrong with letting it go and moving on.

In making your decision about what to do, you might talk with a trusted friend or confidant. A trusted individual can help you process your thoughts and give you an opportunity to rehearse any conversations.

I'm sorry that you've had to work with a person who behaves so poorly. I hope you find only friendliness and caring in your future places of work.

  • 2
    Thanks for the input Jay. I think I will have to let it go. Writing this, and responding to others has made me realize that I'm just frustrated over what happened. I will try to support my past colleagues. I've helped one of them get an interview for a similar position in another company. Hopefully he can move onto better things. And thanks for all your kind words. :) – cognizant Jul 18 at 11:12
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    I really like the tone in your answer Jay. While we are not aware of OP's locale, I really wish there are "effective" labor advocate organizations that can curb such abuses. – Nimesh Neema Jul 18 at 11:29
3

Don't report it to the company officials, especially by revealing your identity

Practical advise would be to not do it. From your description it's apparent that the higher ups are likely aware of the happenings and have given a blind eye to it.

You are not going to be reporting this to an external authority, as it isn't a criminal offence. You need to think about the pros and cons for yourself after you report this to one of the company members.

While you may not personally gain any benefit by reporting, you may end up hanging a metaphorical sword on your head. You may severely lose the ability to get any needed assistance from the company in future (any required references, background checks, paperwork etc.).

An anonymous feedback would be equally or further moot as it could simply be dismissed as being an incorrect accusation or a rant by a rogue employee.

Now I've found a better job, and I'm happy I left

You should be thankful now that you have dodged the bullet.

HR, more or less, told us at induction that we wouldn't be supported if we complained about a higher up abusing their power. I did try to talk with the manager, and tell him that I felt people were loosing morale over his actions. But he just steamrolled me, told me I was wrong, and then punished me for it later on.

This clearly hints that no heed will be paid to your complaints, especially more so since you are no longer employed in the company.

Would it just make the lives of my former team-mates worse?

It could. If somehow it reaches to your manager, it may stir him up.

So I just don't know if it's worth it. If I should just let this go and move on, or try to do something about it.

It's understandable how you may be feeling about it. You can counter it by:

  • advising appropriately to people seeking review of the company from you.

  • leaving an anonymous review of the company work culture on one of the review websites.

  • 1
    Yes, you make some fair points. I'm frustrated that this person can use their authority to treat others badly. And there's little I can do about it. There was so many things I enjoyed about working at the job, and I only left because of the bullying. And now the former team members who were friendly, kind, and helpful still have to put up with it. But the only thing I can do is warn others away from the place, and support those team mates in finding other jobs. Thanks for your reply. – cognizant Jul 18 at 11:02
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    @cognizant There is truth in the saying that people leave managers, not jobs. – Niko1978 Jul 18 at 13:23
1

I'm not a lawyer but I was in a similar situation many years ago. You could it mark down to experience but I suspect, as with any case or abuse, it has a profound emotional echo on you today.

I personally think that depending on your part of the world you see if you can go down a legal route to hold the company, the culture and the manager accountable. After I left my job I read this book. It helped get everything into a lot of perspective and understand the toxic dynamics playing themselves out.

I personally, wouldn't speak to the Director, it's a total waste of your time. The culture is set in place to protect the systematic abuse. To be honest the manager sounds like he/she has some sort of anti social behaviour disorder.

That said, I'm worried it will end up only hurting the people I worked with. I've already heard that this manager has targeted someone else, making their life hell. So would this be just a case of stirring up a hornets nest? Would it just make the lives of my former team-mates worse? I know of other complaints of bullying just being swept under the carpet, even the person being bullied getting let go

You've proven this organisation is highly toxic and will leave a trail victims who feel scarred by the experience past and current . The company has put itself in a highly dangerous position for legal action should these victims choose to sue the company.

In the UK if someone is forced to leave a job due to harassment/ bullying it can be construed as 'constructive dismissal' click here to find a definition. I don't know if any type of law like that exist in your part of the world but there laws to protect employees for a reason.
We have organisations such as ACAS who give free employee confidential advice and help for any working situation (ACAS will only go to a legal route at the client's discretion).

Personally, I would reach out to my former colleagues even if its only to advise they do have options and external help that is available to them. They can make diary of incidents, dates, conversations, emails etc to show a pattern of behaviour of abuse perpetrated and systematic cover up by the company to protect the abuser. No such thing as the truth only what you can prove! If people collectively show similar or same targeting/harassment/coercion/bullying/cover ups it will extremely difficult for the company to defend.

If they want to do that great. If they don't that's fine too. They have to take responsibility for their own well being.

You have your new job and you're free of that place.

If you don't want to go down an advisory or legal route consider speaking to a career coach or a therapist to make sense of what you experienced and then move on from it.

All the best.

  • 1
    Thanks for the comment. I'm in Ireland actually, and we do have the same sort of organizations here. The only problem with going down that route is that I was a contractor. So while I was doing 40 hours a week in that company, I wasn't technically employed by them. I think I'll just have to mark it down to experience, unfortunately. And just be glad where I'm working now has a much better environment. – cognizant Jul 18 at 11:32
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    Hi @cognizant I'm a contractor too. So I hear you, but frankly It really doesn't make any difference as a permie or an contractor. The organisation has a legal duty of care to for your physical and emotional well being. In my personal opinion, that puts us in a better position because we are able to objectively observe the behaviour of the organisational culture and how it affects permie or contract staff. If you have suffered working a contractor you still have legal rights to protect you. As you working and carrying out tasks for the benefit of the organisation. – fypnlp Jul 18 at 11:46
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    and the add @cognizant I would still contact ACAS regardless to find out what my legal position was because that was not cool and NOT ok! You may not have constructive dismal (you the permie colleagues will) but have legal rights to prevent harassment at work. Anyway. I updated to link for amazon. UK. Congrats on getting out of that nightmare situation. FORWARD THIS QUESTION TO YOUR FORMER COLLEAGUES!! – fypnlp Jul 18 at 11:48
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I would not report it to the company directly, not to that director you know or otherwise. What you can do is on a site like Glassdoor.com describe your experiences and thus warn potential future employees of that company.

0

IMHO,

Depending on your location, you can go damages claim for mental health impact

But you would need a documentation to prove bullying and psychotherapist letter, supporting the damage.

Otherwise, anonymous review on the person / company culture in social media and work search platforms is your only recourse

-5

Don't be a rat.

It always catches up to you, and you never want that following you around.

This is twice as bad because not only ar you gonna be a rat, your gonna rat someone out after you left. Let it drop, and if it happens again, stand up to the bully instead of running.

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