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I was promoted to a new position in a new place with a new team three years ago. I was assigned to assist and take over leadership of part of the workload of a coworker. The coworker became jealous. He yelled at a senior person for giving me funding in front of a wide group. He refused to meet with me to discuss the policy for the work assignment for over five months. When we finally met I confronted him about avoiding me and said I knew he was moving forward on the work with involving me or giving me necessary information. He told me I got too personal and insulting and he did not have any response other than that. Three months later he said I didn’t deserve information or a plan and that the plan was that I should just ‘be ready’ and I should know that without being told. Three months later we finally talked about the policy and work and he yelled at me again saying I was trying take over his program and that I wasn’t capable. I talked to our supervisor early on and throughout this timeframe being completely honest about what was happening. My supervisor said he got two different stories and didn’t know which on to believe. He said that he was going to keep the whole program and we couldn’t share and gave me assignments outside my area of expertise. Meanwhile my coworker has said I have an attitude problem to many of our colleagues. The colleagues believe him because they are friends and party together and they don’t see the bully side at all. The coworker is almost always rude and demeaning especially when no one else is around. None of my coworkers seem to see my side except for a few people that are not doing anything about it. I recently spoke to my supervisor and told him again some of the insulting and damaging comments but he said if no one saw it and it’s not documented then it didn’t happen. There is a new senior supervisor but she seems to have been told I am a problem employee becuase she admonished me in front of a grou just when we were making introductions.

Is there any way out of this?

My career is very meaningful and rewarding outside of this office behavior. I have an excellent and award winning reputation from my previous position.

If I leave this position then this damage reputation may still follow me.

I can leave the organization all together and jump to another closely related industry but then I have to reestablish my reputation with a new group in a somewhat new industry.

What should I do??

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    What were you doing for last 5 months?? You were supposed to take over the management part, right? Why did you allow the situation to escalate to this stage? IMHO, the time to act was yesterday. – Sourav Ghosh Dec 13 '19 at 10:13
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    You mention "funding." That makes it sound like an academic or not-for-profit setup. Is that so? Also, you say you were "assigned to assist and take over leadership" of some work. What's the leadership part of your assignment? Please edit your question to clarify. – O. Jones Dec 13 '19 at 16:17
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You need to get on top of these situations much quicker, ensure everything is communicated in writing, and follow up with your boss as soon as you have evidence your coworker is refusing to play ball to avoid this "he said, she said" scenarios.

He refused to meet with me to discuss the policy for the work assignment for over five months

That's a ridiculous timeframe, unless it's officially been put back that long. As soon as you were given that project, you should have asked for his availability for a kick-off call. If he stalled for more than a week or two, then you should be forwading his messages to your manager letting him know there seems to be some sort of issue, and looking for a resolution:

Hi Steve,

Please see the attached email - I'm increasingly concerned over the state of this project. Ben seems unwilling to meet in the next few weeks, and I'm keen to get this started. Would appreciate your guidance over next steps here; I'm happy to be flexible with meeting times & locations.

Every time you get a message, or lack thereof from your coworker that's a hindrance, you need to be pulling your manager in to sort it out, and asking him how he wants you to deal with those situations.

You can still start to take the above tact now, it's not too late - but it will likely take time for your reputation to turn around as a result.

If I leave this position then this damage reputation may still follow me.

Leaving is of course an option, it's very unlikely your reputation will "follow" you there unless there's close ties to your current employer.

I can leave the organization all together and jump to another closely related industry but then I have to reestablish my reputation with a new group in a somewhat new industry.

FWIW, it can often be easier to establish a good reputation from scratch than it can to overturn an existing one, so I wouldn't rule that out completely - but obviously the choice is yours.

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Is there a way out of this? Yes. You need to report things as they are happening to senior management.

Eight months is serious delaying. And if after that he said you don't "deserve" the information this is serious misconduct toward company. This SHOULD be reported.

This is what your previous supervisor meant. You didn't reported it as it was happening. While your coworker might.

Be professional. Write emails with set dates and agendas. If you don't get an answer write to him again reminding he didn't passed the information CC'ing his supervisor.

If he insult you during a personal meeting write an email to him, CC'in his supervisor and HR.

Dear XXX
During our scheduled meeting about YYYY your behaviour was very unprofessional. Using words like "...." or "x8^&^*&" shouldn't happened in workplace. Our agenda was to discuss BLa BLa. Which we didn't as you were to occupied accusing me of stealing your program. You know that I was hired to relief you from overworking. If you have issues with that please arrange a meeting with our supervisor".

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Switch to only forms of communication that are in writing, when possible. If you need to ask him a question about a project do it in email. If you want to ask him why he hasn't been updating you do it in email. If he approaches you to talk about something related to the project, tell him to email it to you. Leave no room for he said / she said foolishness. He seems to be better at playing that game than you, so dont play it. I would start looking for other opportunities, though. Its highly unlikely your reputation will follow you across companies. Your current company has an extremely toxic culture you should want to be rid of as soon as possible.

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Two things from your question jumped out at me:

  1. "My supervisor said he got two different stories and didn’t know which one to believe."

  2. "I recently spoke to my supervisor and told him again some of the insulting and damaging comments but he said if no one saw it and it’s not documented then it didn’t happen."

Whaaat? What rubbish! I am sorry to say your supervisor is probably terrified by the situation because he knows how serious it is and he doesn't want to, or won't, face up to it.

You are being harassed. By his inaction your supervisor has made himself part of the harassment. Your boss's boss isn't coping well either.

Does your organization have a written anti-harassment policy? If so read it. It probably explains the steps you can take to report the situation. If your organization fails to cope with this, they are endangering themselves.

Follow the policy for reporting this problem. Usually the policy mentions a person outside your personal chain of command to whom you can report it. Do that. Do it in person. Bring a memo, on paper, without any digital copy on your org's computers, with details. Try to be dispassionate. Name names. Mention some specific incidents and their effect on your ability to do your assigned work.

Keep a notebook, on paper, which you take home at night, with dates and incidents. For example,

At 3pm on Dec 16 2019, in a meeting with a,b,c, and d present, xxx said he would not cooperate with me. His reason was that I am unqualified.

At 5pm on Dec 16, 2019 supervisor yyy said to me in private, "if I didn't see it it didn't happen"

You get the idea. You're documenting the issues.

You can expect your org to investigate, keep your report confidential, and take action against these people.

It doesn't seem likely you can fix this toxic workplace without help. You may not want to fix it. You may need to get another job, and there is no dishonor whatsoever in walking away from these clowns. In the meantime, in most places, retaliation against people who report harassment is dangerously illegal.

Strength and courage to you.

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