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History I've been working at my job for around seven and a half months now, and while it was extremely helpful in becoming independent and getting myself out of a terrible domestic situation, I can't see myself doing it my entire life. But there are a lot of reasons I can't just quit and get something else right now, so I'm looking for advice on how I can make my job more tolerable.

The Situation There's a woman at work, let's call her Donna(not her real name!) she's been here for much longer than me and she's a bit of a favorite of management. She's extremely outgoing and just has one of those 'open up around everyone' personalities that makes her a major earner for the company because clients all but fall into her lap during their meetings. The trouble is, she knows how valuable she is and uses it to protect herself! And so I don't think management will be of any help in preventing her sabotaging my own work.

I think she's had it out for me since I first started - it's like when I first met her, I called her Ma'am, and that was enough for her to decide that she was going to ruin my life and career. At first it was just verbal jabs and cruel stares, but then came the accusation(which she shared with other coworkers) that I was trying to sleep with her! Lately, she's been interrupting my private meetings with clients to tell them things like "she'd be a better choice for their business" or when we're both in the same meeting, she'll find ways to make jabs about my appearance!

It's started to cost me both money and respect from my company, but I don't know how to make it stop without seeming like I'm just disrespecting her because of our age difference.

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    Telling your clients she would be better choice for them is just plain wrong. Take that to management. If management is going to tolerate that then yikes. – paparazzo Mar 16 '17 at 17:06
  • If she really is defaming you, then she can't prove her accusation, then there is always a way for the truth to be exposed. Moreover, defamation is punished by the law in several countries. Other than that, interrupting you during a customer meeting shows a bad image of the company and might cause the COMPANY (not you only) to lose this customer. As paparazzi said, you should log this kind of acts (with proofs) and be ready to send it to the management. Either they'll face the truth, either they'll lie to themselves but their trust into this employee will be affected (even uncounciously) – Answers_Seeker Mar 16 '17 at 17:11
  • Thanks for the thoughts, I'll talk to some of my other coworkers and see if they've suffered the same. But I don't know that I can work with management - there's a rumor going around that Donna and the owner of the company sometimes leave work together, so I think that would probably just hurt me to try and bring it up with them. – Sam Sann Mar 16 '17 at 18:23
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    Just another thing that I've seen suggested with similar situations and it seems like a good idea - note each incident somewhere - time it occurred & description. It could be very handy info to have to hand if it comes to a dispute. – colmde Mar 20 '17 at 13:15
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This sounds like you are being bullied.

I would advise taking it to your boss and acting according to your company's policy on bullying. If your bosses don't do anything about it (because she is too valuable) then they are complicit and I would think there could be legal implications.

Tag your question with your location, and you might get some good advice on the legal/procedural side of it.

Edit

In response to the comments (that the boss may take her side), it may be better to go to HR. But your company should have a policy on this. (in companies I have worked in there are often directions on what to do should you not be comfortable taking it up with your direct supervisor, e.g. to another supervisor or HR - not in the US though one of the best examples was US company)

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    Nice touch to suggest adding country tag. – Mister Positive Mar 16 '17 at 17:47
  • Thank you I have added the United States tag but didn't see any way to specify my state, if that matters? I don't know much about the law. – Sam Sann Mar 16 '17 at 18:30
  • I see this potentially falling under harassment or maybe even Sexual harassment. Whilst it isn't a strong case to say the least, even a hint of a lawsuit usually fires HR and management into gear to put a stop to petty stuff like this. – lewis Mar 16 '17 at 18:37
  • This is a great comment but it does not explain why talking to your boss is the best course though. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 16 '17 at 19:37
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    The boss may be in cahoots with her from what OP says. Tread carefully. Better yet, seek another job and leave fast, OP has no future here, if that assumption actually proves true. – Captain Emacs Mar 16 '17 at 22:40
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I agree with the colmde in that it sounds like plain bullying to me. Your approach should be reasonably simple - form a written record of all the times she's done these things along with any evidence you have and colleagues / clients that may have witnessed it, then take it to HR.

Remember that HR are there to protect the company, and however good an employee is, chances are they're not worth a bullying / harassment lawsuit.

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