psychological harassment in the workplace

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I have over 50 pages, probably more like 100, of documentation of the psychological harassment that I have been a victim of since I started working at my career a year ago.

    Below, an article, explains not only psychological harassment, but the ramifications perfectly. All 3 bullets explain what has been done to me over and over, and the last bullet is the psychological side effects it can have on people, and has had on me.

    • Psychological Harassment has many forms: the most common being verbal abuse. Some tactics aim at trying to humiliate or weaken the morale of individuals or groups.
    • Mobbing also referred to by some as Bullying, psychological terrorism, and organizational violence is described as a collective form of psychological violence in which many individuals unite to persecute an individual by making constant negative remarks, repeated criticism or sarcasm, intimidation, threats, insinuations, try to humiliate, circulate false information concerning the individual, and to socially isolate the individual. Mobbing is a way of destroying a person without using any physical means, a psychological war of nerves with wear the individual out tactics. A group attacks an individual's dignity, integrity, self-image, self-confidence, self-esteem, place in doubt of competence, threaten their careers, and means of subsistence.
    • One method used to induce distress or suffering in a person is by systematically isolating them from their peers.
    • After a few months some victims can suffer from psychiatric difficulties such as paranoia, chronic fatigue, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, and depression.

    So, currently there are no laws in the US to make this illegal. We are due in 2009 to have a law passed called The Healthy Workplace Law that will make this illegal - but currently we have nothing in place. (Go Canada - you guys do, which is where I got all this info from,)

    You all know how many times I have tried to take this situation to my boss, my bosses boss, HR, but the company will not help. They simply just don't believe it is going on, or care, or "have enough proof" to stop it. I am looking for a new job, (obvious solution) - but do you guys have any ideas on how I can get this company to stand up and do something about this??? Are there any laws in the US that can protect me? Do I have any recourse anywhere?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It would appear to me that if a dr (as in, psychiatrist) wrote a letter verifying that this has caused these illnesses for you, you would have the same grounds as a person who got physically injured at work. But, I don't know if that would hold up in court or not- maybe call a lawyer who deals with "injuries in the workplace". If nothing else, it would appear as discrimination.

    And I am very sorry that you are having to work in an environment like that. I hope you've found some good places to send resumes to.
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    There are already federal laws in place regarding creating a hostile workplace and harassment. I went through many of the same things with a former supervisor. I work for the State and they have very firm guidelines in place. We have to follow the 'chain of command'. My bosses supervisor (another good ol' boy type) did absolutely nothing. But the next one up, HIS boss, did! He put an immediate stop to it and saw that it never happened again. Good luck to you, Steely. I know how horrible it is to have to work under these conditions, but THE LAW is on your side. When you find another job, I hope you also find a lawyer!
  4. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    I believe Workplace Harrassment is covered under the Civil Rights act - Do a google search with your state and workplace harrassment and you should find information out there. If this has been going on for a year, and they are not doing anything, there is no way to "force" them unless you get an attorney and sue them.

    In my industry, most times, if they find out you have a previous harrassment or on going suit for harrassment, they won't hire you.

  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The way it was explained to us, THEY are not necessarily liable if you are harassed by other employees or if you are forced to work in a hostile environment. But they ARE legally liable if it is reported to them and then they take no action to put a stop to it! They can't really prevent the hostile acts from happening, but they are expected to take steps to remedy the situation if and when it is brought to their attention. If it's reported and they take no action, they ARE legally liable and they can be sued!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Each state is different. Where I lived, if I would have reported it, I would have been fired. In IL and WI they can fire you without any notice or reason. They couldn't say it was because you complained, but they can make things up and you have nothing to stand on. It's really sad. Workers do need more rights. It's ridiculous. The only reason you can't legally fire somebody is due to race, religion or illness--and they can still pretend they fired you for a DIFFERENT reason...and have fun proving the real reason. Yep, I talked to attorneys. It's amazing how helpless the worker in the US really is. The attitude is pretty much, "You don't like the job or how we treat you? Find a different job."
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    MWM I know, it's unfortunate. I have been harassed by my boss verbally. I mean he YELLS at me and tells me I'm useless, etc. Of course he's a grown difficult child and he usually apologizes and tries to make up for it afterwards. I am trapped by circumstances, but have been trying to find a different job. I researched and discovered it isn't illegal. As long as I'm not being harassed due to being a protected class (female, race, etc) he can do it.
  8. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Sorry cannot help because laws are different. Our state has a department which checks up on this kind of harassment as well as other work safety rules, because the state wants to lower cost for treatment of the victims. The fines are heavy for such harassment - very heavy.

    Are there no public regulation of this area?

    I can only send my sincere support for you. I hope that your firm comes to their senses. Parents are some of the best workers you can get due to their loyalty and commitment. ((hugs))
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, and if it IS because you're female or a minority etc. good luck being able to afford an attorney who can represent you and prove it against the high-priced attorneys the corporations have. You can't win.
    I worked at a newspaper and the best salesperson ticked off our idiot boss (emphasis on idiot--he sexually harrassed everyone and talked in a loud voice on the phone about how incompetent women were and we had to eat it). He was best friends with the owner of the company. Eventually, the best salesperson was fired for a minor infraction. She couldn't even collect unemployment because the company lied to the powers that be and said she had been fired due to "incompetence." She never did get any unemployment and she tried calling a lawyer too who said s he could hire him (at a large fee that she couldn't afford, since she had no income at all), but that it wouldn't probably help her. She never did get compensation. We kept in touch and I was stunned at how the company spun her sudden dismissal. They'd been waiting for her to do one little thing wrong to get rid of her--it was a rule infraction, but such a small one. The owner's best friend had done much worse, and, from what I hear, he is still employed there. And, trust me, he is a lousy worker who spends most of his time on the phone making loud personal calls and outside smoking cigarettes. If you work for a private business, it's their call--they can pretty much do what they want. It's a tad better if you work for the state or are in one of the few Unions that are still around. Ugh. Oh, well.
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    wow i cannot believe it. I just looked up texas laws employment etc. it states that unless harrassment is in the form of sexual harrassment or if someone is being violated due to discrimination there are no laws in place to protect the worker. Its so odd, i guess verbal abuse to them is a grey and "heresay" kinda thing to an extent.

    Can you file a "report" each time it's done onto you even if the report is one in which is for something else? just to show you took means to solve problem and get to resolution with company? than nail their butts to the wall.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    MWM, that's about the only reason that I'm glad I work for the State! Not that they can't get just as sneaky, but at least we have recourse if they do. We have grievance procedures and an employees association that will provide you with an attorney if needed.

    But I know how it is in the 'real world' too - I've seen it with my son. He does heavy industrial welding and now has carpal tunnel and arthritis in both wrists and hands (and he's only 28!). He really needed surgery but refused to have it done. Theoretically, he could have it done on Workers Comp, but he says they have a way of getting rid of people who do that. And that was even before the unemployment rate got so high here! So he won't even consider having surgery now. Yeah, he could maybe take them to court, if he had the money to pay an attorney, but they have a lot more money than he does! They can terminate anyone at any time for any reason. They could always say it was for something else, and it would be up to him to prove that it was because of his medical condition that he got from working for THEM!
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea, that is the deal. I am not in a "minority class" and I was harassed by a lesbian woman, so it appears legally I have no rights that I can find, but she does. It is so messed up, you have no idea how many lies, slanderous accusation, etc., she made about me. They have affected my entire career there - and now she has moved onto another female employee with her slander, and it appears there are not any laws in place to protect us. How can it be that these laws only applies to the minority - that is discrimination in and of itself.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It does stink, as one who has had trouble in the workplace due to daunting learning disabilities. But, trust me, minorities are not necessarily protected. Yes, they have recourse, but they also have to hire an attorney (at the same cost as anyone else) and prove that they were fired due to their race or sexual orientation or religion. It's NOT an easy task. My family is part Jewish and a very religious Orthodox Jewish member kept getting fired because his religion says he can't work after the Sabbath. He was still repeatedly fired and the courts ruled against him because the companies all said he was fired for "incompetence." I'm sorry you have to go through this. As one who had struggled so much in the workforce (and am happily early retired), I still remember how small I felt. I was so powerless, and, really, nobody upstairs cared about anyone's feelings. They didn't even know us...I hope it all works out.
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks mwm for your support

    I just found out that my friend that I have been worried about, who has had this one guy at work make threats towards her - disappeared from work today at 10:40. No one can find her. I have called the police, and I am extremely worried. This is the guy that I posted about the other day where I said 'I am scared'..............please pray she is safe.

    This company has the worst karma..............recession/depression or not...........I gotta get out.
  15. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Actually, I believe Section 504 covers this. I've alway read 504 with-the focus on students, but I beleive it's for all disabled people.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ah, Steely, of course you have my prayers. I wish things were different and do hope you can find another job. Post about your friend. Hopefully she will be found safe and sound...
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sheila, you have no idea how hard it is to be considered "disabled" in the workforce. It's not enough to even be getting a Disability check. I just went through this at my last (and final) job and I give up. It's dependent upon the state (again) and, as always, favors the business. I could write a book about the last experience I had, but it would bore everybody. Suffice to say, the worker is pretty powerless, regardless. And in this sort of economy it's so scary that we have no recourse...