help me in a bullying case !

ACanberraGuy 3 December 2012 49

It is mid of night now, I wake up this time every day. I believe I am in a serious case of bullying, but who can help me ?

I need support and help. I do not know what I should do. I need people to help me and give me advice, or to go to details with me to work out/present the case if I decide to talk it up at WorkSafeACT or someone.

I am not a strong fighter so things getting worse to such that I can not cope and my family is suffering. But I am sure this is bullying, and it can go to a shocking headline in Canberra Times.

This should not happen in the Public Service in this country, but it does. What is my legal right ? Is there something we can call fairness or justice ?

Sorry I can not give details here so you may not be able to give me any specific advice. Thanks in advance.

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49 Responses to help me in a bullying case !
Watson Watson 9:58 am 14 Dec 12

Dork said :

In ACTPS its called RED (respect, equity, diversity)
Apparently they have introduced compulsory RED courses for all staff starting next year.

This year.

scorpio63 scorpio63 9:31 pm 13 Dec 12

On the other hand, I have met the most beautiful genuine kindhearted and giving people over 17 years who have more than made up for the one or two re-knowned bullies in those couple of Departments.

Top of my list and full credits for the MOST beautiful staff in all areas go to DAFF, (by now people may have identified me lol), Attorney-Generals, DEEWR, the AFP, Defence, Centrelink, Innovation, the old Dept of Arts, Health and many private enterprise businesses in between.

Canberra Guy if this is your career and reluctant to move for the experience within your position, I would definitely file strong complaints involving mediation and if nothing is addressed or sorted, move to another area at the same level as generally it wont happen in each area.

scorpio63 scorpio63 9:15 pm 13 Dec 12

Pitchka, nothing excuses bullying as one offs nor ongoing regardless of whether or not an employee is underperforming.

In most of my positions I have been requested to stay permanently which were refused, and/or 9 times out of 10 requested for extensions.

Yes, in many situations there are two sides to a story, however if it is a re-knowned bully (a good Harrassment Officer’s reactions are the telling answer), he/she will target a person over the most trivial matter entirely in the wrong and not their business. For instance, a colour printer is to be ordered for a branch who have complained repeatedly that they cannot print on the archaic printer that is not printing. The EA requests on behalf of the Branch to the Manager could the Branch be given a new printer to deal with work at an incredibly busy time of the year.

The Manager signs the form giving permission (after an I.T. Manager states that it is less expensive to purchase a new printer as opposed to fixing the old one).

Out of nowhere a day later, appears the bully from upstairs (her boss is the EA’s boss who ordered the printer). The bully takes it upon herself to exert authority, on behalf of her boss, condemning the ordering of the printer, degrading and humiliating the EA ‘personally’ who had ordered the printer (despite the EA’s boss having given prior permission).

The EA in tears of shock (the whole branch staff were staring by this stage) has to wait until her Boss’s return. Two hours later he returns and says ‘sorry, nothing I can do, my hands are tied, I am new to this Dept and its her (the Bully’s) boss who is my boss.

That my friends in Canberra is a classic trivial case of bullying.

I have witnessed bullying throughout the public service over 17 years with back to back contracts of so many people who were highly competent, diligent and hard working employees totally undeserving of the treatment they have received at the hands of their Dept’s reknowned bullies.

scorpio63 scorpio63 8:46 pm 13 Dec 12

Fantastic assistance from every contributor A Canberra Guy which should make you feel a great deal better!

I defended myself verbally and loud when I was attacked both times in the Public Service by ‘re-knowned’ bullies thereafter reporting one of the separate situations after someone who heard, suggested I report to H.R. back 7 years ago. Fortunately I was on contract and wound it up early to get away from the woman. My predecessor who had owned the position for a few months was leaving the job because of this same woman pulling rank, causing trouble, degradation to her. (This from a few other staff members as I was completing tasks to finish up). Her Boss was spineless new to the job himself and turned a blind eye to the daily bullying over many months of his own victim employee.

I wrote a nice lengthy letter to the Secretary of the Department in order for this re-knowned bully never to put any other person through such degradation and humiliation (her line was “all EA’s are crap, no intelligence, not worth their pay, lowest of the low in the public service, shouldnt exist”).

A year later I met an I.T. person who asked what Departments I have worked through over 17 years. I mentioned that back then the Department of Finance JGB not the Treasury Building (I loved the staff working through there), was one of the worst Departments I could possibly have ever worked in followed by Human?? Services twice never to return.

The I.T. person asked who the person was that had been the bully from Finance. I mentioned the woman’s first name only. What area, the I.T. person asked. I stated the Division not the branch. A grin slowly spread across the I.T. person’s face and a nickname was expressed not very nice.

“Dont tell me she’s still working for the Dept and causing havoc”, the I.T. person asked.

I nodded my head and thought how *&**** sad that this woman had put so many employees, in particular, contractors through humiliation and degradation as a result of their ‘station/rank’ working through the public service.

There are many people in life who sacrificed a high flying career in the public service to be at home with their children who have or may not have a disability here in Canberra. I was one of those mothers who chose to assist many many people on top of raising and being around my children as much as possible, hence, the APS 4 and APS 5 positions.

Dork Dork 7:02 pm 13 Dec 12

In ACTPS its called RED (respect, equity, diversity)
Apparently they have introduced compulsory RED courses for all staff starting next year.
They have RED officers as well.

Arthur McKenzie Arthur McKenzie 6:54 pm 13 Dec 12

I had similar experiences working at the AFP and ASIO where I worked once, believe it or not. I sought legal advice and all sorts of things from workplace counsellors and my assessment is they are a waste of time – all you are doing is providing them with a pay packet and entertainment. My advice is, and I am talking from direct and very recent experience in trouble with neighbours if you want to change the balance in your favour go to the ACT Magistrates Court, fill out the forms and take out a Workplace Protection Order. The people at the court are very helpful, you can get legal aid (I didn’t need it), and I found the Magistrate to be very understanding as I have never been in court before. There was only him, me and the clerk of the court there. My experience is don’t hesitate it is very empowering. Good luck whatever you decide to do. Don’t let bullies push you around and for x’s sake just go about your business quietly and diligently – don’t give them ammunition. Read the Act – it’s simple – they aren’t allowed to do it!!! Harrassment officers, unions and all the rest are a waste of space! A WPO signed by a Magistrate says it all and no organisation will argue in public about jurisdictions. Let them explain it to the cops and then the Court if they want to!! No department secretary or commissioner wants to be hauled into a magistrates court.

Above all look after yourself and your family. They are far more important than a crap job.

TheObserver TheObserver 5:55 pm 13 Dec 12

Speak to your Workplace Contact Officer and if you are in the Union – the union rep. I agree with the comments re HR – they can be hopelessly conflicted and generally the easy way out for them is to “talk you into moving on”.

Harmer’s Workplace lawyers might be a bad call given the recent Federal Court decision – and if you are in Canberra then go local – make sure that whoever you use is an accredited specialist in workplace relations – but hopefully you shouldnt need to pay a lawyer.

And otherwise document it like mad- your file notes should have the date AND the time of the bullying behaviour and be made as soon as you can after it has taken place.

This could be hard for you but if it does happen with others around – call the bully on it publicly – say loud and clear: “you are a bully – you have been bullying and harassing me for a considerable period and it is all documented. It has to stop. We can do it the easy way or the hard way. Your call” – and then refuse to speak to them unless a Harassment Contact Officer is present. The only downside is that the oxygen thief will just move onto another victim – rather than stopping.

qwerky qwerky 8:57 pm 05 Dec 12

DUB said :

Agree with the others re: Action course.

No offence, but to me it sounds like you did not even bother to simply google info available for victims of workplace bullying.

No offence again, but be a MAN and stand up for yourself, don’t let a$$holes to walk all over you. How do you have a family if you don’t have balls to defend yourself, dude?

Now who’s being a bully…

devils_advocate devils_advocate 12:31 pm 05 Dec 12

Watson said :

Sandman said :

This may sound really harsh, but if you can’t handle the heat maybe you should get out of the kitchen.

Inappropriate use of the word “may”.

Last time I checked there was a distinctive difference between the APS and Fight Club.

The whole concept of security clearances is just a fancy way of saying “the first rule about APS club is, you don’t talk about APS club”.

I’m sure there’s other similarities.

Miracles Australia Miracles Australia 11:08 am 05 Dec 12

I note you have been given quite a bit of advice from people… could I suggest you air on the side of caution and follow what Masquara said and I quote:

“Nooooooo! HR will INEVITABLY side with management and performance manage you out. Go to the union and a private lawyer. Do NOT trust HR!”

Having spent the past 10 years providing free advocacy for people who are in your position, I can assure you that Masquara is right on the mark when we look at the overwhelming body of evidence that has been produced as a result of documenting the advocacy cases from beginning to final resolution (whether resolved along the way using Critical Containment Methodology or by legal action and ruling).

All of the cases documented, highlighted systemic issues that were common to all organisations and all roads lead to HR and the agencies and internal services set up to assist people who are being bullied (or perceive that they are being bullied).

The Advocacy Cases Report will be released next month to co-inside with the Australian Anti-Bullying Register launch but given the trauma that this matter is causing you, if you would like to contact me I would be more than happy to have a confidential discussion with you about the evidence from the report and provide you with evidence based information that will assist you to manage your issues and the process involved, with minimal impact to your health and well being. The evidence also shows that it is not the initial bullying complaint that causes most people to become psychologically traumatized… it is the way the concern is dealt with once it has been lodged with the organisation which generates the most distress.

Please contact me if you would like to arrange a chat.

PBO PBO 11:08 am 05 Dec 12

Watson said :

Sandman said :

This may sound really harsh, but if you can’t handle the heat maybe you should get out of the kitchen.

Inappropriate use of the word “may”.

Last time I checked there was a distinctive difference between the APS and Fight Club.

Strangers with this kind of honesty make me grow a big rubbery one, how much can you possibly know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

Watson Watson 10:03 am 05 Dec 12

Sandman said :

This may sound really harsh, but if you can’t handle the heat maybe you should get out of the kitchen.

Inappropriate use of the word “may”.

Last time I checked there was a distinctive difference between the APS and Fight Club.

BimboGeek BimboGeek 12:29 am 05 Dec 12

It’s very easy for big groups to generate smaller (or larger) cliques. Sometimes the clique correctly identifies that someone is hopeless and bullies them. .. It might not be intentional, just those knowing glances, shared giggles and some friendly gossip that gets out of hand. Not entirely professional but easy to understand.

Sometimes someone gets jealous and sees another person’s failings before their own. They may be eager to celebrate that person’s misfortune.

Young people are great at deprecating humour which is fun and games until someone touches a nerve.

Some cliques expect a newcomer to “earn their dues” which may be a huge culture shock.

Some personalities just clash and don’t find common ground.

Glad to say I’ve never seen anyone at work get completely sadistic and I’m just sad we don’t try a little harder to be nice.

Sandman Sandman 9:49 pm 04 Dec 12

This may sound really harsh, but if you can’t handle the heat maybe you should get out of the kitchen.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 8:19 pm 04 Dec 12

Waiting for the bully in the carpark after work with a piece of 4×2 is probably the best solution.

Deckard Deckard 7:31 pm 04 Dec 12

Pitchka said :

Perhaps the OP could give us all some indication of the problem at hand (without giving too much away), before we all jump to conclusions that he is locked in a room daily, subjected to torture, and tazered continously by his FAS. Ive lost count the amount of times these type of threads turn against an OP because he/she failed to disclose one small detail.

Who is to say he hasnt broken the APS code of conduct, and is perhaps currently under investigation, in the process of being terminated, and is playing the victim card.

Sounds to me like he is about to get fired, and is willing to do everything he can to keep his job in the APS. Until he tells us more. we can all just keep guessing as to what is really going on..

You crap on about not jumping to conclusions then jump to 2 massive one’s yourself??

All the way through this thread you’ve had a go at the OP. Sounds to me like someone’s been on the end of code of conduct complaint in the past.

steveu steveu 3:14 pm 04 Dec 12

Watson said :

If you do contact a HCO (if it’s Federal, they’re called something else in the ACTPS), make sure you contact one outside of your own area. There should be a list somewhere on your intranet or contact HR for one.

And absolutely agree with the need to document. Keep a diary with dates, times and detailed descriptions of what occurred.

Totally agree with the statement about contacted a HCO out of your area. In previous employment, the (very large) organisation was keen to appoint ‘local’ HCO’s and encourage people to approach them. Obviously the SES trying to contain problems within their own branches (read=cover up). Mind you there are alot of SES in the Fed PS under investigation at the moment for their behaviour in terms of bullying etc. I would always encourage people to approach HCOs from outside the branch that they are in, if at all possible.

And of course document everything, and third party witnesses are important – though be careful not to be seen to be making statements that are untrue – as slander, liable etc. come into play. So be discreet.

I hope it all works out.

King_of_the_Muppets King_of_the_Muppets 3:11 pm 04 Dec 12

Have you confronted the person and indicated that you feel that you are being bullied?

It might be too itimidating, but it might also give them a chance to reflect on their own behaviour?

Watson Watson 1:07 pm 04 Dec 12

I second the EAP option. They can offer free counseling and also advice on where to get help to resolve the issue.

If you do contact a HCO (if it’s Federal, they’re called something else in the ACTPS), make sure you contact one outside of your own area. There should be a list somewhere on your intranet or contact HR for one.

And absolutely agree with the need to document. Keep a diary with dates, times and detailed descriptions of what occurred.

DangerMouse DangerMouse 12:51 pm 04 Dec 12

I feel for you. I have been bullied and harrassed out of a job (not APS) and my partner has been bullied out of a job (APS). In both cases, HR and the usual processes were either lazy or the goal was not to stop the actual bullying, but to stop the complaint of bullying. If you take official action, there is always a chance this will hit your future job prospects. With kids, you have to decide if that is worth it.

You have to decide what you want to achieve before deciding on your course of action.

Do you want to stay in your current job, with your current supervisor but without the bullying? Even if HR come down on your side, isn’t the relationship with your manager so poisoned by now, so that is no longer an option? It is not realistic to think that both you and your manager can stay in the same job and forget the past. You will always feel uncomfortable.

So…. either you stay because you really love the work, or one of you has to leave. Its unlikely you can get your boss fired, because you are not even quite sure if its bullying, so you probably don;t have any gotcha evidence.

I would keep quiet and start looking for a transfer or a new job elsewhere. While there are ‘processes’ for dealing with bullying, it rarely works out for the victim, because the victimiser is never moved on…. you still have to work with them.

Like I said, think about what your end goal is, and then take action to achieve that. If you want ot earn a dollar without being given an anxiety condition, get another job as son as you can. While justice is tempting, you have the same chance of winning lotto. Are you gonna stake your mental health on those odds?

Good luck.

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