To whom it may concern:
I have been on a medical leave of absence from my job for 7 months due to workplace bullying. The following is a brief synopsis of my workplace bullying experience that has caused a loss of income and my current illness.
I loyally served my organization for over 20 years, respected and admired by my peers, mentored new employees and loved by the constituents that the employer represented. My evaluations the first 18 years were good to excellent and have always been assertive and spoke up for what I believed was just and fair. During my tenure I’ve seen Directors come and go, however, one such director came in to the organization recently surrounded her with a group of inexperienced employees that she has promoted and have waged what I believe to be a campaign against senior loyal employees.
Two years ago she appointed a young 33 year old male with less than 5 years of experience to direct the program to which I was assigned. I am presently 57 years old. From onset he was disrespectful and appeared to thrive on his own voice. With little attention to the expertise of others, he imposed his own ideas and directives absent any acknowledgement of the experience or tenure of anyone. Within five months from the time he was hired, I was counseled, given verbal and written warnings, experienced humiliation in front of my coworkers and given unreasonable assignments. I was expected to contact him dozens of times a day with phone calls and email that only served to interfere with my work and productivity. I was made to sit with this person for hours at a time to give reports that normally took an hour and then later to report the next week to finish these reports. No one else in the office was subjected to this treatment and at team meetings when it was my turn to speak; he would play with his blackberry, smirk and at times laugh at me. One time, while at a meeting with the Director and his supervisor I questioned an unreasonable and impossible assignment when he slammed his fist on the table and yelled at me. When I made a complaint to their supervisors no one believed me and they both lied about the incident
I then reached out to human resources and they refused to address the situation. Shortly after these series of incidents the Director who had less than two years of seniority was given a promotion to Senior Associate Director. No one dared complain about her unearned promotion except under their breath for fear of retaliation.
During this time, I did best I could and completed my assignments, spending 10-12 hours days in the field for a job that is supposed to be a 7 hour day. I was denied compensatory time back on most of my time sheets and consistently delayed my expenses from being in the field from being reimbursed. After five months I could no longer bare the stress and illness that these two were inflicting upon me. I was given warning after warning, then a final warning over a fabricated accusation.
I recall being contacted at home by the senior director and she told me that I was to report to the office for an investigative meeting. It was the second investigative meeting in less than two weeks. My stress levels increased due to this phone call than I ended up in the emergency room with chest pain. I could not stop crying hysterically and was admitted to the hospital with angina due to stress. The physicians at the hospital advised to take time off from work and to seek help. My employer unjustly issued me a final warning and directed me to take “anger management” therapy. I saw the therapist for 6 weeks and she helped me to see that I was not the problem. The problem was the Director, his supervisor and the workplace bullying I was constantly exposed to
Later via intervention of my union, the final warning was reduced to a verbal warning. After 8 weeks of being out of work and using all of my accrued sick time and vacation time, I returned to work. To try and prevent a recurrence of the health issues I was experiencing I had requested a transfer from this man’s team and it had been approved. I went back to work that was more intensive but I had found relief that I no longer had to deal directly with him and his ego bully tactics.
For the next four months, I was productive and successful with my assignments, then the supervisor I was working with was terminated, her team divided, and to my shock I was reassigned to the Director that had been responsible for the workplace bullying I had experienced and the related health issues. I contacted my employer and pleaded that I not be assigned to this person’s team because I feared I would become ill again and the request was denied. I then contacted human resources and they were shocked that I had been reassigned to this man but did nothing. I then contacted my union representative who wrote a letter to the Executive director of the program who refused to intervene. Once again, I found myself having to come to work to face this man who had done so much damage to my health.
From then on, he chronically emailed me and called me with wasteful non productive “get back to me by end of day” questions. I found myself as once before, being inundated with unreasonable time restraints and unfair questioning of my work and my productivity. The correspondence by the Director and his supervisor was not just related to the work day, they chronically emailed me day and night. I was held hostage by my computer even on my days off; just to catch up with responding to their coercive attacks on my work and then to catch up with the real work that was delayed because of their interference.
In one week I was called into the office three times with interrogation after interrogation. It got to a point that I was second guessing myself. All of my work was being scrutinized and checked for every “I” to be dotted and every “T” that had to be crossed. I recall the last week that I worked; he kept returning a memo that I had written. It was comprised of two sentences. At one point I requested that he rewrite the memo, so that I could understand what he wanted me to correct. Then he sent me an email directing me to attend a psychological evaluation that required a 4 hour drive, yet I had only been in his employ again for less than three weeks No other person in the department was being subjected to this treatment, just myself.
His directive for the psychological exam conflicted with another pre confirmed meeting that could not be canceled. Although I explained this to him, it did not matter. All of a sudden, due to the actions of these evil human beings, I was no good anymore. Twenty years of work and pride were in the gone. I could not focus anymore, my work was constantly being labeled as “egregious,” and I told them their actions were making me sick. They appeared to enjoy my suffering. I remember my colleagues coming to my side as I broke down and cried at my work station. I remember one day that month on my way home from a service call and knowing I had to meet with this person when I returned to work, I vomited all over the steering wheel and almost lost control of my vehicle.
The next day via email I received a directive which he copied to all everyone in management that I was to follow his directives or be terminated. Again was in that dark place. I could not focus, concentrate and was totally numb. I made a call into human resources and told them that because of the unrelenting harassment I could no longer cope and was unable to go to work. I went to my doctors crying hysterically and diagnosed with panic attacks. A month later I was then admitted to the hospital with chest pains and am currently under the care of several specialists. I spend my days wasting away with sadness and depression. Just writing this is very hard for me. I use to be so good at defending others. Seeking justice for others, yet it is so hard for me to defend myself. I realize now that I was a target of “workplace bullying.” I have been to an attorney but they want too much money to pursue a complaint. I have been to EEOC, but the attorney told me to drop it and file a civil suit but there is no law that has been violated and have no were to turn.
Since being out of work, I have been living on my hard earned savings. Sometimes, I don’t want to go outside and sometimes I think I would be better off dead. This trauma has negatively and emotionally impacted my family. I am often quick to anger, tearful and continue to have nightmares. By God’s grace I try to get back on my feet one day at a time.
In the mean time, the workplace bully’s are still in the organization. I have written several complaints including one to the CEO, but there is no justice and there is no peace. I realize that I was targeted because I was one of the most senior employees in the organization although I cannot prove it. They targeted me because of my salary, experience and spoke up for other colleagues. Since I have been out on medical leave, the same two people have continued to target and bully my other senior colleagues. I see their stress and suffering and am so disgusted and sick about it. Because there is no law these bullies are violating, like me their hands are tied.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I am pleading to any one that has any authority to hear my story, please pass a bill that will make it illegal for any person in a work setting to “bully” someone. So that people like me who have given so much of themselves to an organization have a legal right to seek and get justice