She has asked me things like; can you read? Are you deaf? Are you dyslexic? Do you know how to spell? If she misplaced something I get yelled at. If a client doesn’t read a document I asked them to read I get yelled at. I have been yelled at and talked down to in front of clients.
I actually have a breakdown every Sunday at the thought of going in on Monday. I have left work crying numerous times.
What do I do?
Answer: Just like many have learned on playgrounds as children, you have to stand up for yourself and stand up against bullies. However, as many have also learned, standing up to a bully directly can cause a lot of pain and suffering, and there is usually a better way.
In the context of workplace bullying, there is a better way. In most cases, you can empower yourself by taking timely and detailed notes of each instance of bullying and, within limits, even recording conversations with the bully. This is often the first step, as the notes and recordings make it easier for you to explain the situation to your HR department, your bully’s manager, or even a lawyer. It may also be worthwhile to get a doctor’s note; if the stress is too much to bear, you may be able to take a temporary leave of absence (sometimes paid, sometimes unpaid).
You should also do so knowing that the law protects you from mistreatment in many ways. Harassment is prohibited by both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and, for certain kinds of Harassment, the Human Rights Code. Further, if the environment really has become toxic, you may be allowed to leave and start a constructive dismissal claim.
At Whitten & Lublin, we have been successfully standing up to bullies and protecting employees for many years. If you’re experiencing workplace bullying, call us for help!