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Readers Respond: Have You Been Bullied or Witnessed Bullying at Work?

Responses: 141


Bullying ended on the middle school playground - right? Wrong. Bullying at work is a serious problem that 54 million Americans have experienced. Have you been bullied or witnessed another employee dealing with bullying at work? What happened and how did you respond to the bullying at work? Please share your story about bullying at work. See More Reader Responses.

The Scary Giant Devil

A few months ago, I found this perfect job that seemed like a dream come true, 10 minutes walking distance, fun and easy to access. The first few days of myself working at this fast food place seemed like heaven. Well, that was when I met one of the jerk managers. He seemed nice at first. Tallest employer there has tattoos on arms. Seemed nice at first. Recently, he wouldn't give me my break, wouldn't fix the cash shortages in my till or give any cash back to a customer who ordered coffee and made it seem like my fault. Wouldn't give me the actual key to the warehouse room and locked me inside of the kids play room and wouldn't give me the keys to clean it. That a regular customer was freaking out and he just stood there. I'm quitting my job, and looking for a place where I won't get mistreated and where I'll feel accepted and safe where I am, even if it has to mean that my parents have to drive me. I'm only 17 years old, my first time job working for two months and I have to go elsewhere :(
—Guest Christine

Bullies Are Everywhere

I had a bully boss who would take employees into a room with his assistants and scream profanity at them. I went to HR and confronted him with the so called HR director. I pointed out to Bully Boss that the employee manual said that the use of profanity was considered to be workplace violence by his own company. He told me no one had ever told him that before. Then he escalated his abuse toward me and got the help of his assistants and low level managers to harass me. Ask yourself: Is the best thing for me to do to remove myself from this situation? If the answer is yes, then proceed to remove yourself. I followed my own advice.

Sweet and sour - my bullying boss

The first few months after my boss first started a few years ago, she was sweet as pie. Always complimenting me, asking for advice, inviting me to socialize after work, and calling me her 'friend'. One day all that changed. First came the mild sarcasm, then compromising jokes and back-handed compliments. She was irritable for no reason, but only with me. It grew to barely disguised put downs and other passive-aggressive behavior. She'd pooh-pooh my ideas, but then implemented them later herself without giving me credit. She constantly competed with me and was hypocritical at every turn, criticizing me for things she would later do herself. She was impossible to work for, since she didn't like to plan, prioritize or communicate her expectations. I worked in a state of constant anxiety until she quit last month. Earlier this spring, I had sought out the help of HR who was supportive and wanted to meet with her. In the end it wasn't necessary. But I still cringe whenever I hear her name.
—Guest Elizabeth

Restaurant bullying

I work as a waitress, and ever since I turned down the head chef's sexual advances he's treated me like a second class citizen. He won't acknowledge me when I go back there to tell him about special requests from customers. And while I'm one of the hardest working people in that kitchen he is unforgiving with me when I make mistakes and treats the other girls like princesses just to make me feel bad. Sometimes it feels like it's impossible to do my job when he's around. I wish I could go to someone, but sadly no one would give me the time of day.
—Guest Sarah

Bullied by tutor

I was on my acess to Nursing and midwifery course. I was a mature student. math tutor took an instant dislike to me. Citisized my work, told me i would fail Nursing if I did not pass my maths, which she would not slow down for. Said I was wasting her time. told me she would not slow down for the likes of me. When I had a private word with her she said at least we know where we both stand. I am a very friendly adult. I was there to learn. That was 2010 Yes, she got laid off eventually but it took me many complaints as my letters were being destroyed by someone. I had to have it handed in to the principal by hand. I never got to university. No point now as I'm 50 and wanted to start my career then. What I would love to do is sue that college as I have all correspondance at home. Even when I got my mark of 72% out of 75% she failed me by sending a letter to my home address, where all the tutors said it was a pass. It has affected my career in Nursing. Devastated.
—Guest Diane Degroot

Bullying woman boss

I have been bullied by my boss on and off over the years. I recently decided to make a formal complaint against her. I have been off work with the stress this has caused. On return I have been treated to re-training and constant supervision having been given admin tasks with no access to files. I have now been asked to attend a meeting to talk about my work. When pushed for an explanation of what this was, I was told it was to discuss some errors that were found on my files while I was on sick leave. I have not been told what these are and they were not raised in my 1-1 meetings with my boss. I feel I am being victimised and my boss is trying to make my life so difficult I will leave. Advice please.

Sales Consultant

I have changed my positive attitude to a mere sombre habit. I've developed an extremely bad sleeping habit due to the anxiety build up of having to wake up and go to work again. I started with my company 8 months ago, as a receptionist and within 2months got promoted to the sales position. The previous consultant went out for lunch and just never returned. He had been with the company for only 5 months. All thanks to the habitual bad tempered and emotionally immature Rep of the company. Granted he has been with the company for years and knows how to play the director into this falsehood of him being irreplaceable. I have addressed this issue with him but I find he regards my good manner to be a weakness. He is currently in a comfortable position whereby he encourages the other staff members to be his mouthpiece in insults, thereby covering himself. I have caught on that he thrives to be highly insulting and sarcastic in the first 30mins and last 30mins of the work day. Any advice please.
—Guest Roxanne

Jealous or just rude?

I'm an easy going person and get along with just about everyone. Over the past year I have had a co-worker target me for bullying and it's frustrated me to no end. She is the 'coordinator' for our graphics department and she proofs all our work. She often holds on to my final works until checkins with the manager and though I've reported the work done and ready for review, she will not hand over my work until it's her turn to report what she's done. If I hold onto my work and had it over myself she throws a tantrum talking over me and says she hasn't proofed it yet. (it's already been though 2 proofs and I just need the 'OK' on the layout.) She talks contentiously about her personal life and voices loudly offensive opinions. She also gossips about other employees who have been reprimanded for talking about personal issues at work. She assigns task from the manager to me that are the most time consuming and often times have incomplete directions or resources. I've had enough I've gone to HR.
—Guest Sick of feeling like S***

Murder at work

I was poisoned 3 times by bullies who were in a drug gang at the hospital because I would not help them steal drugs. it's rough out there.
—Guest guest-4

Bullying goes hand in hand with mobbing.

Advice on dealing with a bully at work simply does not work if you are also dealing with mobbing. I am old enough to be their mother and just barely grandmother. When I was their age none of this went on in the workplace. I finally understand why school shootings started to occur. Daily life in families and schools must be hell today and now it is entrenched in the workplaces as well.
—Guest guest


I have been at my job for just over two years, and have been dealing with this woman who bullies and intimidates most everyone in the department. She gets away with talking on her cell phone all day, not doing much work, pushing her work on to the rest of us...but the worst part is, she has verbally attacked me and other people in the department. She went off on me twice, yelling and calling me names, and I went to the boss. Nothing was done. I complained to HR and they made excuses about her lack of work ethic. Every day I'm on pins and needles, waiting for her next tantrum. Problem is, she and the boss are friends. It's disgusting.
—Guest Sick of It

Treated as Incompetent

I work in a small medical office, with a physician and a receptionist. There's just the three of us, and at first we got along great. However, things quickly changed. The receptionist, AKA "Office Manager", started becoming very "bossy" and passive aggressive. For example, one day, I had too many paperclips at my desk (we use them on charts to attach paperwork that requires review), and I asked her if she wanted any. She said no and to put them in one of the holders in the exam room. After I did so, within 5 minutes, she got up and grabbed them out of the exam room anyway. So, for the bullying behavior, this person treats me as if I'm incompetent by telling patients that I'm making mistakes in their charts, on their lab requisitions, etc, even if it wasn't my mistake or if she has to invent one. She bashes me to some of the patients, and now they think I can't be trusted. The doctor knows this, but because she's been here for a long time, he can't really do anything... Very frustrating.
—Guest littlenursegirl

Cosmetics boss... worst bully

I started working in cosmetics about a year ago at Macy's with what seemed like the best boss in the world. She did her best at showing me the ropes and making sure I got through all of my interviews well, but after working with her for a couple of months she started bullying my hair style, telling coworkers that I didn't have any friends, and going out of her way to make me miserable. I went into a deep depression. While this was happening, I was in the middle of switching schools and didn't know many people. Well, I found out that many people didn't like her, and I befriended a new girl from the counter across from mine. One day I was telling her that my boss was a bully and I later found out that my boss was quietly spying on me from a corner. My boss later convinced my coworkers that I was a backstabber, and stupid girl despite my potential. Later I started to get coached by her manager but in reality was being publicly humiliated in front of others, and she ended up getting promoted.
—Guest miss removed

Ugliest boss on planet: I worked for her

I had the unhealthy experience to work for a bully boss who played obvious favorites and seemed to take pleasure in getting people fired. Her bullying was so bad, it forced me to take fmla to deal with the depression and stress she had piled upon me. Upon returning, I infomed the HR boss and her boss what I had been diagnosed with (even though they said you don't have to. I say plausable deniablity ) And, it just got worse from there. Boss continued to use phrases and statement like lazy, "that call was crap," even raised her voice when I said yes mam to her questions. "Dont't call me mam just because you are mad at me!" I had gone to HR just that day to talk about how she was talking to me and how I didn't know if I wanted to report to the boss due to fear of retaliation. My area manager saw me in HR and brought it to my boss's attention that same day. Was denied when asked if I could be moved off of her team, even thought there was space, and was fired two days later for saying, under my breath, "I hate coachings."
—Guest mad as a hatter


I've worked about 1 year at my job and one of my co-workers asked me my age and if I was married and since then doesn't hesitate to inform people of my marital status whenever I am talking to any co-worker of the opposite sex or my boss. I believe most everyone already knows I'm married so it normally wouldn't bother me except it's sometimes brought up awkwardly like from across the room. Also this person has tried to get me into trouble before and I don't think this person deserves a right to my private life. I'm not a confrontational person but I did say something when I first noticed it and it interrupted one of my conversations but is still going on and it annoys me. Should I just let it go? (If it's really bothersome, ask her to stop again and tell her that you really don't want to involve the supervisor but that you will if you have to.)
—Guest bothered
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