Bullying or harassment in the work place

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After a short while, they expected me to speak German very fluently and started telling me that they want to speak their own language at work, and not English. Only after using my vacation times and my own money for intensive German courses, I was able to converse in German.

Ewww, this actually happened to me as well. Only, I am not desperate for this job (I can look around elsewhere, just a pain to keep moving...)

so I finally put my foot down, on the next display of linguistic chauvinism: An email to all members of our department written in German by a secretary (they get the low-level people to do their dirty work) when all previous communications were in English (I'm the only non-German in my department by the way). I fired back a response that "This email is in the wrong language. Is it something important?". Then the secretary comes in and profusely offers some fake apologies along with other pseudo-welcoming offers of help translating stuff, and says, "Don't worry, in a few weeks you'll be able to read German" and I forcefully barked "Don't count on it". Since then, I guess she communicated my reaction to her superiors and as a result, no one at work bothers me any more about the language, whereas before, they kept dropping hints which I ignored since I don't like confrontation. I guess with Germans, the direct and firm approach is the only one that works. In general (there are exceptions) they really have no limits or respect for people. They take every advantage they can.

 

I got more bold the next time we were having lunch and suddenly they all switched to German. I closed my eyes and just sat there for about 5 min and pretended to nod off until I heard a noise and quickly got up and said "Oh, look I drifted off, got lots of work to do" and left.

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I have been seriously mobbed for the last 10 days by my new boss. It is disgusting and unlike my company really. It seems to me that it is planned mobbing, to encourage me to leave without Abfindung. They are trying to reduce personnel headcount without any official lay off announcements.

Any suggestions?

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Any suggestions?

 

Head down, nose to the grindstone.

 

What size is your company/department? Do they have a union or a works council? Or an HR department?

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Why are you using the German word for harrasment?

 

Only asking because to me the phrase "My boss is mobbing me" is nonsense. Works in German but not in English.

 

As for suggestions - unless is gets physical then how about just ignoring it? Oh and make sure you have a witness to every interaction between you and your boss.

 

 

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What is a written warning?

Is there a German word for that?

 

I think the German word would be Abmahnung - two in a day is indeed very unusual.

 

I was never bullied at work, but harassed by my boss. As the company was his own, I quit immediately. If I had had any witnesses, I'd have taken him to court. He did try to make my life difficult afterwards, refused to send me my papers etc, but a letter from the then Arbeitsamt sorted him out very quickly.

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What size is your company/department? Do they have a union or a works council? Or an HR department?

 

Very large, ~180K in the world. No union or works council. HR must be part of this, as she insisted that I work for this boss/project, and prevented me from taking over any other project.

 

 

Why are you using the German word for harrasment?

 

I thought mobbing was an English word.

 

 

As for suggestions - unless is gets physical then how about just ignoring it? Oh and make sure you have a witness to every interaction between you and your boss.

 

I can't. She gives me wrong information, or doesn't give me information, so I can't do my job right. Insults me. Yelled at me in a restaurant in public (this just is not the usual level we act in my company). It is really only the last 10 days. Just before this I was rewarded for a job well done, which was more challenging. It's all planned I believe.

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Mobbing implies that there is a group of people harrassing you. Is that true or is it just your boss?

 

Have you asked your boss what's wrong? i.e. "I have noticed a change recently as though you're not happy with my work however before you were very happy. Has something changed?"

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Wow, fizzy, I wonder if that would work for a German in the UK? "Forget it, you can address me in my first language, i.e. German."

 

I'm surprised they put up with an attitude like that.

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Ewww, this actually happened to me as well. Only, I am not desperate for this job (I can look around elsewhere, just a pain to keep moving...)

so I finally put my foot down, on the next display of linguistic chauvinism: An email to all members of our department written in German by a secretary (they get the low-level people to do their dirty work) when all previous communications were in English (I'm the only non-German in my department by the way). I fired back a response that "This email is in the wrong language. Is it something important?". Then the secretary comes in and profusely offers some fake apologies along with other pseudo-welcoming offers of help translating stuff, and says, "Don't worry, in a few weeks you'll be able to read German" and I forcefully barked "Don't count on it". Since then, I guess she communicated my reaction to her superiors and as a result, no one at work bothers me any more about the language, whereas before, they kept dropping hints which I ignored since I don't like confrontation. I guess with Germans, the direct and firm approach is the only one that works. In general (there are exceptions) they really have no limits or respect for people. They take every advantage they can.

 

I got more bold the next time we were having lunch and suddenly they all switched to German. I closed my eyes and just sat there for about 5 min and pretended to nod off until I heard a noise and quickly got up and said "Oh, look I drifted off, got lots of work to do" and left.

 

I work for international companies and no matter which company or which country, I have never experienced anything else. It's utterly normal that a bunch or people sitting together sometimes end up speaking their native language, even if there's one or more guy sitting together with them not understanding a word. And native English speakers sometimes forget that someone else might require a little slower and easier English. It's human and not "linguistic chauvinism" or "dirty work".

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Mobbing implies that there is a group of people harrassing you. Is that true or is it just your boss?

Have you asked your boss what's wrong? i.e. "I have noticed a change recently as though you're not happy with my work however before you were very happy. Has something changed?"

 

It's just the boss, who is probably instructed by her boss. 2 weeks ago I had a different boss.

 

I started working for both of them 10 days ago. I wrote an email to HR and explained the situation shortly and wrote something like "since HR insisted that I work for them, allow me to suspect that this is a planned mobbing case", I also said I'm ready to accept a lay off case. Now this email will probably go around and I will definitely be fired. It's a shame really, I had high respect for my company in the past, but not any more.

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I can't. She gives me wrong information, or doesn't give me information, so I can't do my job right. Insults me. Yelled at me in a restaurant in public (this just is not the usual level we act in my company). It is really only the last 10 days. Just before this I was rewarded for a job well done, which was more challenging. It's all planned I believe.

 

Can you ask her to give you the information in written form, with a sweet 'just so I'm sure I get it right' smile? And if she yells at you in a restaurant, tell her calmly that you will not be treated like that, get up and leave (don't forget to pay ;-) ). Also, collect proof and ask her for a meeting. Have someone else present, i.e. sb from the HR department, a member of the Betriebsrat if you have one, but don't make it your 'best buddy' at work, it should be someone independent. Speak calmly, present your case and see what she says.

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It's just the boss, who is probably instructed by her boss. 2 weeks ago I had a different boss.

 

I started working for both of them 10 days ago. I wrote an email to HR and explained the situation shortly and wrote something like "since HR insisted that I work for them, allow me to suspect that this is a planned mobbing case", I also said I'm ready to accept a lay off case. Now this email will probably go around and I will definitely be fired. It's a shame really, I had high respect for my company in the past, but not any more.

 

It would have been better to just describe the situation to HR and ask what can be done about it - you cannot assume they were aware of, or even involved in, the mobbing, just because they asked you to work for that particular person?

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Now it's clear, since Thursday evening she cut me off from communication, somehow I hear it through others. No emails, no time for me.

 

Maybe it would have been better to ask HR in person, but we are not in the same location and I wanted to have it in writing that HR is informed about the situation. I work at a very risky project, and can be easily made the scapegoat. Meanwhile, all my vacation requests are rejected until 2010, including a 2 hour absence. My company is usually not this sick.

 

Btw, I am actually appreciating this experience. I was overcommitted to my work and company. Just two weeks ago, worked over 200 hours in two weeks, including two weekends. One has to open their eyes at one point :)

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Document, document, document.

 

Also think about how to raise the point that this persons attitude is putting a high risk project in jeopardy, this has the advantage though of not making you sound like a victim, but proactive and responsible. It is likely that this person's behaviour is already known so you don't have to make a big deal out of it.

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Sparkling, you can't seriously be wondering why your boss doesn't talk to you anymore, after you sent an eMail to HR without talking/writing to your boss or her boss first? Whether HR is part of a conspiracy against you or not, they would have spoken to your boss about your complaints?

 

Unfortunately, there is not much chance of solving the situation now, but if I were you, I'd contact HR and talk about the situation with your boss, telling them that you might have overreacted a bit in assuming that HR is part of the conspiracy (unless you have proof that they are, of course). And get them to talk to both of you, if necessary by phone conference?

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Has anyone noticed how it is nearly always women who are the worst for office bullying? With women it's always devious BS like cutting people off, refusing to send them emails, ignoring them flatly whilst being nice to everyone else, bitching, nasty body language, daggers. Why don't women like this stay at home and knit.

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I sit in the same room with a guy, he is a consultant from another company. A few days ago, two guys came to our room, spoke to him, hung around for a while and just as they were about to leave it turned out that they were in fact looking for me. I joked about how my colleagues who knew me only by email were expecting a man. After they left, I was joking "why did they think I was a man, I was actually very nice in my emails" to which he replied "maybe that's why :D". My current boss, just for another few day hopefully, has a bad reputation. I wouldn't even call her a 'bitch', that implies a female human being. I would rather call her a monster.

 

She is trying to behave civil when she sees me, but cut me off from communication and is very careful about what she says or does. She mobbed a colleague yesterday and is kicking him out. The guy is a manager, and while he wasn't in the room she told all the juniors that are supposed to report to him, that she asked him to leave, it wouldn't work, he is not what she thought he is, instead she brought in guy X, here he is, he is great, etc. As if the juniors need to know this all. Of course it is all weird with the manager now, he has to stay for two weeks. I don't think she even realizes that she is mobbing sometimes.

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Sparkling, you can't seriously be wondering why your boss doesn't talk to you anymore, after you sent an eMail to HR without talking/writing to your boss or her boss first? Whether HR is part of a conspiracy against you or not, they would have spoken to your boss about your complaints?

 

Unfortunately, there is not much chance of solving the situation now, but if I were you, I'd contact HR and talk about the situation with your boss, telling them that you might have overreacted a bit in assuming that HR is part of the conspiracy (unless you have proof that they are, of course). And get them to talk to both of you, if necessary by phone conference?

 

She cut the communication as of Thursday night, I wrote the email to HR Monday afternoon. I spoke to boss on Friday, and said I don't appreciate the way she treats me, but she not only didn't listen, started telling me insulting things. Her boss fully supports her, he is the one who wouldn't allow me to have any vacation until next year, including a 2 hr absence for a private matter. This whole thing is making me sick. All my life I had low blood pressure, today I found out it's very high and now staying at home trying to get well. This, in addition to the stomach virus.

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She cut the communication as of Thursday night, I wrote the email to HR Monday afternoon. I spoke to boss on Friday, and said I don't appreciate the way she treats me, but she not only didn't listen, started telling me insulting things. Her boss fully supports her, he is the one who wouldn't allow me to have any vacation until next year, including a 2 hr absence for a private matter. This whole thing is making me sick. All my life I had low blood pressure, today I found out it's very high and now staying at home trying to get well. This, in addition to the stomach virus.

 

Lol, sparkling... If I was to search your posts, I think Ill be able to identify 10 instances in which you were maltreated by people around you and in the workplace in the last month alone. Always it is conspiracy theories of women talking bad behind your back about you and them being supported by some sinister male overlord. Why don't you just leave that company, it seems to be hell on earth :rolleyes: .

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She cut the communication as of Thursday night, I wrote the email to HR Monday afternoon. I spoke to boss on Friday, and said I don't appreciate the way she treats me, but she not only didn't listen, started telling me insulting things. Her boss fully supports her, he is the one who wouldn't allow me to have any vacation until next year, including a 2 hr absence for a private matter. This whole thing is making me sick. All my life I had low blood pressure, today I found out it's very high and now staying at home trying to get well. This, in addition to the stomach virus.

 

Best thing against hight blood pressure is doing more sports and eating less fatty foods. That is no Doener for you after work... How about some vegan stuff at the Goetheplatz and after that a ten kilometre run in around Frankfurt. Or perhaps you should have more sexual contact. For what its worth it will probably make your partner treat you better as well.

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