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possible psychopath at work

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I have a co- worker who I suspect might be a psychopath... definitely he has some kind of personality disorder. When I met him he appeared to be a good talker, able to tell jokes but arrogant. Step by step I realized he is a manipulator and lies. Also he enjoys hurting people. He often says demeaning things and when the other one shows hurt he smirks. I think it makes him happy. He does something and when caught he without hesitation or any emotion turns the thing around and blames the other person.

 

He used to be interim manager of a department after the old manager left. Now he has a new manager and from the start tries to undermine him. He walks around the office and tells everyone how incapable the boss is. He makes jokes about him as soon as the new boss leaves the room even if managing directors are present. He does it well because the jokes are innocent enough and even the directors laugh. But the jokes always put the new boss down. Always. And he is doing this now for months. He even goes to the assistant of the boss and tells her how stupid the new boss is, reads his emails aloud to point to errors and clearly states that he will do anything to get rid of the new boss. He openly tells other departments that he is the head of the department.

 

Needlessly to say this has been communicated to the new boss several times and he tried to get rid of him and failed!!! I can't believe it. Somehow top management protects him. HR was so honest to communicate that they already tried to get rid of him but can't. I should add that this co-worker earns a lot of money and is known to be lazy. 

 

Problem now is he developed and interest in a female co-worker, he touches her, tousles her hair with his head etc. Disgusting. She is fearful because she was told by others to not go head to head with him because he is aggressive and protected by someone high.

 

I never ever have had such a co-worker. His behaviour is not in the normal range. Lucky me I am not his target as my internal warning went off early with regards to him. And basically from the beginning I have given him nothing then polite distant coolness. However I am very interested in solutions if any, how to handle people like him especially with regards to his interest in the female co-worker and maybe somebody has an idea on why management would protect him??? He is expensive, lazy like hell, toxic ( all other departments refused to accept him) and a manipulator. Who wants such an employee???

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My guess is management is just as afraid of him as everyone else.

 

As you probably know you can't fire people easily after probezeit, and you need solid grounds to do so. It doesn't sound like they want him but that they simply can't get rid of him.

 

Wrt your female colleague, you haven't told us much about her response. Does she just let him touch her with no complaint? How often do other people witness this and what is their response? There are varying degrees of going head to head with a creep but I suggest that she needs to take some action for the very reason that she is fearful! You can't live like that. You just can't.

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A very difficult situation.

In the end if HR and senior management don't have the balls to just fire the guy then there is not much that can be done.  

 

 

However, I think that his interest in this female co-worker might help.  This is basically sexual harassment.  The woman might be afraid, so why don't you make a formal complaint to HR about what you have seen?  This might be just the evidence they need to get rid of him.

 

And then put pressure on HR and management that such behaviour should not and must not be tolerated, and he must be fired!  Try and convince others who are sympathetic to also make complaints about what they have seen and also apply pressure.  Everything else which has happened in the past is irrelevant in this case.

 

 

EDIT:

 

I assume that there is not works council or union which could help?

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I would agree aside from the fact that op is a third party to the harassment and if he's the only one speaking up this could turn against him easily. Better would be for her to make the complaint after securing support from co-workers who are willing to back up her accusations as witnesses. 

 

If she has so far offered no protest when he touches her that is also important. She needs to tell him to stop any time he does something like that so that no one can claim she didn't seem bothered, at the very least

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12 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

I would agree aside from the fact that op is a third party to the harassment and if he's the only one speaking up this could turn against him easily. Better would be for her to make the complaint after securing support from co-workers who are willing to back up her accusations as witnesses. 

 

If she has so far offered no protest when he touches her that is also important. She needs to tell him to stop any time he does something like that so that no one can claim she didn't seem bothered, at the very least

 

 

I don't disagree with what you say, but I do feel that given the background info of the guy that we have been given that the poor woman is probably too scared.

 

Of course, in the end she will also have to make a complaint.  But I felt that if somebody else complains first that it might encourage HR to approach her, and then she might be more likely to open up.  Certainly other co-workers need to step up and support her.  But of course you are right in that if she gets support from others she might do this more willingly herself.

 

Although confrontational, it might be an idea for one co-worker to actively say to the guy to "stop that and leave her alone" when they spot him harassing her.  In order to force the situation.  Often, once one person stands up to the bully then others will also do the same.

 

 

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Agree. But it sounds like everyone is terrified of him. She should not wait for someone else to rescue her in the heat of the moment...oh gosh, for so many reasons!

 

But it's pointless to get into this without more details from the op. Hopefully he'll tell us more

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1 hour ago, Namu said:

Problem now is he developed and interest in a female co-worker, he touches her, tousles her hair with his head etc. Disgusting. She is fearful because she was told by others to not go head to head with him because he is aggressive and protected by someone high.

 

Sexual Harrassment Panda says report his ass

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This is a very difficult situation and this person sounds more like a narcissist that a psychopath but whatever they are, they are a very nasty piece of work. It seems they have worked their way into the company and then manipulated their way into the hearts of the Senior Management and once they did this, they showed their true self and know that they can be as nasty as they want to be because they can't be fired.

 

It would be interesting to see why they are being protected by the Senior Management i.e. close friends with them outside of work, a relative, friend of a friend, Masons, etc.? Normally Senior Management won't stop someone who is on a lower level from being fired as it doesn't affect them or their job in any way so it suggests there is more to their relationship than just working for the same company.

 

The issue with him now sexually harassing a female co-worker now makes it completely unacceptable and it could be worthwhile reporting this to HR once again and mentioning to them that if it continues then it could result in the woman seeking legal help to put a stop to the situation and this would put the company in the public eye and more details about his behaviour, how long it has been going on for and the fact that the company hasn't been willing/able to do anything about this would become public knowledge and it wouldn't be very favourable for the company.

 

You could also try to find out more about this person's past and who their previous employer was as these sort of people don't suddenly start behaving in this way and he probably behaved in a similar fashion in their last company as well.

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I would ask for a meeting with the boss and say that there is a problem. Document how many times a week these things are happening and say it is up to him if he is happy being insulted and a potential sex harassment case. Get him to talk to the coworkers to see if they agree with your anonymous version. At least then it is documented and known. He can then submit a report to HR. 

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I think others above have provided very useful advice and agree that it's important to document each and every incident (what, when, who witnessed it, etc.) with a view to making a complaint. It sounds as if there will be no shortage of material. Perhaps HR/senior management will be more willing to act if they're presented with a written complaint file and the implicit prospect of legal action.

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now that I'm not on my phone...

 

it's easy to say "she should just report him" as someone who will likely never ever face such a scenario themselves.  

 

there are many reasons a woman might be afraid to report such problems and sadly most of them are actually based on tangible risks to their careers.  I'm not going to go into them in detail but there are some great example discussions on stack exchange on the topic.  This one is pretty classic:   https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3676/returning-to-the-workplace-after-sexual-harassment-and-arrest-of-harasser

 

Do read the very first comment:  " Did you discuss with HR before going to police? Do you have evidence? "  Yeah!  she will likely face questions like that. 

 

The common thread in most of these scenarios is that it is in no way enough to simply report a sexual harasser.  It's sad but true that the offender can easily squirm out of an unsubstantiated accusation with things like "oh she misunderstood" or "oh she never said it made her uncomfortable, I thought she liked it" or even go so far as to claim victimhood himself "can't you see she is trying to ruin my career!!! women are so evil!!!"  I can EASILY imagine the response if one of her coworkers reports it: "oh he is jealous - HE is the one who has a crush on her" or something in that direction.  don't kid yourself, this shit happens ALL THE TIME.  the offender knows damn well what he's doing, he enjoys it, and has likely been getting away with it for a long time by building the skills to weasel out of any repercussions. 

 

This particular dude sounds like he will absolutely make every attempt to weasel out of any accusation and instead direct scrutiny on the people accusing him, and there is a strong possibility he will be successful based on what's said so far.

 

I do not think it's enough to try to "force" a manager to look into it as people may not speak up because they are afraid of the perp twisting it back and they may end up in the crosshairs.  

 

In general this is what I would suggest: 

 

she needs to start telling him to stop, very clearly, as calmly as she can muster, and in no uncertain terms:  "do not touch me, ever" or whatever, the admonishment needs to name the offending behavior.  She needs to do this herself as if a dynamic develops wherein she is verbally "rescued" by third parties, she has still not personally made it very clear that the behavior is not ok with her, but it's also more likely he will start trying to harass her when no one else is around.  THIS IS HORRIBLE for her.  By all means support her and echo the criticism of his behavior, but don't try to rescue her.  She *needs* to be able to stand up for herself as she may not always have backup.

 

once she is making it abundantly clear to him that what he is doing is not ok, you have more to work with wrt offering witness support.  you can say "on this occasion, he was doing x and y, she told him to stop and he keeps doing it" or whatever.  It's not really enough to just say "he's a disgusting creep" as even if everyone knows this and would swear it's true true true! it's not specific enough to be actionable in a truly disciplinary scenario.

 

best thing to do would be to get any witness statements in writing before she goes to HR or the boss about it.  that way you already have a collection of people who are willing to confirm what she alleges and has documented herself.

 

 

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I can't go behind the back of my female co-worker and report this. She has talked to me in confidence about this. What we have done so far is rearranged her furniture so that he cannot sneak up behind her anymore. Meaning her desk is now facing the door and she can use it to put distance between him and her. She also will start to say clearly that she doesn't want to be touched. As I mentioned before she was advised by other colleagues to not take him on because he can switch instantly and becomes very aggressive. So how do you get a psychopath or narcissists to lose interest? He is not in love. But what about he be looking for? The thrill?

 

The boss knows what the guy has been doing behind his back except the harassment. He has talked to HR. Apparently the guy did have problems before and HR has tried to get rid of him and failed. So we are stuck with this guy. We discussed looking for new jobs. This is an option one other co-worker has already taken. She is leaving the company because of him. However, this should really only be the ultima ratio. But even I am know starting to think that I might not want to work for such a company. I am still in complete amazment that this type of human being can sit there protected and well paid and do his evil deeds.

 

Thanks for all your answer.

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32 minutes ago, Namu said:

But what about he be looking for?

 

I'd guess he enjoys knowing that he has the power to frighten her and make her uncomfortable. 

 

I don't recommend this in a profi situation (ha! noooo!!) but I had a boss once who would pinch our butts when we bent over to scoop ice cream at work.  It was just disgusting and all of us had told him to stop, to no avail - he liked it when we got pissed off - so one time I pinched his butt when he was bent over.  it was worth it just to see the look on his face, but even better, he stopped pinching us after that :)   I just did it out of revenge and to give him a taste of his own bullshit, not with any particular outcome in mind, but apparently I accidentally found his kryptonite and that just put an end to it. 

 

bullies in general lose interest if they don't get the "satisfaction" of overpowering, distressing or intimidating their targets.  Unfortunately they are all different and use different techniques to push people's buttons so it's hard to identify a sure fire strategy for dealing with them.  Every bully has their kryptonite, but honestly, if you can find another job or otherwise eliminate interaction with them, that's usually the best course of action for your own sake.

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11 hours ago, Namu said:

I can't go behind the back of my female co-worker and report this. She has talked to me in confidence about this.

Then you break that confidence and blab it all over a social media platform!

 

Brilliant!

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11 hours ago, lisa13 said:

I don't recommend this in a profi situation (ha! noooo!!) but I had a boss once who would pinch our butts when we bent over to scoop ice cream at work.  It was just disgusting and all of us had told him to stop, to no avail - he liked it when we got pissed off - so one time I pinched his butt when he was bent over.  it was worth it just to see the look on his face, but even better, he stopped pinching us after that :)   

 

That has worked for others too because I've heard a couple of stories like that. 

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Next time he comes by and messes wit you, take your nail clipper out and clip your toe nails while he's talking to you.  Take a pause, and stick your pinky up your nose and dig in. Force a sneeze in his direction, cover up with your hands and pretend to wipe the snot on your blouse or arms.  Give him a creepy seductive gaze and ask him if he's ok.

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1 hour ago, Techsmex said:

Next time he comes by and messes wit you, take your nail clipper out and clip your toe nails while he's talking to you.  Take a pause, and stick your pinky up your nose and dig in. Force a sneeze in his direction, cover up with your hands and pretend to wipe the snot on your blouse or arms.  Give him a creepy seductive gaze and ask him if he's ok.

 

Not sure this is serious.    If she would be alone in the office with him, this could be a possibility.   Otherwise, compromising one's dignity is playing into the bully's hands.     

 

@Namu

 

This sounds like a typical bullying situation and is about power.  

 

The HR department and upper management (where applicable) need to be put in a position where they are not sure if they have more fear of this "protected" person or a lawsuit.    If your colleague makes the lives of HR and upper management miserable, they might hate her or retaliate.   It would be unfair, but 

 

 

Your colleague needs to tell the guy that she does not want to be touched and document everything with HR and in her own private records.   If your colleague feels intimidated, physically, mentally, or otherwise, confronting this guy will be very difficult, but absolutely necessary.    If there is no pushback, and HR asks "did you ever tell him to stop doing that?"   then the case won't be as strong. 

 

Good luck. 

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8 hours ago, SpiderPig said:

Then you break that confidence and blab it all over a social media platform!

 

Brilliant!

 

It`s okay Piggy, nobody knows us here - we are all anonymous :ph34r:

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Brilliant Techsmex. But I'm guessing the victim is too young to pull this one off. Now I'm in my 50s I might just about manage it :D

 

These people are unfortunately all over the workplace and do not wear forehead labels. You suss 'em out as you goes along. I have met several down the years. One sleaze bag slut with big tits and next to no brain I worked with shagged and sucked and then blackmailed the guys. There was quite a staff turnover in the department. Many hated her, some sucked up to her. Interesting to see how folk reacted. She was of course shagging the boss so was protected. And had a fat salary. Undeserved. Maybe the perp in question is shagging someone in high places?

 

They are very good at finding the limits. Like who is gonna make a huge fuss cos a bloke touched their hair? Or cornered them behind their desk by sitting opposite legs aggressively akimbo? You can but coolly muse aloud whether that body language is apt. They will pretend not to know what you mean. Or claim you are over-sensitive or one-track minded...

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