Plaintiff: Bullying an epidemic at Fortune 100 company in Colorado
Imagine waking up every day and going to work, only to be told you’re not good enough and you don’t fit in.
That’s what happened to this employee, whose identity we are protecting because she still works for a company that she says is bullying her.
“It’s hard on a day-to-day basis to get up each day and start fresh,” the woman said. “You can start with a new attitude. But as the day goes on, this kind of treatment just continues to chip away at you.”
This woman works for a large Fortune 100 company. And she says she faces regularly discrimination from her boss.
“I have been referred to in terms that he has never used to describe anyone else,” the woman said. “Things that really are derogatory.”
We aren’t mentioning the exact terms this woman is referring to in order to further protect her identity. But she says this treatment is so derogatory and consist that it has begun to affect her well-being.
“I have experienced a lot of health issues, lately,” the woman said. “Previously I was a very healthy individual — could work around the clock. That’s not the case anymore.”
In addition to the physical toll she says this bullying is taking on her, this woman also said her boss is affecting her standing with the company. She says this is due to her boss stealing the credit for the work she has done.
On one occasion, the woman says her work directly contributed to her boss getting a promotion. Meanwhile, she says no one in the company was even aware she had worked on the project.
“He was able to get it approved on a national level,” the woman said. “It was then rolled out to the entire country. It killed me that my role in that work was not identified.”
According to HealthyWorkPlaceBill.org, office bullying can trigger many stress-related health problems like hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety and even post traumatic stress disorder.
Statistics show that 49 percent of adults have been bullied or witnessed it, and 72 percent of office bullies are bosses.
Dr. Audrey Nelson has been a consultant and trainer for 30 years for Fortune 500 companies. She says workplace bullies are becoming more common, and they’re not always easy to spot.
“When we think of bullies, what first comes to mind is someone who is offensive — verbally and non-verbally,” Nelson said. “The type of bullies that really get my attention — because they can hide out a little bit — are the backstabbers, the passive/aggressive people who can create a lot of sabotage.”
Nelson says if someone is bullying you at work, make sure you stand up for yourself and do it in writing.
“Document, document, document,” Nelson said. “Emails have a date stamp. They have your name on it and the recipient’s, so you don’t need to judge the behavior. You can recount the behavior.”
The woman who spoke to us has since hired a lawyer and plans to file a lawsuit against her employer. Attorney Jim Abrams says his client’s case is not uncommon, especially not at her company.
“They’ve had previous litigation filed against them where the plaintiff was successful,” Abrams said. “And you know what? This company has not learned anything from it.”
One reason workplace bullying is so common, Abrams says, is due to the fear of coming forward. He claims this is a fear that has become heightened in the bad economy, with employees fearful of losing their jobs.
“They fear the retaliation,” Abrams said. “I’m here to trying to allay that fear. These victims need to know there are people like me who are willing to fight for them.”