Resigning due to bullying?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by wylie, 1st Apr, 2012.

  1. geoffw

    geoffw Untitled

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    There are legal paths available.

    The employer can issue written warnings, which are documented- the employee signs these- or a witness if the employee refuses.

    I think it's three of four warnings, when the employee can be terminated.

    The laws are against unfair dismissal- they are not against dismissal entirely.

    The employee I terminated had realised that the behaviour was wrong- and that the dismissal was fair.

    In many cases an oral warning is all that is necessary.
     
  2. weg

    weg Member

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    I think the big issue is when it ends up in court (probably wouldn't happen too often with short term casual Subway staff) and what is fair and unfair is disputed.

    Add unions to the mix and it can get even messier way before you issue warnings.
     
  3. jaycee

    jaycee Member

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    I'm unsure what you hopes a complaint letter will achieve.

    If leaving will satisfy you and get rid of the thorn in your side situation you are now in, then is the point of the letter to "get them back" ?"

    If it wasn't worth doing something about whilst you were still happy to work there\ to improve the situation while you were there for yourself and others, is it worth it now ?

    The thought of telling someone how I felt would make me feel better.. but I'm not so sure that it would have any positive effects besides that... and that feeling of satisfaction of going off at someone can feel be quite short....
     
    Last edited: 2nd Apr, 2012
  4. geoffw

    geoffw Untitled

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    If you follow the law with your warnings (for instance I think they must be in the presence of a witness) there should not be any problem with dismissing a bad employee.

    The laws are there to stop people being dismissed on a whim, without reason. They are not designed to force an employer to keep a bad employer.
     
  5. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Advance Australia fair

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    Wylie it's sad to hear that you are considering resigning from a job after just re-entering the workforce and enjoying it.

    what size is this company? do they have a HR department? do they have an employee counselling program, where you can receive x visits to a counsellor? a couple of visits might help you sort out a course of action.

    is this your bosses boss? or just a boss in the company? how senior are they?

    by the sounds of it you loath confrontation (or you would have confronted the situation already). but given your unique position of not needing employment, i think you owe it to yourself, and your colleagues to purse the matter.

    of course you could always become the CEO and fire her sorry ***!
     
  6. lizzie

    lizzie when i grow up ...

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    Haha - I know you don't need this advice, but I'll say it in case anyone else is in the situation.

    Keep the emotion out of any complaint - and keep it absolutely factual - just like going to the Tribunal ;)

    Never know - you might get a promotion into the newly vacated position :eek:
     
  7. wylie

    wylie Member

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    It is rather an odd situation. The company does have all that, but I'm not sure I want the job that much as to go through it all. This boss used to manage our store, but now manages the whole state, but my immediate boss has stepped up to manage the store after working under this boss for more than a decade. The seagull cannot let go of her "baby" and is managing over the top of her, sabotaging her efforts to make the store her own, nitpicking the way the nice manager manages, and the staff on the days she drops in are expected to ignore our manager and answer to her, which is difficult to ignore as she does run the state. My immediate boss has had enough and is looking for another job.

    Funnily enough, when the seagull drops in, the atmosphere changes completely. She throws stock about in a panic, get this done, get that done. I have said to her on numerous occasions when she has come out from the back room flapping her arms about saying "why aren't those books on the shelves yet. I gave them to you half an hour ago?" I have replied "I've been serving customers. I could ignore them and do the books." (said jokingly to lessen the sting). "You know, when you are not here this all gets done, but much more calmly. Leave it with me and I'll do it between serving customers." I try to be calm and not be impudent.

    Talk is that the seagull will slip back into our store. Normally that would mean she still isn't there any more often than she is now. However with my immediate boss looking for a new job she may well be there more than one day a fortnight (bearable) and if that is the case, I will not work with her. She sets my teeth on edge, and I'm not there for anything more than my enjoyment, and of course the pocket money. I enjoy helping people, and the customers are mostly very nice, but that doesn't make up for having to put up with a crappy boss.

    So this is why a situation that has simmered along, but has been bearable, is looking like it might turn to custard.

    So, in answer to Jaycee's question, I'm not sure whether I would be happy to simply give her a good telling off and resign, or whether I should make a complaint. My concern is that many people from the company who call, make veiled comments about her. She is a bit of a joke, but nobody has done anything about it, so a little casual from one store is hardly going to make them do something when they haven't bothered before.

    Maybe nobody has had the guts to make a complaint before.

    Basically, everybody is scared of her, and I suppose she could make their working life a misery, and if they need the job, they just keep quiet and put up with the bullying and intimidation.

    I'll ponder on it a bit though, try to work out what I want from making a complaint and make a decision when I know if she is going to be in my life more than she is now.

    I'm really sorry this thread has taken on a life of its own :p. I really just wanted to know the implications of making a complaint when (if?) I resign.
     
  8. Macca

    Macca Member

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    Hi Wylie,

    I am thinking that you are possible the only person who works there who is in a position to take this up the ladder a bit.

    I would diarise perhaps 10 examples of unprofessional behaviour with staff and customers and then take that to her bosses. My wife works in an organisation that won't/can't do anything until someone makes a complaint.

    I would not get all steamed up over it, simply say that in your experience you consider this type of behaviour to be damaging to the business and believe they should be made aware of it and then leave it up to the bosses.

    If they choose to ignore it or do nothing then the problem is on their heads isn't it.
     
  9. wylie

    wylie Member

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    This sort of reply is so sensible, like many other replies. Thank you.
     
  10. Macca

    Macca Member

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    I didn't actually answer your question did I:eek:

    No, I would not be resigning and stating my reasons, I would be simply bringing it to the bosses attention and then I would consider quietly leaving if/only after things "got out of hand"

    I really don't think people like this are worth the angst of creating enemies, some people are extremely vindictive, especially mentally unstable ones and it simply is not worth putting a weapon in writing IMO.

    Enjoy the fact that you are in a comfortable financial position and you have options that possibly no other employee has.
     
  11. geoffw

    geoffw Untitled

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    Something else to be borne in mind- not directly relevant to Wylie, sorry- but something I remembered relevant to another post in the thread.

    Somebody pointed out earlier in the thread about the problems of dismissing staff.

    However, I was running more of a risk retaining that staff member than dismissing. By retaining a staff member who was harassing/bullying/just making things difficult, I was running a very big risk of getting sued by people who had been harassed. Once I had been made aware of an adverse situation, if I could not show that I took positive action, then I could be in trouble.

    In fact I was quizzed by OH&S audit people about how I would handle such a situation, and I was able to respond about how I did handle it.

    If Wylie does choose to inform management, they then have a responsibility to act.
     
  12. weg

    weg Member

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    Following the correct process AND having clear cut grounds to sack (theft, clear threats, violence or abuse of other employees/clients, refusing to carry out duties, etc.) AND having proof of what they're accused of usually poses minimal if any problems, as you point out.

    The nature of some problems, and proof showing you have grounds to sack, are not always as clear cut and simple as that however, hence the employer being hesitant in acting (till they have clear grounds to sack), otherwise they end up in a courtroom that favours the sacked employee.

    This was the group I was referring to - often just as big a problem as the 'easily sacked' but protected because they know the law too and are prepared to fight it out.
     
  13. pennyk

    pennyk Member

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    Thats a really good point..

    Weg also makes a good point that having unions etc involves add complications to unfair dismissal. I have a friend who is dealing with a difficult employee who is threatening to get a very powerful union involved in their disciplinary action. Fortunately, it looks like there are enough other supportive employees (who find this employee difficult to work with) to minimise the risk.

    I had to go thru the 3 step warning process with someone last year. It was my first experience of having to do that. The challenge for me was that this person was a really nice person, they were just not the right person for the job, and were not able to do it effectively. They really wanted to just "try harder" and thought that if they did, they would be effective. It was hard, because you could see that the job was also sucking the life out of them, but they were loyal and didnt want to "give up".....It would have been easier for me if they were a horrible person... It was a challenge to really think thru and clearly articulate the reasons for the warnings. Part of that process is you need to have clear actions that the person can put into place to change their behaviour, which have to be fair and achievable etc... it was a very long and involved process, which took several months to work through. But a good learning experience for me.... and I hope the employee as well.
     
  14. shopgirl

    shopgirl Member

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    Interesting thread.

    Wylie - this person is just your average BULLY and you need to stand up to her. The problem seems to be that she gets away with her horrible behaviour because everyone is scared of her....!!!!!!

    Get some self esteem, get a loud voice, hold your head up high and stand up to the bully !

    I had to stand up to a bully in my work place. She treats me like a queen now !
     
  15. wylie

    wylie Member

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    Thanks shopgirl. I am usually too gobsmacked to answer when she suddenly comes out with an outburst, especially when it is done in front of customers. It is like being hit from behind when least expecting it.

    When it is something I feel strongly about, I tend to get my words in order, and have approached when I've calmed down. I have raised the issue in the back office and, to be honest, the couple of times I've done that, she has been fairly quiet, no further outburst, has listened, not said much, but left me alone for the rest of her visit. Next visit it is back to normal :D.

    But I think you are right. She gets away with it because nobody is game to stand up to her.
     
  16. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Advance Australia fair

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    will you?

    no one likes confrontation, but take one for the team Wylie?
     
  17. marg4000

    marg4000 Member

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    Wylie, stand in front of a mirror and practice saying "Please don't speak to me like that" in a calm but firm voice.

    Have it well rehearsed so if/when your boss comes out with something outrageous look her straight in the eye and repeat that phrase. Nothing more. If you boss continues, say it again. And again. Be like a broken record. Do not be provoked into retalliating in the heat of the moment.

    It doesn't matter who else is within hearing as you are making a simple statement.
    Marg
     
  18. kathryn d

    kathryn d Member

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    I would say that may be the most important part.
     
  19. pennyk

    pennyk Member

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  20. sarah888

    sarah888 Member

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    Hi Wylie,

    Just thought I'd post another opinion for your consideration.

    As mentioned by GeoffW, the HR department/upper management have a vested interest in ensuring all employees have a safe working environment. Reading through your comments it seems that you're not the only person who has been impacted by bullying behaviour and that you have very valid grounds to make a complaint.

    Unfortunately, many people are lacking self-confidence, don't understand their rights, or are too scared of the consequences to make a complaint of bullying. If you have the strength and support network to make a complaint to HR then I strongly encourage you to do so. IMHO it is highly unlikely this would impact you negatively.

    Just so that you know, there are legal protections for you in situations like this one. If you were to remain in employment and make a bullying complaint (ie. not resign), then find that the behaviour continued, increased, or escalated to the employer terminating your employment, you would have an avenue for action with FWA under the Adverse Action provisions. Whilst I'm sure that you don't want to go down such a path, I mention this only as your HR department should understand their legal obligations and be interested in protecting your rights.

    Whichever option you choose to take, I wish you the best of luck with the situation. It sounds like a particularly uncomfortable work environment and certainly not one that anyone should have to endure.