Our Manager Appeases Bullies. What Can We Do?

Recently, my colleague and I carefully documented and reported acts of long-term bullying by two of our coworkers. Soon afterward, HR summoned the entire department for a mandatory meeting where our boss’s manager and the top HR manager yelled and reprimanded us. We were told our complaints were petty and stupid, and that their time was wasted.

A few weeks later, another meeting was called where we received similar, abusive treatment after my colleague stood up to one of our bullies, and she reported it. It was made clear to us that no one was going to be fired, and if we didn’t feel the culture was a good fit, we were welcome to leave.

My question is: do we have any recourse for this treatment by HR and upper management?

To read my answer, click here: Our Manager Appeases Bullies. What Can We Do?

Leave your own in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “Our Manager Appeases Bullies. What Can We Do?

  1. While I agree with your comments in general, there is also the possibility that the complaints truly were petty. I have received a number of complaints over the years where people used the term bullying, and it just was not.

    1. Even if they were petty, a good HR will stil cultivate a culture where employees feel welcome and safe reporting negative activity. A good HR would have sat the two complainants down and simply told them that complaints of that nature were not something HR would act on – not berate them in front of an entire department. Doing that, they probably scared off anyone that DOES have a legitimate concern to report.

    2. But petty or otherwise, nobody should be reprimanded publically. The complaints might have been petty, but calling them stupid? in front of an audience? That’s about the worst possible management style. Sure, tell people it’s not actually bullying, but don’t humiliate them in front of their peers for daring to make a complaint.

  2. Giving advice without knowing exactly what the “bullying” consisted of is very very dangerous and very very very bad HR advice. Immediately you took a stand base on almost no substantive evidence from the employees. Perhaps the “bullying” was comments about the poor the work the employee was doing, or about the “bullied” person coming in late or missing work. You don’t know do you? Again another piece of evidence that your alleged human resources background is limited (if it exists at all). Very poor article.

    1. Parker Davis, knowing what kind of bullying it was is irrelevant to the article. The point is that the letter writer’s HR has proven that they don’t react proactively or positively when employees come forward which should be a warning sign to the letter writer.

    2. Wait, Parker are you the top HR manager she’s talking about? It certainly sounds like it.

  3. Oh a very slippery slope indeed. It has been my expierence that when HR permiates a culture of acceptance for bad behavior, they are getting that message from leadership. I would be very cautious escalating the issue.

    If you choose to escalate, be menatlly prepared for any result other than what you would like to see. Character’s like Norma Rae, who enact wholesale changes to workplaces exist in movies.

    I’m afraid I can’t apologise for my cynicism, as I’ve seen too many careers derailed by high ego leadership with low emotional intelligence.

    If you can get out of your head, focus on what great looks like for yourself, and that can be accomplished at your present job…go for it. If not, I would recommend moving on.

    1. Laurie speaks the truth. Better to get out than be thrown out. It’s hard to explain that you were fired for reporting bullying. Odds are great that the interviewer will decide you are probably the issue. It’s just not something that rational people are familiar with seeing. “Really? You were fired for documenting your boss’s drug abuse, it’s affect on the project, and a possible risk to her safety (driving impaired)??” Yes, Yes I did.

      Get out. Leave a review on Glassdoor once you are gone. Best of luck Letter Writer.

  4. Well said, Laurie Manning. I’ve cultivated, through painful experience, a cynical and pessimistic view of HR (EHRL excepted). When my son-in-law died tragically in a car accident, leaving 3 children and a pregnant wife, I had to make repeated requests to get my HR to call me back. It’s like they lack basic human decency.

  5. Based on the limited information on exact wording/examples of the “bullying tactics “ complaints, an employee’s recourse after that public shaming meeting is to lay low and really think about the pros and cons of the job versus their reaction to alleged bullying. There’s a reason why there was a public meeting of al employees. The job sounds like one of those where employees have to follow a strict control policy on job performance as in a team effort and the individuals complaining about bullying don’t work best in a group but prefer to preform job under less supervision.
    Again this points to thoroughly understanding the type of job prior to accepting position, which we don’t have any information as to length of time in position.
    Article gave the best advice—don’t fight the situation either mold to fit in or leave.

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