Boss Called My Wife A Bitch

Question:

Can I sue over the fact that my wife’s boss used that language to her?

Signed,

Angry Husband

Answer:

Dear Angry Husband:

You wouldn’t be able to sue about something said to your wife, because you aren’t the injured person in the situation. And, whether your wife could sue or not would depend upon a number of circumstances. If this is a one of many situations involving this type of behavior, your wife may wish to consult an attorney about the matter. Usually attorney’s will provide a free consultation over the phone.

We always advise people in such cases to look at the totality of the workplace and consider if this is something that happens often or was it a one-time angry moment–and what happened after that moment. Further, to consider if there was some aggravating behavior that contributed to a verbal altercation in the first place. It is also worthwhile to look at your wife’s response to the name calling–did she confront it, respond in a similar manner or laugh about it, as though it were a joke.

If her workplace is one that has upper managers, perhaps they should be notified. Your wife could write to the person who called her a name, to say how upsetting it was and to express that she would like to discuss it and get an apology and reassurance that it won’t happen again.

If things have been bad in every other way, this may be a situation your wife needs to leave. If she likes her job and things have generally gone well, she probably should try to work things out without legal action. That is a decision she will need to make, based on the large picture of her work.

Best wishes to her and to you in this challenging situation.

read more

Owner Plays Blame Game and Berates Everyone

Question:

I Jump Through Hoops For Fear But The Owner Berates Me! I went back to work for a family owned manufacturing company. I adore my co-workers; we all work hard. I was hired on as a Customer Service Manager. I handle customers, in the showroom and on the phone and I do the invoicing for the repairs of equipment and assist my Purchasing Mgr, along with other details that I keep up with. The issue at hand is this: the owner berates, yells and blames every employee in this company for his “special projects”. Meaning there are equipment sales made that exceed our 7 to 10 day turn around. Not everything is in stock per his set min/max requirements on parts. We all jump through hoops, and when the hammer comes down, he begins his blame games, putting everyone down. It is harmful, it is stressing beyond anyone’s normal level of acceptance. He ranted and raved at me in front of customers, and wouldn’t let it go on confronting me on Monday to the point he was in my face, every 30 minutes to make his point in nasty manner, and I didn’t want to listen to his belittle and his unprofessional manners in which he demanded answers to questions he wouldn’t allow me to provide proof of. He accused me of not getting something down, when he pulled me from said task to do another task, and this is a continued hostile effect on my work ability for his blaming me on one thing when he had me directed in another area. I understand there are laws to prevent this. It is now affecting me in a form of a hive outbreak, and tears off and on when I leave the work place. It isn’t as if I can just leave, when I have responsibilities and bills to pay. Can you stir me in the right direction? Is there a law against verbal abuse in the work place?

read more

On Active Duty Seen As Troublemaker!

Question:

I reviewed your web site and found most of the information on that site to be useful. That is why I am writing to you. I am currently on active duty. I am enlisted and in the USAF. My current position is that I am the Medical Readiness Non Commissioned Officer in Charge. How I got to this current job position is that I was originally recruited from another base to be a paramedic. Once I got to my current assignment I was not well received and was the victim of a political game. I was falsely accused of over medicating a patient with morphine.

I filed an IG complaint and a congressional inquiry. Needless to say the people that orchestrated the political game were very good at lying and providing deception. Because of how I have been treated in the past I am now seen as a troublemaker and am the subject of many rumors, and malicious lies. The enlisted person that is the superintendent (who was also mentioned in the congressional inquiry) is now orchestrating another political game to try and get me fired and possibly kicked out of the military. Needless to say I feel powerless to challenge this mans lies and deceptions. Because of his position he has the ability to influence people to provide statements against people even though the statements are false. My chain of command (officers and above) see him as a senior NCO and therefore credible. I have tried getting legal counsel, however because I am in the military I am told, “That is how it is supposed to be”. Please help.

read more

What’s The Research On Verbal Abuse?

Question:

I’m a Ph.D. student doing my research on verbal abuse in the workplace and was looking for some research or a study that will assist in this research endeavor. I’ve read your website and many of the questions that people ask are in line with what I’m trying to study. I’d appreciate any help you can offer.

Signed,

Looking For Abuse

Answer:

Dear Looking For Abuse:

It’s great to learn of your interest. I first became involved with the topic when doing a series of studies with Dominic Infante on verbal aggression (that includes verbal abuse and disrespecting the person) and argumentativeness (that includes willingness to argue but not to disparage the worth of the person with whom you are arguing). So with those two terms you can find a series of such studies in our journals. Also the term incivility has come into use and studies by other researchers outside our discipline have found that incivility escalates and that physical abuse is almost always preceded by it. Bullying is another term that has emerged, and especially in Europe, practioners have prescribed preventative rules and regulations about it. On the Internet you will find sources such as The Bully Bulletin.

Where are you doing your work and who is your advisor? I trust that you will keep me posted on your work and will from time to time be willing to serve as a guest respondent? Our archive search engine should provide access to questions and our advice on the topic of verbal abuse. Probably you could do a content analysis of the questions to learn more how those who write describe their experiences with those who abuse. Also, I’m sending you a chapter that I have written (as yet unpublished) for a book that targets nonacademic personnel. You will notice the golfing metaphor.

Will you let me know if these remarks provide a little guidance? Hopefully, you can get out into the workplace to see first hand how verbal abuse hurts working relationships and ultimately focus on those conditions and factors that prevent and help targets cope. WEGO comes from collaborative research and working.

read more

My Boss Calls Me A Knucklehead!

Question:

I need help desperately. My boss has it in for me and has had for some time now. I’ve worked for this company for 7 years, under him and it’s reaching the point that I’m having panic attacks and feeling physically sick every time I’m scheduled to work with him. I have made a mountain of mistakes at this job, I admit that. I always take responsibility for them, and either do what I can to fix them or take notes so it doesn’t happen again. I have never denied anything that I did wrong.

The problem I’m having is that each time a mistake occurs, it is thrown back at me to fix it. I’ve been called and “Idiot” and “knuckle-head” and if anything happens that is a mistake, and no one knows who did it, it comes back on me. If I can’t prove I didn’t do it, I just take it and fix it, but recently I thought I proved that I didn’t make a particular mistake, and he called me liar. He has said that he wished he could fire me, but I don’t do anything wrong enough to warrant it. He said this to my face! He also talks behind my back and thinks I won’t find out. All my other co-workers are angels. They don’t cover up for me, but they try to warn me ahead of time when he is on the war-path and tell me what he says when I’m not there.

No one can talk to upper management on my behalf without jeopardizing their job, and I wouldn’t ask it of them. But I don’t feel that I can either. He is constantly riding me about how I do my job. I do it the way he tells me. And the next week I’m doing it wrong and have to change to a different way because he said he never told me to do it the previous way. I recently went back to school full time, and before school started he said I’d have to quit because he wouldn’t work around my schedule. There are 3 other students that work there that he has no problem with. He’s pleasant to my face when he’s working on scheduling but then I find out that he tries laying traps for me to get into trouble. He’s been caught in lies by other co-workers but there is nothing we can do.

I’ve been approached by almost all of my immediate co-workers and asked how I can take it. I’ve been advised to keep a notebook of all the things he says to me, to go to his boss, or to even file a lawsuit for a hostile work environment. I’m lost, scared and don’t know which way to turn. I have a 2 year-old son to think about and provide for, and my boss knows I can’t afford to get a new job and lose my benefits from this one to cover my son. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I get a lawyer or do I continue to ride it out? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

read more

Mean Co-Worker, Mean Boss!

Question:

I have been at my job for 5 years now. One of the two ladies I work with has been cruel off and on since my 6-month mark. The other one just joins in just for the fun of it. It is very close working corridors so when they are mad at me I know it but don’t know why. When I finally confront them about their attitude they make it seem like I am crazy or just blow me off. Then they are nice to me for a week only to go back to their nasty attitudes at a snap of a finger. There tormenting took its toll on me this past year and had to go to therapy and go on meds.

I had another talk with them only for it to go back to the nastiness. I need the full time job, but I just don’t know if this will ever change. I left a university on short notice to take the job and have been red flagged. To get back in I would need to get a letter from my boss. My boss is weak when it comes to them but has a nasty short fuse. What do I do? How do I ask for a letter from a guy who has no problem being mean to me but not the other two coworkers? Is there any use in trying yet again to talk to them about how they treat me?

read more

Is A False Complaint Slander?

Question:

A person in a management position below my position recently wrote a letter of complaint about me to the Executive Director of our organization. It contained false accusations about my work – one example – she accused me of misleading her staff in the selection of items to be audited (I have proof of the opposite), which she stated had a negative impact on their work product. Is this considered slander? I have been emotionally distressed over the accusations. I have worked for the organization for 26 years and this is the first thing that has ever been placed in my personnel file. Thank you!

read more

Is Verbal Abuse Enough To Get Unemployment?

Question:

I feel very uncomfortable with my boss, who also is president of the company. He loves to curse and yell when a troubling issue arrives. He yells and curses on the phone and makes me feel like the biggest idiot in the world. I am to the point where I don’t want to come to work. I don’t want to work here any more, but I need the money. My question is: Is verbal abuse enough to collect unemployment if I were to leave?

Signed,

Want to Leave

Answer:

Dear Want to Leave:

No, you can’t get unemployment compensation because you have an abusive boss. Possibly, if he lays you off you can, depending on the size of your company and your state. Apparently, cursing and yelling is the way your boss gets his way, and the chances are that he will not change. So you will need to accelerate your job hunt and grin and bear it until something turns up. What is your alternative to biting your tongue?

It is to assert you, saying something like, “I work better when you speak to me with respect and do not yell.” You may need to rehearse such a sentence so that you can speak it firmly rather than mouse-like. You may need to say it more than once. You may be surprised to learn that your boss apologizes and tries to manage his anger the next time.

Does this make sense to you? Let us know what you do and if it works or fails. Meanwhile, is it possible for you to be a model of the kind of person who is professional, efficient, and pleasant, so much so that your cursing boss regrets it when you tell him you are leaving?

Think of the kind of workplace in which you’d like to work–one with a WEGO spirit.

read more

Threatened To Break My Neck To Get Me To Quit!

Question:

I am a 67-year old woman who has been threatened in the workplace. The estimator verbally abused me, calling me “a f—— b—-” threatened to break my neck – and said, “I’ll break your f—— neck you f—— b—-” He also said, “I’ll have you out of here in six months you f—— b—-. I’ll have you out of here by your birthday you f—— b—-.” These outbursts have been going on fir four years and the most recent happened eight days ago. This company has employed me for 13 years. A year ago, I mentioned to my boss the owner of this corporation that employs 40 people that I was thinking of retiring and we should start looking for a replacement for my position that is Accountant-Business Manager. The last I spoke with him he gave me six months to train someone and then he wants me out. I terminated my employment yesterday.

read more

Found A Note In My Box Calling Me A Bitch!

Question:

I work as a RN in the critical care area. Recently someone left a note in my mailbox calling me a bitch.

It could be anyone. I felt very intimidated and scared because of the nature of the note. I don’t know who it is; I feel I can’t trust anyone there. I feel someone could do something to one of my patients and I take the fall. The thing that worries me the most is, I have never had any type of altercation verbally or physically with anyone there. I believe someone is trying to intimidate me so that I will leave. I am generally a loner at work. I tend to stick to my patients. My workplace is very gossipy. Other nurses sit around the nursing station and gossip. I chose not to engage in any of these conversations. I called the nursing supervisor and my boss to have a meeting. What can I do? What are my legal rights? What is the hospitals responsibility?

read more