I had an outstanding reputation with my company as I had worked in a management position for 3 years. I was promoted to a higher management position and transferred to another store. I had given leadership through two different million dollar remodels. When I transferred to the new store the company brought in a new manager. This man was a bully in every sense of the word.
I was per company policy to work 10am to 7pm five days a week. This man required that I work seven days a week for four months and increased my hours to eighteen hour days. I would go home for two hours and get called right back to work. Every mistake he made was my fault. He screamed at me so loud that it was heard across the store from behind two closed doors and customers would ask me if I was ok. Customers called and reported it to human resources and I reported it on a website. I also talked to HR and supervisors.
When it was reported things go much worse. This man lied on me and wrote me up on a constructive advice memo that I challenged with proof that it was not so. He sent me an email stating that nevertheless it would not be removed from my file. He continued the crude behaviors and belittled me in front of customers and peers. One month later he lied and terminated me. He said I took a cup of coffee out of the store without paying for it. I produced receipts and yet the termination still stands and I am still not eligible for reinstatement with the company or rehire in the future. This man continues in his current position and continues to abuse his authority with others.
How can I overcome what damage he has done to my career and be a support for others still suffering under his control and influence?
OFFICE-POLITICS GUEST REPLY BY AUTHOR ROBERT MUELLER
Dear Maligned Manager,
You are seeking justice. That is understandable. It’s a community value most of us bring to work. And with your former colleagues, you are being rational about it. Documents. Witnesses. Evidence. In daily work life, these are important to making sound business decisions but in workplace politics they are often irrelevant. Frequently, so is unfairness. It may be that your former boss is a classic bully but, at this late date, that’s also irrelevant. He is – what he is. And he is “old news.” If you are to pursue a legal avenue it will be through external processes. I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney experienced in employment matters.
Politics is all about gathering intelligence and support. Rank & file employees have the option of gathering the support of their coworkers. But you are management. Your support structure is a vertical one. Your former supervisor has the support of upper management. You do not. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Like a customer made nervous by scarcity, you have been dependent on a single source of power coming through a single supply line. With your termination, that supply line was cut. You are no longer “on the team.” It’s a done deal. Let it go. You really have no choice but to look forward toward new employment alternatives. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You were rather obviously on that difficult cusp anyway.
I suggest that you take confidence in your independent offerings in your field. Under no circumstances will you “bad mouth” your former employer during job interviews or otherwise. In an effort to explain your departure, you will not whine or even describe your attempts at “justice” there. If you do you’ll create the impression that you “are a problem” and maybe a bit immature. Not businesslike.
Until now, this predicament has been weighing you down. But it’s also one you will inevitably get on top of when you are ready. Stand up straight with your “eyes on the prize.” The best revenge is living well.
Thanks for writing to Office Politics.
Robert Mueller is the author of Bullying Bosses: A Survivor’s Guide, available through Amazon. Mueller draws on over 20 years experience as an attorney involved in investigating, litigating and solving legal and political problems in the workplace. He has represented nurses, social workers, professionals, teachers, clericals, customer relations, law enforcement, intellectuals, creative persons, trades people, miners, heavy construction and manufacturing workers. For more information please visit Bullyingbosses.com. Read the Office-Politics review of Bullying Bosses.
ISBN 0-9768293-0-4, $17.50 US, 283 pages, paperback