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Feeling mugged at work

Hi Office-Politics,

I have recently returned to work from an injury followed by a sickness (1 year ago). Upon my return I was greeted by the HR officer and the new manager (who has recently been fired). In this meeting I was constantly badgered and belittled for my attitude, to my professional training. I tried to put in a grievance and was told that the conversation never took place because there was no union representation. The supervisor I have put a letter in my file that states I directed a joke of a sexual nature at some one (cc fired manager). Management would not tell me what the joke was, when it happened, or even who I apparently directed a sexual joke to. Again I was denied any information and the letter is in my file. The harassment continues that any of the assignments or duties I have been given are incidental duties (data entry, monitor a computer monitoring program) and not my original job function.

Since my return to work I have not been given any of my duties or assignments prior to my time off, other staff are doing the job. I have been asked to return the corporate keys, they took the company vehicle away (a student uses the vehicle now) and they put me in an office that has nothing to do with my job. So needless to say I have been constantly badgered as to why I am there and why I am not with the rest of the team ( office snickering and whispering all the time).

I feel that I have been mugged at work and the mugger is still allowed to mug me further. I have a grievance in its final stages, to which I was denied access to corporate facilities (operation facility, control centers) all of which are to do with my job duties, until they get get another doctors note that states I am allowed access to these corporate facilities. I told them they are wrong to ask for another doctors assessment since the return to work assessment did not state that access to other corporate facilities be denied.

Workers constantly ask me why I don’t find another job. I understand that the supervisor is the one that delegates work, ultimately states what I am to do and where I am to be. I am not told of any courses or events that would pertain to my profession, but other team members have been on courses and conferences. I have been taken off committees and have been asked to return by other members only to be denied.

Before my injury I was given all the overtime I wanted, now I don’t get any. I have been with the corporation for 14 years and have never had a bad review. I have trained new staff and trained local students who want to enter this profession. I have always been a loyal member to the corporation and can not get past this supervisor who has entered the political ring by having great reviews by new staff (students that I have trained) he has recently hired (on probation). Other supervisors and staff can not stand working with my supervisor or his new team due to the “lip service” response he gives. I am appalled at the cynical remarks this office has towards my supervisor and his team (referring to them as the dipsy chicks and Mr.. Weatherby). To be associated with this type of team does nothing for the corporation especially when I am in an area that has no exposure to the team. When a management review takes place it is management reviewing their staff and no review of managers or supervisors. I have asked for my duties and they will not return them. I have asked why I am being treated this way of only given incidental duties. What is the advantage of having me here instead of my old office with the team?

I have contacted the human rights commission and I was told that since I have a union they will not look at my situation at all. Do I have a leg to stand on for harassment charges against the corporation or the supervisor.

Thank you in advance, eagerly waiting a response,

Mugged at work

OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY DR. JOHN BURTON
dr. john burton

Dear Mugged,

Your letter identifies quite a number of issues that are potentially problematic. Unfortunately my response is similar to that of the Human Rights Commission. Where there is a union in the workplace it is very difficult to comment on the rights which a person may or may not have without knowing the terms of the collective agreement.

I suggest that you approach your union representative and have a long chat with them about the issues that you have identified here. If you receive no satisfaction from that person I would suggest that you either pursue the matter with his or her superior in the union structure, or review the matter with a lawyer.

Sorry that I cannot offer more concrete advice than that. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.

Yours truly,

John Burton

Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. He has taught alternative dispute resolution at Queen’s Law School and Ethics at the Schulich School of Business. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada’s aboriginal communities.

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  1. One Answer to “Feeling mugged at work”

  2. I know exactly how “mugged” feels. In my situation, mugging is close but I think bullied and singled out come closer. (It’s not just me but others as well in the office where I work.) We have to deal with way too many halos and most of them are tarnished if you know what I mean. I work in a group of 5 people in a office area of about 30 people. Let’s face it as people talk on the phone and with each other, they make noise. I thought interacting with fellow employees was normal. Shows what I know! If one single peep comes from the “group of 5″, all heck breaks loose and we are accused of disrupting everyone else. One guy was sharpening a pencil and got nailed for it!! There are two people in the office who make more noise than the “group of 5″ put together and nobody seems to notice that. The “group of 5″ used to discuss daily activities and bounce ideas off each other but no more. Now we hardly speak at all for fear someone will complain. The company I work for also adopted a housekeeping program a number of years ago and are subjected to “housekeeping” inspections on a regular basis. Unless you have a tarnished halo, you are basically not allowed to have ANYTHING on your desk and it better be antiseptically clean. No pictures, no personal items, NOTHING! One guy was written up for having his company issued stapler on his desk during working hours!! The desk next to his looks like somebody is having a garage sale and nobody says a word. This program also applies to bulletin boards. Things must be hung absolutely straight with coordinating thumbtacks and be perfectly aligned with each other. However, a bulletin board for one of those tarnished halos can be so messy it looks like modern art and nobody says a word. I’m sick of the whole thing!! No matter what we all do, it will never, never, never, never, ever be enough. If everything I’ve rambled on about so far went away, they’d find some new game to drive us nuts with. It’s almost like happiness in the workplace is a sin. (Contrary to what you may believe after reading this, I am not insane though I may give it a try.) Anybody else feel this way?

    Signed,
    All going nuts and I’m going first!

    By Rosie on May 9, 2007

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