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Bullied ex-manager seeking justice

Dear Office-Politics,

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?

Thank you.

Maligned Manager

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

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

  1. 5 Answers to “Bullied ex-manager seeking justice”

  2. I feel for you – not always easy to put the past behind you as you will have negative feelings of injustice for some time to come. After all you’re out and the bully is still there. Don’t let it fester, don’t let this jerk wreck other jobs for you, take up running whatever to let the anger out. Maybe counseling could help you work your feelings out in a constructive way. He is not worth one minute of your time – not one minute. A company that actively conceals this behavior isn’t one you’d want to work for anyway. Look after yourself and look to the future. You can’t change the past but don’t let it control you either. I was better prepared whan I met my next bully and could build a barrier around myself.

    By carole t on Oct 5, 2007

  3. It’s say easy to say “forgive and forget it” and think of future with any shadows of the past. I will say everybody should do something or the other against this bully bosses so that they can never ever dare to destroy others careers.

    By Ram Subramani on Oct 6, 2007

  4. Ram
    Although I would have loved to do this with my 2 bullies they enjoyed the support of management at the highest level who could and did cover up for them even when the bullies were clearly damaging their departments and their companies. It
    doesn’t make me happy that I’ve had to resign but I won’t let them wreck the rest of my life. Would I really want to go to prison for one of these losers?

    By carole t on Oct 8, 2007

  5. Thank you all for your support. Your comments did help. You are right. I cannot and will not let this keep me down. I just felt really out raged that he could get by with doing this. I also felt a strong sense of advocacy for those employees that are still dealing with him. It is hard to push forward without some how resolving inside that I did all that I could to prevent re-occurance.

    By T. on Oct 15, 2007

  6. I had a similarly toxic situation. Nine years of service with the company, a model employee. I made the mistake of leaving a job I was where I was valued and happy but unchallenged and maxed out for advancement. I was the first hire for a new (unknown) HR director. She was a negative, emotionally insecure and unstable individual with a great deal of power. And she wielded it like a sledgehammer. In my 18 months there, there was 99% turnover in the department. Anyone who attempted to hold her accountable was fired by her. Someone followed the company policy and filed a formal complaint. She was fired within 2 weeks and denied unemployment. Eventually she dismissed me and i was hugely relieved. I am now in an equivalent position where i am valued, although not in HR. Sometime later she was fired. I have survived and no longer waste my time seeking justice that will never come. I choose to look at it as a learning experience and apply it to my knowledge base about workplace politics.

    By Anne B on Dec 12, 2007

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