work related discrimination
January 23, 2012 2:22 PM   Subscribe

What can be done about discrimination at work and if you feel bullied?

I work in collections for a major building society in the UK our normal working hours are between the hours of 9am -5pm, however as our lines are open until 7 pm, we usually have one person for each day who will cover a 2-8pm shift. It so happens that I requested some time off at work, only 3 days from Weds 18- Fri 20/01. On the Rota I was apparently down to work Thursday the 19th covering the late shift. I did not have a look at this because I would not be at work from the 18th and I had requested my leave from 9th January 2012.

This morning I returned to work and the first thing that greeted me from my senior who sits beside me was not how are you doing?or how was your weekend? It was that when I am booking holidays I should ensure I sort my late out before I go away in the future. I was stunned because she is actually the rota manager and it is her responsibility to check weekly that the late are covered. she has even sent an email regarding this to the team. Turning this around to say that it is my responsibility to do her job is quite unfair.

I was unwell before I went off on leave and she knew this, the last thing on my mind was work. When her friends go on holiday she sends emails to us all and asks for volunteers to do the late and there is usually someone available to cover the shift. I asked her if it was a problem getting the shift covered and she stated it was not, she instead covered the shift herself and didn't bother asking anyone. SO my big question is what is the point of mentioning that I didn't sort out my shift if it wasn't a problem, and the only reason it has been mentioned is because you were inconvenienced and because you know you didn't do your job properly.

I am an very quiet individual who just endures so much from this woman and I think because she knows I am quiet and I just come to work and go home, this is the reason for all of what I have had to endure from her these past few months. I think I need to speak to my team leader, who I might add is often bullied by this senior and ridiculed. This makes me think what exactly will become of it. ?
posted by heisableibelieve to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Is this harassment a constant thing, or a one-time-only thing? The best you can do is document the interactions. Also, be sure to communicate via email in situations where you need this person to "sign-off" on something. It's probably a good idea to let someone know how you feel, but unless you have proof to back it up, just call the meeting request a "request for feedback" or something, and ask to get their opinion about something.

If this is a one-time thing, this person is probably just blowing off steam. If it is continual, document, document, document, and communicate by email whenever possible.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2012

Do you have more than one supervisor? Like, you give your leave request to one person, but then the rota manager is the scheduler? Because it sounds to me like she wasn't made aware that you were going to be out, and even though it is her job to make the schedules, if there's something unusual (such as you're scheduled to work the late shift), you need to tell her about it so that she is clearly made aware that she will have to find someone to fill in a late shift for you.

Also, just because she said she "covered the shift herself and didn't bother asking anyone," I wouldn't take that to mean "it wasn't a problem." She probably figured it would be easier to do it herself than to try to find someone at the last minute to do it.

I think maybe there's just some personality conflicts between the two of you. What she did wasn't bullying, it was her telling you that if you're scheduled to work the night shift and you're not going to be at work, you need to directly tell her that you'll not be at work. If other things are going on, then yes, talk to your team leader. But this doesn't seem like a situation that needs escalating to me.
posted by jabes at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Try not to make an enemy unless you must. Jane, can you clarify the time-off policy for me? I understood that you scheduled the weekly rota, and checked it against time off schedules. I try to be conscientious, so I feet terrible about the uncovered shift, but I didn't think I needed to check. thanks. Bullies pick on people they think they can bully; they will do whatever they can get away with. In my experience, work bullies get riled when you confront them, or when they know you've seen what they're up to. If you are obviously polite and cooperative, but quietly question their BS, you can sometimes limit the crap, and still not become a favored target. I say this as someone who became a favored target of the office bully. sucks, dunnit?
posted by theora55 at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does she sign off on your holiday? Is it possible that she wasn't made aware that you were actually off on those days? I can see why she'd be annoyed by that, but it's the responsibility of the person who signs off on your holidays to inform her of which staff will be off when. You should not be having to manage yourself (create your own rotas, cover your own shifts, etc).

Document this. Note who said what, to who, at what time and on which day, etc. You might want to consider joining a trade union. I've found the one I'm with very helpful when dealing with things like this.
posted by Solomon at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

If this is the only incident, this doesn't especially sound discriminatory.

It sounds like, for whatever reason, the supervisor wasn't aware you weren't going to cover your shift and only found out at the last minute, which meant she had to cover it herself. If I were her I'd be annoyed too. You might apologize, explain you didn't know she wouldn't be informed, and ask how she'd like you to handle it in the future.
posted by zug at 4:38 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

It doesn't sound like discrimination to me. It sounds like a miscommunication, and while she could have been nicer about it, it sounds like the omission was on your end - she didn't know you were going to be out during the late shift you were signed up for. If it's her responsibility to manage the shift assignments, it's yours to make sure she knows your availability.

Honestly I'm baffled by the people who are telling you to "document." She did nothing wrong that I can see; and she's the one who has a grievance (having had to work late on a night she wasn't planning to do so because the scheduled person didn't let her know the change of plans.) Not sure where your grievance is.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:31 PM on January 23, 2012

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