My mom has a bully
October 21, 2007 11:21 PM   Subscribe

Grrrrr. My mom has a bully at work. Help me out here!

Yeah...this is a new situation for me. My mom. I just talked to her on the phone. I bet a lot of people feel the same- my mother is super-important to me. If someone hurts her, it kills me. She used to work for this really nice guy, an orthodontist, for like, 25 years. He retired. Now she works for a new chain of dentist offices as a hygienist. She's been there six months. I guess someone at the office, a manager, has it in for her and is basically trying to push her out. According to my mother, she is basically a bully. This woman seems to get mad and lash out on mom for tiny things. She says other people have left because of her. When I called her tonight, she said that she was writing a 2 weeks notice and was turning it in tomorrow. This is not like mom. She's hoping they'll say,"You can just leave." But if they don't, she's afraid this lady will just pick on her even more for two weeks. She said this whole situation has made her spend lunch hours crying in her car. Grrr. This unfuriates me. I tried to tell her to stand up somehow. I said she should carry a tape recorder from here on out. If this manager is verbally abusive, take it to human resources. Bust the bitch! If mom's not exaggerating, and I trust her on this- she is pretty logical, rational, emotionally cool and laid back, then this woman is picking on her and it royally peeves me. But she's afraid to do anything! She wants to just get out of there but I want her to stand up before she goes!
What would you tell your mother to do? Is it worth trying to get back at this lady? If you were being bullied at work, what would you do?
posted by smeater44 to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1. get the name and number of a local lawyer who handles wrongful termination cases.
2. Have your mom talk to her doctor about this- is the stress causing health problems?
3. Your mom is probably making over the minimum amount the new corporate owner is willing to pay. Is your mom's salary higher than what they'd pay a new hire? Probably. It's business. But that doesn't make it right and it is legally actionable. You are a good son.
posted by tristanshout at 11:40 PM on October 21, 2007

I would leave my poor mother alone, because I would assume she has one too many people browbeating her already.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:32 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I know your intentions are good but your mom's a grown woman. Her work situation sounds toxic but it's not that unique and what's important is for her to do what's best for her. Support her choices but don't try to mother her.
posted by loiseau at 1:24 AM on October 22, 2007

I'm assuming that there's no union and that the manager is a direct employee of the group of dentists.

Your mother clearly wants to be out of there in the least unpleasant way possible. You're articulate. Write her letter for her, dispassionately outlining the reasons and suggesting legal action if the harassment continues. Give a copy to each of the professionals involved. That should at least win her two weeks of relative peace and perhaps even the sympathy of some of this manager's employers
posted by Neiltupper at 1:24 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: i've been bullied in the work place.
i'm a strong, confident woman... i've even been known to be called pushy and annoying. it can happen to anyone.
what she now has is post traumatic stress disorder in its seminal stages (in my non-expert opinion).
and the only thing that will help her is to get out, and get some therapy.
if you bully her in to doing anything other than what her gut tells her to do, it's showing her that you have no idea what it's like to work under siege and have every ounce of your optimism and self confidence destroyed by an office bitch.

please, i beg of you, let her leave. tell you that you love her, support her. and that you have noidea what it's like, but that you understand it's intolerable and that she has to leave. if she doesn't deal with it properly, it will affect every work relationship she has for the rest of her life.

your poor mum. it sucks.

and it really does happen to the most surprising people. if anyone knew it happened to me, they would fall over laughing.... i'm THAT strong. but i wasn't when it came to my workplace bully. and when it happened to my best friend several years earlier.... i didn't give her the compassion i should have... becuase i really couldn't understand the whole "siege" thing. i regret that to this day. but now i know, and would NEVER give advice to someone being bullied ever again. other than.... get out and look after yourself.

if the witch has caused others to leave, that means the new work place has established that they're ok with witchypoos behaviour. reporting it will do nothing. suing will achieve nothing. your mum just needs to leave.

hugs for your mum, poor possum. and an elephant stamp for you for your love and support of your mum. you rock.
posted by taff at 1:58 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

She wants to just get out of there but I want her to stand up before she goes!

That's more about you than about your mom. The best thing for her is to get the heck out of there, ASAP. In fact, I recommend that she resign effective immediately rather than with 2 weeks' notice, and be explicit in her resignation letter about why she's doing that -- to avoid 2 more weeks of escalated abuse.
posted by boomchicka at 4:13 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

No matter how you feel, the situation is your Mom's to handle. Your Mom can choose to bring the matter to the attention of her employers. Your Mom can choose to quit. It is your job, in this situation, to be understanding and supportive of your Mom's choices.

My Mom's tendering her resignation today as well and it is also because of an office bully. In her case, she went to the manager and some changes were made. However, the woman continues to be hostile to Mom and other colleagues. Mom now finds she has no fun in her job and doesn't want to go in the morning. So, Mom has decided to quit. Honestly, my Mom can take her experience in her industry to any other office and have no problem getting employed. I believe the same will hold true for your Mom. She'll bounce back to her feet. Just be supportive as she transitions.
posted by onhazier at 5:54 AM on October 22, 2007

Yes the OP's mom is a grown woman but even the most strong, confidant adult needs someone in their court! I hate seeing my mom get picked on too.
posted by radioamy at 6:05 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is sad. If your mom quits, the bully just once again gets what she wants, and feels even more empowered and encouraged to bully others, because hey....bullying works! Your mom needs to stand up for herself. Bullies only bully people who they feel can be pushed around - the kind of people who go and sit and cry in their cars. Your mom needs to stop being a victim. She needs to stop being "bullyable". This may not be something you can help her with, as much as you care and love her.
posted by iconomy at 6:28 AM on October 22, 2007

If I were being bullied by my manager, and the corporate structure was such that I felt uncomfortable bypassing the manager to get the bullying dealt with as the OH&S issue that it absolutely is, I'd do exactly what your mum is doing (except I'd be fuming and swearing in the car instead of crying).

If I got given any grief at all in the two weeks before I was due to leave, I'd say to the bully's face: "I am not paid enough to stay here and take this crap from you - I gave you two weeks' notice to be polite, but since you're still acting more like a three year old than an employer, I'm leaving right now." Then I'd go clear my desk and just leave.

Life is too short to work for arseholes.

Give your mum a hug from me.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, guys. I guess I've just gotta let her do her thing. Of course I'll support whatever she does. It just sucks to watch the bully go unpunished when all I want to do is get even. But it's not my fight, you all are right.
posted by smeater44 at 10:15 AM on October 22, 2007

I'm in a similar situation to you mom's right now. The one thing that's really helping me stand up for myself is knowing that I have people at home supporting me. You're probably doing all you can do short of going into work with her. Keep letting her know that you've got her back.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:00 PM on October 22, 2007

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