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Intimidation/Dignity at work?


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Back in April this year I asked HR for a copy of my contract (T&C's). I also brought up the subject of appraisals, which we were promised would take place on a regular basis. The HR manager arranged for my supervisor to take me for an appraisal a few days later. I was then called to the office for the appraisal. This was a couple of minutes before our lunch break (wether this was deliberate or not i'm not sure).

 

In that meeting I was made to feel I was the most useless employee they had. My supervisor said that wherever I was put, mistakes went through the roof. I was even accussed of covering up mistakes. My belief is that you can only be accused of that if you knew about the mistakes in the first place. And after all this time how can he know that I did, if I did indeed make these mistakes in the first place.

 

Bear in mind that I have worked for this company for over 13 years. For approximatly 8 of these, I was a packer. In that time I was the only one who had to weigh everything I was packing. No matter how busy it got I very rarely got help even though other packers did. More often than not I was told (or usually shouted at) to "pull the stuff of the belt". About three years ago I was moved from that job and given the impression that it was just to rotate workers. I was never given any feedback to suggest any other reason. Then about 18 months ago I was moved again to a task which I beleive is way below my ability.

 

At the above meeting the supervisor told me that the only reason I was kept so long as a packer was that he couldn't think of another job to put me to that I could do. Needless to say this hasn't done my confidence or moral any good.

 

Sorry for the long post so far but I think that gives an idea how things are going.

 

Now to the main reason for this post. Earlier last month I felt it neccessary to put in a complaint about my supervisors attitude towards me over the previous couple of weeks. The HR manager suggested that the three of us get together to sort things out. A lot of good that did. Although she did try to look impartial, she did her best to make me see things from the supervisors point of view. Made me feel like it was two against one and therefore a waste of time, and has only made things worse. Since then he has been checking up on me to check that I'm where I'm supposed to be (being careful not to make it obvious).

 

The worst came last week. At quitting time I ws washing my boots along with the other workers and he was standing there watching (I don't remember him ever doing that before). I then moved across to the sink to wash my helmet. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him purposefully turn round to watch me again. When I had finished I then went back into the production area to clock out and he followed me. I went to clock out at one side but then decided I would go to the clock machine on the other side.

 

As I was going out through the door I met him and he promptly turned to follow me. I was the only one at the clock machine and he stood just a few feet away watching me clock out. On my way out, one guy who was still working shook his head and said "Is he watching you?". That's how obvious he made it. Needless to say I felt very intimidated by this. There are four camera's between the washing area and the clock machine but it looked to me that he was well aware it was all caught on camera.

 

The union rep suggested that I keep a record of everything he does for a month. I will be doing this but I know he will be very careful not to make his actions obvious and spread things out over the coming months. I was very tempted to make another complaint but I know he will make it look like he was watching everyone for time wasting and not singleing me out.

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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To Add to the above, I did agree (although I never said so) that there were one or two tasks that did get the better of me. I find it hard to understand how you can be kept at a job for so long only to be told you're not good enough. There is one job I know I can do and would allow me to earn a higher bonus yet they steadfastly refuse to allow me to do it.

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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Forgot to mention that I have been taking medication for depression for almost a year. I haven't told my employer about this as I'm afraid they would use this against me. The companys nurse calls me from time to time just to see how i am getting on and says it is up to me wether I tell them or not.

 

Should I go ahead and report the latest incident or wait as my union rep advises? A, I right not to tell them anout the depression?

My partner reckons I should take some time of on the sick but I can't afford to do this as I have next to no savings. I have from time to time felt like just throwing in the towel and leaving. I know this would be foolish and put me back in the position I was in before I got this job, I.E no money, mo car etc. Then again my mental health and sanity are more important.

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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Hi DJ

 

What an awful predicament. It sounds like the company already know about your illness / depression. Although the company nurse says that it is down to you to tell the company, in reality she works for and in the interests of the company and I would be very much surprised if they didn't have an inkling as to what has gone on before. Going sick should only be done if you are too sick to work. I think the general opinion on these forums is that company's will dismiss for capability if you are too sick to work. So thus achieving the very thing you don't want.

 

I am assuming that your first complaint put the supervisor on notice for failing to supervise enough hence the meeting with HR. The second complaint seems to revolve around him supervising too much thus making you feel ill at ease. he obviously has you in his sights thus the bullying attitude. The union rep is right you need to gather the evidence, time dates incidents paperwork etc etc. Bullying and harassment at work is unacceptable but the line between that and high supervision is not so clear. I doubt that ET's would find high and exuberant supervision to be bullying and harassment when you have complained about a lack of it or something similar.

 

I hate to tell you this but it is best you know, when a supervisor gets their teeth into you it is nigh on impossible to win, so prepare for the worst. So ......

 

Make sure you have an independent legal protection insurance cover for employment disputes (which should include allegations of discrimination). This is in addition to the cover the union give you as unions can renege at any time, best having an independent way out of the problem. Keep on collecting the evidence, the more the better, the longer the better.

 

Once your evidence is good then you should then consider doing the following : writing to your employer detailing that you find the actions of the supervisor intrusive and making youeven more ill than you were before having to go to the doctor. Detail to them you depression and how the actions of the supervisor are making your conditions worse than they could be without his action upon you. Detail that you think you are covered under the equality act 2010 (have a look at the act and the EHRC website as to what would make you a 'disabled' person in the eyes of the law. Once you have registered your disability with the employer ask for reasonable adjustments and if they fail to make them place a grievance with them. Your union rep should be helping you.

 

The company should have some sort of policy on dignity at work, perhaps you should read up on it.

 

Unfortunately they can do what they want as far as allocation of duties are concerned.

 

Keep your spirits up I am sure there are many caggers on here to talk your way through it and many are more knowledgeable than I am, so wait for a variety of replies before taking action (I get things wrong !!!!)

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OP if you are thinking of kicking the job in then prepare self now and just hold onto job as long as possible

 

i suffered from depression and going from a reasonable wage down to a benefit payment is a huge shocker

 

cancel all non essential novalty - luxury purchases and direct debits also if you have sky world package knock it down to the entertainment package

 

set yourself a 30 pound spend limit a week for food luxuries clothes and stuff and try living today as if your already on benefits

 

you should see [if paid weekly] your bank account increase

if you truly beleive your employer is pushing you out of the job just try to knuckle down as much as you can avoid any negative meetings if informal and just keep head under the radar dont let paranoia set in rise above it

 

dont think ifs or maybes think solutions instead think about how to get around managers and just hold in there until you have a good few hundred in the bank account even if it is just one more month try to stick with it

 

as being pennyless on benefits is far more depressing then a boss monitoring you

 

even spin it into a mental joke if boss follows you around say to him 'while your standing there could you grab me a cuppa tea'

 

just do as much as you can today to reduce bills and then spend as many weeks as you can earning some savings

 

this might surprisingly give you the motivation you need to work that bit faster to keep manager off back for a few weeks while you gather extra rainy day savings

 

then when you cant take any more SIGN OFF SICK do not quit and sign onto jobseekers SIGN OFF SICK

 

while off sick housing benefit can help you and thats the time to assess finances and stress levels of the next direction to go

 

quiting instantly although you feel will alleviate the depression for me it did but it lasted 3 days as i then had to run around seting up benefits proving i quit under pressure blah blah and knowing i too had little to no money

 

plus you quiting is what they want so they won

stay in work for each day you stay there think you have beat them again and got a days wage out of them

 

spin each day into a game or a challenge and if you can get to the end of the day you earn a point try earning 30 points before jacking job in so you have a few hundred saved up

 

treat the meetings not as a negative thing treat it as a work break - coffee break do what you can to keep a positive mental attitude and beat them at their own game

 

dont make rash decisions as this is what they want

 

i personally jacked it in and now i wish if i just stuck with it for 2 more weeks i coulda saved 300 pound which woulda lasted me 10 weeks on current spending or even longer if used as a smaller weekly top up to benefits

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Excellent advice as papsmurf says. The hardest part is getting into that positive frame of mind but I'll give it my best shot.

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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