I didn't want to quit but I felt that I had no choice.
The harassment started in April when I transferred from second shift to first shift. I was being harassed at work to the point where I felt that it was unsafe for me to be at work. There were three women, Jackie, Marcia and Donna, who made working there particularly unbearable. They were bullying me as a group by ignoring my work related questions and verbally attacking me by calling me stupid and ignorant on different occasions. I tried to ignore them because I needed this job, it was around, July that Donna, the most threatening of the three, became more aggressive. She would slam down heavy boxes next to my hand and if I asked for the tape gun she would throw it at me. She made it a point to tell me how tough she was and that I shouldn't mess (she used more vulgar language) with her because she could "slaughter me like a pig". Every day I was anxious and scared not knowing if she was going to flip on me or not, she was becoming increasingly more aggressive and I was afraid she would take things to a physical level. Then, on August 5th, I went into the Ladies room and Donna and another woman were in there. When I walked in they gave me dirty looks and started oinking like a pig and I knew what that meant. It was then that I decided to go to the HR department and make a formal complaint. (August 8)
On August 17th I was called into the HR department and that's when Beth Ann told me that she looked into the matter and Donna denied everything.
I was told that the incident was investigated and Beth Ann said "If you weren't you-- you know, if you weren't Kathy this wouldn't have happened. You come off very standoffish. Anytime I try to explain something to you you interrupt me." She basically said the women denied oinking at me and to be honest she doesn't care for me either and blamed me for these women's harassment. She then told me that maybe I should try to be nice to these women again next time that they're mean to me.
My supervisor was in the room as well and stated that I told one of those women they weren't doing their job right which was never said, when I described to him the exact incident, what happened, and who was witness to it he put his head down because he knew I had caught him in a lie.
Beth Ann never actually contacted the people I suggested who could verify the harassment- Misty, Jerry and Barbara.
Without actually resolving the problem Beth Ann then went on to discuss my FMLA which is a completely unrelated topic.
I left that room in tears.
I felt disappointed and scared still so I decided to get a hold of the corporate office. They looked into the matter for me, it took them a few days to get back to me but by then I had already decided to put my 2 weeks notice in because I felt I had no choice. I had asked to be switched to second shift and denied, the HR department was clearly going to be no help to me, and I would continue to endure these unprofessional, stressful work conditions. The anxiety and stress was taking a toll on me physically and I
was concerned for my safety and well being.
On August 24th a woman from the corporate office named Linda called and told me that she thought it was best that I quit and I would not have return to work. She said she would pay me for the 2 weeks notice and she would give me my vacation and holiday pay. I didn't want to quit but I felt that I had no choice. I was getting no help.
Of course your story relates the possibility of what it takes to finally have good cause to quit and get unemployment. Effort to try to preserve your employment and that can be painful, stressful, and sometimes feel even dangerous.
HR screwed up and clearly didn't make any effort to eliminate the real problems in the workplace.
Allowing these women to do this is just the sort of thing I found myself griping about to myself when I helped employers.
They were trying to force you into quitting because that usually works when it comes to unemployment and retaliation is usually only actions made by the employer after you file official complaints.
Who knows .. maybe the FMLA was at the bottom of the lack of concern shown by HR.
But of course, the most important thing I would still want to know about, since were talking about UI benefits .. is whether you can fulfill the burden of proof attached to every good reason to quit.
Was it attributable to the work? Yes, it was.
Did you exhaust all "reasonable" efforts to preserve the job? That's the eternal question left of to the discretion of the reasonable person standard.
What kind of documentation do you have to fax to the claims adjudicator for the investigation?
Do you have a resignation letter as specific about the events leading to your resignation as you've been here?
Did it mention Linda? (She may be a weak point for your burden.
Any of those witnesses you told the employer about, also willing to act as your witness if an unemployment hearing becomes a reality, or would you have to subpoena for them to appear?
I'd like to ask everyone that reads this story of workplace bullying to put themselves in this person's place.
Would you have had the courage to stand up against it and try to resolve the situation first .. before you quit?
Knowing what I know about how UI works, I wouldn't have resigned until I heard back from corporate Linda to see if she would of helped, but she didn't .. she played right along with Beth.
Who clearly did not conduct a fair an impartial workplace investigation to resolve any bullying problem, or their would of been witnesses interviewed apart from the perpetrators .. for reasons beyond my ability to understand, setting a victim of workplace bullying up to quit out of desperation and frustration is a far more common act of workplace misconduct in the workplace that set the overall tone for the rest of the employees.
You need the job, but many of you can be controlled from taking any sort of positive and responsible action to stop what wrong through the use of intimidation and fear of losing your job.
I hope they have to pay, but I'm worried about "linda".
Document, Document, Document what goes wrong at your job.
It can become proof later on .. when you need it.