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Bullied at Work

answered 11:08 AM EST, Mon August 27, 2012
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I work as a waiter and I have a problem with one of the cooks who works the pass. He is constantly bullying me and harassing me verbally. He will also make sure to send out my food behind other tables so that I have problems with the diners and make less tips/look bad to management. I have talked to the chef about the problems I am experiencing but he did not take them seriously. In this place, the chef’s word is pretty much the end of the story so taking it to the GM makes little sense and might backfire on me. My coworkers agree with me that he is abusive but no one wants to stand up to this guy either.

I make good money at this job and don’t want to leave, but he is making my life very difficult. I am Asian and he seems to hate me because of this for some reason. I have a friend who told me he would scare the guy off for me. This seems very childish to me but I am not sure what else to do. Is a workplace bully likely to back off if he gets warned off by a bunch of scary and tough guys or am I just going to make things worse?

David Johnson Says...

This very frustrating situation is all too common in work places. It's fortunate that you have some support and validation at work, but your coworkers' worry about the risks involved are all too real. Your friend's offer to bully the bully is likely illegal and could get you in a lot of trouble in both criminal and civil laws. 

You have some decisions to make. Its important to know if your treatment at this work place is bad enough to make you leave. The wear and tear on your self-esteem and sense of safety on the job and it's impact on your mental and physical health will be an increasing concern the longer it goes on.

Whether you decide to act or not, it's important that you start documenting and looking for another job. Make notes of each incident of harassment including time and dates as well as quotes and circumstances of the harassment. Collect as much evidence as you can to support your case over a significant amount of time, perhaps at least a month. Consider consulting a lawyer at this point to help you plan you next steps. You will need to be prepared at this point to work elsewhere if necessary. Then when you feel you have enough evidence, write a letter to your harasser and copy the boss. Document each and every incident. Be polite but firm, clearly stating what you expect to change. Then if it happens again, write the boss and copy your harasser, requesting an end to the harassment. 

If your boss doesn't support you, your only other recourse is to get a lawyer and prepare legal action.

I wish you the best. Everyone deserves to work at a place that appreciates them and their work.

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Page last updated Aug 27, 2012

Topics Covered by this Expert
Bullies Bullying Harassment PTSD Workplace Bullying

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