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My first story was when I worked at a substance abuse treatment center as a substance abuse counselor, eventually getting promoted to supervising counselor. I experienced workplace abuse as both a counselor and supervisor.
My supervisor did everything she could to undermine me and make me appear incompetent to my peers.
Our bonuses were based on our hours of case management per hour. Part of her role was to ensure that each counselor had a full caseload. She would deliberately keep my caseload low, but I was able to make my bonus each month because I was able to take on extra hours when co-workers would call in sick, which was frequent. She would also put other downs including patients and other counselors. Eventually I complained to HR anonymously. Luckily they took the situation seriously and had a company-wide meeting on workplace bullying and harassment.
However, the bully continued with her toxic behavior. In a meeting, she told me and another counselor she made a joke to a patient when talking about her progress in treatment. The bully looked at the patient’s photo when she first started treatment. The patient said “That was a bad picture of me.” The bully then responded to the patient “that’s because you were a crackhead there” and laughed out loud.
Eventually she announced she’d be leaving the office for a new job. I later found out she’d been written up for her behavior and that she had a certain amount of time to change her behavior or she would be let go.
I currently work in an office setting with a chronic micromanager who is frequently condescending. At one point, we had to send all of our emails to her for review before we could send them. It took a considerable amount of time to respond to a single email.
A part of the manager’s job is to process reports. While preparing to be out of the office, she asked the team prepare reports in her absence. No one responded, as everyone was swamped with work. So she chose a colleague and me to send the reports, stating we never help out with work. This statement was false. I did reporting not part of my job for months and just covered for someone who was out. On top of that, I had to take on a lot more work due to colleagues resigning on other clients.
I messaged her privately and explained why I was unable to take on the extra work. She basically said we all have a lot of work to do and to deal with it. At this point, I spoke to someone above her to complain. They agreed her tone was not okay. She called me to attempt to explain herself and apologized, but the behavior continues to this day. I complained a second time, asking to not work with her at all. My work with her was minimized, but I was still forced to work with her. She continues to micromanage every day. She would send me a private message to not forget to do tasks on my public task list.
At this point, I feel powerless to do anything, and I plan to eventually become an entrepreneur. I think a lot of people feel powerless in these situations. This type of behavior has to stop, and people need an advocate outside of the company who hears their complaints and takes them seriously.
The advice I would give to others dealing with workplace bullying is to not blame yourself. Continue to do your best, learn your job well, and develop allies outside of your immediate team. Realize the bully has insecurities and needs to put others down to make themselves feel better. They lack real self-esteem. Focus on your personal goals and speak out whenever you can. Go elsewhere if there is no hope of the situation changing. 

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We believe America’s workers have a right to safe workplaces where their psychological health is recognized as a vital component of overall well-being. All people — regardless of their gender, race, color, national origin, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, size, income, faith, religion, and political affiliation — deserve to lead healthy and productive lives and to work in safe environments free from workplace abuse, workplace bullying, workplace mobbing, and oppression.

We are part of End Workplace Abuse, which strives to protect and promote workers’ right to psychological wellness – critical to physical health, by advocating for the elimination of abusive behaviors (bullying, mobbing, and harassment) from the American workplace. We achieve our mission by organizing and leading a collective movement advocating for psychological safety at work. We lobby for protective legislation and policies, raise public awareness about psychological harm at work, build leaders who campaign for abuse-free workplaces, and collaborate with other organizations advancing workers’ rights. Because bias and prejudice are often an integral part of workplace abuse, we advocate for protections against discrimination.

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