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My team leader’s a bully and my manager won’t listen


For close to two years now, my team leader has been bullying me. He shouts at me in front of my co-worker and often denigrates the quality of my work. Lately, the workload has increased and it is proving difficult to meet our deadlines, yet we have been given no assistance. I have raised these issues with my manager, but she said I had to deal with my team leader only. In fact, she even stopped me with a "talk-to-the-hand" gesture. Then, during my most recent evaluation, I was told I was going to be subject to a "performance improvement plan," in which my work will be closely monitored.

I filed a complaint to HR but the staff member who handled the case concluded that she did not find evidence to support my allegations based on the witnesses she interviewed. I later learned that one of the witnesses was never interviewed. He was a key witness for my case, as he had experienced the same treatment from my manager and my team leader prior to transferring to another team.

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In the end, HR said the case is closed and that my complaint will not be added to the personnel files. I would like to know what steps I should take now.


I have one word for you – resign.

Your situation can be easily compared to an abusive relationship. If your partner disrespected you, put you down repeatedly, and failed to give you the support you required, would you continually try to work with that person in hopes that he or she would change for you, so you can be happy? Would loyalty to the relationship be more important that your happiness and dignity? Or would you leave the relationship?

Often in work, people fail to do what's best for themselves and rely on what they may have been taught by their parents – stay loyal, never quit a job, and your employer will take care of you.

This "cradle to grave" mentality is outdated and does not in any way reflect reality. True, you go into work, give it 100 per cent and do your best, but at the end of the day, you must look after yourself. After all, the employer will always, always, look after itself.

This employer is giving every indication that you will not be heard nor supported. So why are you staying in this relationship?

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In the outplacement profession, we often meet individuals who are shocked and stunned when they are let go and say that they did not see it coming, despite all the signs from the employer. Will you be one of those people?

End this relationship on your terms. Empower yourself to leave before incurring any further damage to your health, confidence and reputation. It is a job, and that's all.

Eileen Dooley (@EileenDooley) is a certified coach and lead consultant for McRae Inc.

Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of experts: careerquestion@globeandmailcom. Your name and address will be kept confidential.

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