I was a mature worker bullied at work 353



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Around the time I was 57, I was bullied at work. I worked in a call centre which had around 230 people working there at the time. It started over a comment on Facebook and the next morning I was called into my boss’s office and asked if I was OK. She had obviously seen the Facebook incident. I elected to let it go; I thought it was done.

Over the next couple of weeks, Facebook became a whipping board for me. I was ridiculed and humiliated and it got steadily worse at work. Eventually, I went to what was Fair Work then. They contacted my boss who was the best friend of the main instigator. I ended up on stress leave for a few days, but eventually HR were brought over from the mainland and I was interviewed. They insisted that I go to mediation sessions with the main offender. I did not want to do this and I wanted the others who got involved made to stop also. By this time, I was being told daily that I was not dressed appropriately for work and I was picked constantly for the way I was handling customers and being shunned. I was also accused of saying something about another worker’s daughter. It never happened.

The main offender was part of management and people started to take her side. People I had known for five years stopped talking to me. They cut me off completely, not even asking me what happened. I was all but forced to go to mediation. I was allowed, and chose, to take another person with me to mediation. However, about an hour into the session, he was asked to leave. I said I wanted him to stay and was told I didn’t have a choice. When he left the room, the offender, who was in her 50s, started to tell me about the terrible time she had as a child. It had nothing whatsoever to do with why we were there. I could only assume I was supposed to feel sorry for her.

To cut a long story short, nothing else was ever done. I never even so much as received an apology. Two years down the track, two people who had not spoken to me after taking her side, just started talking to me as though nothing had ever happened. I asked one of them once, why she thought I would speak to her. She said she knew she should have asked my side and not listened to other people, but still offered no apology. My boss told me to be the “bigger person”.

I was told I only had to answer to my boss and my immediate team leader from then on. 

Things were never the same again and although I put in for promotions, I was always given reasons why they chose someone else over me. I had Secret Santa presents given to me that were old and filthy. I was, in short, treated very badly. I even went to the company’s own counselling service.

My boss left around seven months ago and before that, my team leader was made redundant, so I had to answer to the main offender once more. Things deteriorated. One day, after a particular incident, I couldn’t take it any longer. I just resigned. I had been there 10 years and not one person from management wished me well. 

This is one of the reasons I moved to Hobart and am still looking for work. In all the years I have worked and all the places, this was the worst place I have ever worked and I am not the only one bullied. It is still happening.

Have you ever been bullied at work? What happened? How was the situation dealt with? 


This writer has chosen to remain anonymous.

  1. This is a very sad situation, I do hope this lady had some personal family backup, if not , it would have been soo hard to cope, I hope you now have work that you are happy in, all the best

  2. That’s why I used to prefer hiring men over women. Sad but true.

    6 REPLY
    • Hi Ian, after a 30 year career in corporate/not-for-profit and government organisations I can say quite categorically that the bullying conducted almost systematically was by men. I ended up walking out of my “dream” job because of the actions of a male Board Chair. You are not doing yourself any favours by assuming that Bullying is gender-specific.

    • It was men who bullied my son to the point he spent 19 weeks in hospital suffering depression. Bullying is not the realm of women anymore.

    • Men bully just the same as women. I think women say something where men will leave or put up with bullying

    • Men are worse bullies because they use there superior physical strength as a threat as well.
      If you say you only hire men it shows your disdain against women. Glad I never applied for a job with you.

  3. Strange that – at around 59 I was bullied to within a breath of quitting my life career. I’m glad I survived the experience and continue to work.

  4. Adult bullies are the worst. Some people get off on their nastiness. Then they have their loyal followers who ignite the fire with lies.

    2 REPLY
    • Ys they have been bred over the last 20 yrs or so from what I can see its horrific and they are not good role models to their children these people… thats for sure…. The world is full of nasties now and I am really sad about it.

  5. Yes very badly & at 61 I retired with depression & anxiety. Lousy way to end 43 & 1/2 years of working.

    6 REPLY
    • I’m sorry this happened to you Barb, I have special memories of working along side you, you were an asset to the place. The customers loved you and I looked up to you, being only 17 I learnt my customer service and hardworking ethics from you! Unfortunately in the industry we worked together in, bullying is always present…. a lot of my co workers were taking anti depressants to get through the days.. Sad but true.. xo

    • I feel dreadful for anyone that has been bullied, I had my fill of it at school then in my 20s in a Bank then again in my 40s and yes they got away with it back then, but I can assure you I have learnt a lot and if anyone ever tries it now I would not go quietly , I have learnt a lot and I know these people do it to everyone it’s not personal, but by God I will make it personal and take it as far as I can so they never hurt anyone again.

    • Obviously by remarks here you are a lovely person, enjoy the remainder of your well earned retirement ☺ I am in an admin roll in a global transport company, and am just hanging in until I retire in December, its not worth my job to put comments on here but trust me I love my job and customers but work under complete incompetency with the leaders in the city closing a blind eye…

    • Unfortunately my latest time at work,I had the same sad experience! That should’ve the opposite way,because for many people our job was part of the life(40 or more years) doing valuable time specially taken care of people in need!

  6. Some bullying tactics are when the employer plays with your weekly hours, especially when you are not employed full-time

    1 REPLY
    • that is so true called ”’passive aggressive”” they must think we are stupid but as i’ve said EVERYONE who bullies me keeps than one day when they least expect it wham i go them in public

  7. I, too was bullied at work in my 50s, and it was by another teacher, just a little higher up the ladder than I was. There I was, unable to sleep, arriving earlier than usual so I did not meet her in the car park and trying to make sure I was never alone with her. She would make cutting remarks to or about me, very loudly in the staff room but no one would say anything to her. I found out later that she was known as a bully and that she always had a different target, moving on to the next victim when she had destroyed her last one I was the first one game enough to speak up. If I went to the toilet, she would follow me in, make sure I was alone and then hiss all sorts of abuse at me using filthy language. I had been teaching for about 35 years and had never had a problem with another staff member or had never been sworn at in my life, so it was all very distressing. I tried approaching her to ask what I had done to cause all of this vitriol but it just resulted in more. Eventually at mediation I found out that I was supposed to have told a parent that this teacher had a nose like a witch! I would never do anything so unprofessional and, had I wished to insult her, could have done a whole lot better than that! The mediator was a friend of the bully and took her side, saying that if I would apologise it would all be over. She did not believe anything i said. I refused to apologise for something I hadn’t done. The principal would do nothing, saying he didn’t know whom to believe. I became very affected by stress and remained in my classroom instead of going to the staff room in my breaks. The matter was only resolved when the bully transferred to another school where I hear she is up to her old tricks. It was only after she had gone that several others admitted that she had bullied them too and they were too frightened of her to speak up in my defence. The only positive in this whole story is that I became very aware of bullying in the school and did my part in listening to victims and trying to solve the problems.

  8. A very common event these days particularly with seniors. With me the bullying ended after a work related injury when OSH plus Injury Management met in my Doctor’s surgery with him telling them I was definitely unfit to return to work. I got a Lawyer who was great and very sympathetic who fought my case and received a good payout. 16 months later I feel so much better although not able to return to work and retirement is so much better. Stress off and I feel free like a bird. I believe I got the better deal in the long run. Other senior colleagues are being bullied. I feel for them.

    1 REPLY
    • I have read through all the comments from this post and only one person took the bullying further. Having being a victim of a Narscistic bully for the last year, I am amazed that the victims remain victims and the bully remains to bully. How is that fair, my life was ripped out of me that I had worked hard for as a volunteer and I am left to pick up the pieces. I have done in house mediation which was a farce even though I had an apology and looking on all the sites, the only avenue left open for me is to go down the Safe Work SA with their Mediation, I have done all that, all the work associated with it and I the victim have to do it all again with them. There should be more help for the victim and once reported the bully should have to go to “reform school”, to sort their issues out before coming back to the workplace. Something has to be done it is too prevalent these days and its not good enough. Olwyne Hughes

  9. Sounds like a familiar story! Same scenario. I was eventually put through a “process” and the offender was asked to attend and WRITE the minutes of the meeting!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, well. That ended well. I was a teacher but soldiered it out until retirement.

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