Workplace bullying

Discussion in 'Support' started by Marta, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Marta

    Marta New Member

    Aug 15, 2018
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Hi All,

    I'm new to this forum and looking for some help, even if that might be a link to a relevant post. My bosses often tease me about being vegan and it makes really uncomfortable. This Friday, they are taking everyone out to dinner at a steak house and the jokes have already begun. There is another vegetarian co-worker and two Indian co-workers who will not be eating steak. I'm over worked and exhausted and I don't feel like dealing with the jokes (guessing they are just insecure about their own eating habits?). Any suggestions on how to handle ignorant authority figures? Do I feign illness and skip this dinner?
  2. Lou

    Lou Active Member

    Jun 8, 2018
    San Mateo, Ca
    +409 / 1 / -4
    Since I don't know your company, the climate or the individuals, you will have to judge the following piece of advice for its appropriateness in your specific situation.

    My advice (since you asked for it) would be to get you the vegetarians and the Indians to meet with the bosses. This could be done at the next staff meeting. Preferably not in front of all the staff but maybe just after the meeting. You might want to discuss what is to be said beforehand. But be sure to use the words "workplace harassment", "bullying", "mobbing", and " emotional abuse", in your statement. Maybe even a few times.

    If you don't think the bosses will get it, you might want to type up a letter and have everyone sign it. Deliver it to the bosses and if you have a HR dept, cc them a copy.

    Maybe these guys are just idiots and can't tell the difference between teasing and bullying. One would think that in 2018 people would have had enough training to know that it's a thin line. but I have seen so many news stories of employers being even more ignorant. I've also seen a few stories where the HR department is complicit.

    I think you would be best off skipping the dinner.

    In preparation for the confrontation, you might want to read this
  3. Veganite

    Veganite Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Vancouver, BC
    +623 / 1 / -2
    Hello Marta, and welcome to the forum!

    I find this disgusting. It is nothing short of workplace harassment. A considerate company would be a lot more accommodating. If in your shoes I would, without a doubt, be skipping dinner.

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    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. VeganStickers

    VeganStickers Member

    Jan 12, 2016
    +8 / 0 / -0
    On every comment or joke from their side i would just ask something like " Why my life style of respecting everyone's right to live is bothering you so much? im not even talking to you about it in first place " or i usually go with responding " i know im weird, who in their right mind would not want to ear animal corpses right? dont worry maybe one day ill be back to corpse-munching like rest of you " usually shuts ppl up, and tbh i dont care if they get offended (by what? me defending coz they attacked me first? ) , i mean, its not vegans who suppose to be apologetic for their views, our views dont harm anyone, their does harm millions of lives. I have lunchbox that i take to work with one of my stickers saying "meat is rotting animal corpse", i know it bothers ppl but my goal is to plant that seed in their mind, same seed that in past was planted and opened my eyes some time later.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. StrangeOtter
    No Mood

    StrangeOtter Active Member

    Jun 20, 2018
    +39 / 0 / -0
    Some people just are negative, no matter what you do. Those kind of people feel a need to target someone. If you'd leave, they would target someone else. It's not your fault, you deserve better.

    You say that in your workplace there are vegetarians also? Do they get this kind of treatment aswell?

    I have tried in the past to confront workplace bullying and honestly can't tell anything encouraging. Some people can't be reasoned with and atleast if it gets to a point where you are emotionally exhausted and deprsessed, or if they even get physically abusive, you can get out and quit your job inorder to protect yourself. Or then, when it gets to a point where you have been physically abused, you can also make it a lawsuit.

    But still....Like people above said, confronting the bullies is a first step and who knows, maybe they'll listen. That would be beyond awesome and also rewarding and uplifting.

    Maybe there have been a misunderstanding and they don't know that their jokes are hurtful? I can't tell... So therefore communication might be the key to this dilemma.

    Trying to keep the feelings cool while talking to them and being direct but polite, would be one advice. If they want to tell their side, listen. If you are nervous, take deep breaths, it's completely normal to feel nervous so try not to worry about it. If your hands shake and your heart races there is a good change that no one else notices anything. And if you get the vegetarians with you they'll give their support.

    If you feel like you can't face them you can send an e-mail, or a text message.

    Personally, I don't handle mean people at workplace. I ignore them as much as possible. Ofcourse I do my job and am neutral with responding to them. I never sink down to their level. And I don't take their attitude and actions personally (because I'm not responsible), or atleast I try. I concentrate on my imagination, everything positive in my life and since I have been in a many different workplaces, I keep in mind those co-workers who were nice to me and easy to work with. I have also studied self-defence and meditation.
    But that's not particularly an advice. It's an inefficient coping mechanism. I mean, if bad things happen at the workplace and it's a freaking 8 hours a day, that'll change you. Mean people make me physically and emotionally sick and currently I'm out of job so.... that's obviously not great. But I'm working on it. It's not that when you have some bad experiences you are going to automatically be unemployed for the rest of your life. And to some, entrepreneurship is better option.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
  6. new vegan

    new vegan Member

    Oct 6, 2018
    +25 / 0 / -0
    Vegan Newbie
    I ignore them.. It's something that one learns to do over time. Really? People are bullied for all kinds of reasons. I was bullied for quite a few things in my life:

    1) Being a body builder

    2) At one time, being extremely obese

    3) At one time being anorexic

    4) For being intelligent

    5) For playing dumb to fit in

    6) For being an introvert

    7) For just existing

    I've learned in life that people are going to have a "problem" with whatever you do. As an introvert, i learned to look beyond the teasing - and learned that it had nothing to do with me at all. I just happened exist, and was comfortable with who i became.

    They, on the other hand - have a problem with their own existence, and they need something/someone to distract them from themselves. If a dog just happens to be crossing the street, just minding it's business trying to get home for dinner? These people would have a problem with that poor dog.

    Over time, i learned to ignore anyone who is insecure about themselves, and projecting their insecurity on others. If it's the work place, i just give people a blank stare when they start their silliness, and keep it moving.

    When it's in the gym (and we all know about gym-harassment), i ignore them.. If they are in a group, and the owners don't do anything about it, i expose the establishment, as well as the perpetrators on social media. Works wonders.

    Insecure folks are so not worth your time. When it was lunch hour? I was happy to take my meals, sit in my car while listening to any music i chose. When my co workers would ask if i wanted to dine with them. I had no problem saying "no".. What they feel after that, was not my business.

    When you make a choice to eat healthy or even UNhealthy, that should be something you can enjoy. Regardless of the opinions of others.
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