Monday, 16 April 2018

Prevalent, ignored and therefore, condoned - Bullying and the NHS Part 6

This gets a little complicated, so I'll sum up.

I was accused of bullying and harassment and cleared of both accusations without question.

I was partially sanctioned for my joke and sanctioned for speaking to so-and-so's husband i.e. breaching policy.

First written warning for one year. No argument from me. I did tell the joke and spoke to the gentleman.

I was informed I could return to work (not expecting it to be comfortable and fully expecting it to be fraught with emotion), met with a senior member of the hospital who said the same and was then told the day before I return that I am suspended again due to four individuals having said they will leave if I return.

And I'm accused of having an affair with a colleague, even though that had nothing to do with anything.

I'll be honest - I was nearly in tears. I am renowned for having difficulty expressing emotions, both towards others and my own. I don't understand how they are supposed to work. I find them very confusing. But I was more heartbroken than when initially suspended I think. I thought it was done and dusted. Bridges to build, friendships lost, but professionalism remains and most likely, I would move on, but it was done and dusted.

Interlude -

I had been disciplined once before, many years ago. I had confronted a colleague from my place of work about her behaviour towards a senior member of staff and a friend. She had been swearing at her, being disrespectful and made her cry at work.

Everyone I was working with that day saw what was happening, was leaning in to listen to her abusive tirade against my colleague and there's... and did absolutely nothing.

They just sat there, pretending it wasn't occurring.

I couldn't believe that someone they claimed to care so much about and respect so much could be being verbally abused, right in front of them and they did nothing at all.

That was unacceptable to me, so I confronted said abusive colleague and we had an argument in the office. No bad language was used, but voices were raised, I cannot deny.

I was accused of bullying, cleared of the charge but given a final written warning for three years because of behaviour unbecoming a senior nurse.

I defended my colleague against a bullying, abusive individual and got a final written warning after being cleared of the allegation because I had been angry when confronting her.

Appropriate? Not professionally. I was wrong to confront her in the office but knew that she was prone to lying and that if I confronted her in private, I would have no witnesses. As it happens, it was those unreactive witnesses who supported me by saying I hadn't done all the things I was accused of and I was so humbled by their public support for me.

It was moving. Despite my feelings towards their inaction at that moment of abuse, I was simultaneously grateful to have such support for me and what I had done.

The trust said I should have ignored it and reported her to H.R.

Personally, I would do it the same again.

Interlude ends

I find out that my original accuser is one of the four (no surprise there to be honest). It was the other three that completely floored me.

Bearing in mind that two of the three had written statements in February upon my original suspension, praising me and acknowledging they were 100% behind me. They had spoken to others and had them pass on messages of support and that they were thinking about me.

Then in a second statement only a few weeks later, they had utterly changed their thoughts. Despite having had zero contact with me, they had gone from supporting me to saying I was a terrible employee, not very good at my job, haphazard with responsibilities and always made them miserable.

That was upsetting and strange enough, but then, in the June, they said if I returned to my postion they would leave.

Why? They hadn't been involved in anything my original accuser had said whatsoever, yet now where saying they would leave if I returned.

It turns out they had told lies about me when I saw subsequent statements. Not only had both of them commented on this alleged affair I was supposed to have been having, but they had claimed things relating to people leaving because of me that I could 100% refute.

Every single one of those mentioned came forward and said not only was it a lie that they had left because of me, but some of them named the person that caused them to go (guess who it was?) and were lovely about working with me. A few were very angry that their names had been used in vain to support someone else lies.

I was interviewed again (twice) and presented all of this information, in black and white, in the form of letters and e mails via my union representative so I couldn't be accused of coercion.

And do you know what they did to those who lied in a formal investigation?

Nothing.

They are all still there. They even promoted my main accuser to my position while I was suspended and then removed it from her due to complaints about her behaviour.

But the evidence I gave them - it was ignored.

The one who had said the bullying evidence against my accuser would be addressed after my case, never followed up on her promise.

That individual is still there, despite my having demonstrated that four people have left and stated it is because of her.

Sexist? Double standards? I shall let you decide that for yourselves.

On top of that, the senior so-and-so and my manager claimed that I had 'no self awareness at all' and that she was aware of 'previous historic disciplinary issues (notice the plural. What issues? I have already mentioned an issue, but am not aware of issues) My observation was that turnover of staff was higher than I would have expected and that was concerning to me.'

Now, it appears I was getting the blame for staff leaving after all. It is a known fact where I worked that my colleagues went because of a) the new manager who bullied them b) they were given no opportunity for advancement and c) didn't agree with the changing hours.

All have confirmed this were relevant to them, and it is in writing yet the senior so-and-so implied it was because of me.

Hmmm.

Kelly wrote a letter to the senior so-and-so, highlighting her concerns for my mental health, the fact that I had tried to commit suicide because of this whole situation and no one was interested, that she was upset that affair accusations had been levied at me, that evidence had been presented regarding the actual bully and that she had been treated so rudely when enquiring about me all those months ago.

The response was it was 'brought to my attention alongside a number of character references in order to inform a decision as to whether to proceed to a hearing or not. I didn’t feel they changed my decision.'

Character references (more than 12, from all over the hospital, from consultants, current colleagues, former colleagues and respected senior members of the organisation) evidence regarding the actual bully who had forced people to leave and union support and it didn't change the decision.

My manager stated that I was always a nightmare from her first day (remember, she gave me the position. Gave it to me. Without an interview) and that I was never good at my job.

I have asked for evidence to support these allegations and the allegations from the senior so-and-so that I was terrible at my job and they always had complaints about me.

To date, I have received not a single piece of evidence supporting the bullying allegations or that I was terrible or problematic at my job.

They all said they never had any contact with me socially. I provided photos of them sat on my sofa, at home, holding my infant son, texts messages discussing The Walking Dead, text messages asking me to meet them for a coffee and photos from nights out.

But they never had anything to do with me socially.

One of the worst things is that one of the four has been telling other members of staff how terribly the trust have treated me and had subsequently text me to wish me all the best and tell me about their family, yet they are telling the senior so-and-so that if I returned they'd leave.

I have emails from my manager the week before my suspension, telling me what a great job I am doing then goes on record as saying I was always terrible at my job.

There are only two conclusions - I was either that bad, and it was tolerated and I was continually told I was good at my job.

Or she is lying.

That they were all lying.

I shall leave you to decide which you think it most likely.

Tomorrow I shall conclude this whole sad, heartbreaking saga with a final piece.

And then you will be free of me!!!

Well, free of me discussing this. I have plenty of serial killer thrillers yet to write to occupy your time.

And a medical thriller.

And other stuff too!

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