The "Bully"tin Board

Here is your stage. Belt out your lines. Take the lead and be a star. If you are not
ready for the "big time" yet, consider this board the community "theater" in which
you can practice and prepare for a life of self-confidence, fulfilment and making a
difference in your life and the lives of others.

*Some of the "intro" anecdotes below are from the Nineveh support group, and
designed to inspire people to speak out. Names have been
changed or removed out of respect for Nineveh members.

Stories and photos (jpeg's, please) should be submitted to

3/21/02-Thanks to Tim Field for posting my URL for "The Expendables," I have received more incredible, and sometimes heartbreaking stories that need to be told. One letter was from David Fitch, creator of, who is boldly taking on the issue in Northern England and spending quality time with his daughter. Please visit his site for more enlightenment from across the pond. Says David, "When I look at the corrupt society I live in,which most of the time is covered up with more corruption and suffering I wonder where it's all going to end.It seems that all the laws only apply to the lower classes and poor.Every government organisation through out my life has either conspired to injure me or kill me and my family.Unfortunately those that enforce child abuse and corruption think that what is happening in our society won't affect them,but they are wrong. The only crime you need to commit in Britain is being poor,and that is an excuse for corrupt white collar workers to commit crime."

From Brenda McGuffee

I have been reading the bully stories and others from different web sites. It's really appalling. I, too, have been at the hands of dysfunctional, irresponsible, indifferent, primeval, abusive management systems. They don't learn. From my own experience, there is no difference between domestic abuse and workplace abuse. Whatever you want to call it (bullying, mobbing, etc.) it is still abuse and it has no geographical or educational boundaries. Sometimes the ones with the college degrees are the most ignorant when it comes to being humane and understanding.

Being an employer is a right, a privilege, and a choice. No one holds a revolver to a person's head and says, "You become an employer, or else!" Similar to having a driver's license. The car can be used as a weapon like the employer's position and power can be used as a weapon to a financially dependent worker, depending on the person who is in the driver's seat. Their personality, attitude, perception of dangerous situations, their willingness to LISTEN and do the right thing, among many others. Abusive management is not good management. Don't be conditioned to believe lies. I strongly believe the workplace at-will policy (which is 100 years old)
that a lot of management and employers use as leverage to get rid of anyone, absolutely contributes to the unemployment problem and workplace abuse. We need laws to hold employers and their co-horts accountable for their irresponsible behavior and their attitude of indifference concerning workers. Where would employers be without the worker (the backbone)? They surely couldn't do all of the work themselves, and who would line their deep pockets? Another thing that is vital is that when (and it will happen) these laws are written and enacted, they need to be used consistantly, not once
in a while. Inconsistency serves no good purpose. These laws need to be kept simple.

Complicating them only serves to confuse employees so the employer has the advantage. I think it's time the worker has the advantage. I've been unemployed since Nov. of 2001. I've been in the workforce for 25 years and I've seen a lot. I was a "problem" and a threat at work because I stood up for my right not to be abused. Management and HR (brillant specimens of humanity) offered me a severance package which I took home and read and reread. It was a bribe (something given to condition behavior). I refused to sign it because my civil rights are not for sale at any price. I suggest anyone offered a "severance" package make lots of copies of it and keep those copies handy. You never know when you might need them. In fact, make copies of everything your employer gives you.

I was in hairdressing for over 20 years and then I went to factory work. What an eye opener! I thought hairdressing was abusive but nothing like what I have experienced in the last 3 years with management and their employers. I have written a book and it will be out in June, 2002. It's about domestic violence and child abuse which I grew up with. I have incorporated workplace abuse in it also and defined the difference between abuse and harassment. We have been conditioned by lobbyist groups and yes, the media too, (among others) to believe that abuse is harassment, which it is not. Harassment is different and I know what I'm talking about. I've had decades of experience with abuse, predominantly psychological abuse. There is no difference between domestic and workplace abuse. The same four sick, rigid, oppressive rules apply: Don't trust, don't feel, don't talk, and don't think. Pretend everything is fine and it will go away. Don't display negative emotion because it could get you fired. Conform to these four oppressive rules and in return for your efforts to conform, you will not receive true, genuine respect.

Thank you for letting me sound off.

From Koos Vanderwilt, Silicon Valley, CA

"Mr Ellison,

I am writing you an open eletter about my experiences as an employee at Oracle, Inc. The eletter is open in that I posted it to two Internet Forums dealing with
work place abuse and bullying at work.

* During the summer of 1997, I was interviewed by Oracle for a position that seemed to exist exclusively to write a computer program that was to recognize 'named entities' in free English text (business names, people names, organization names).

* I was inclined to accept the post, but, wary of previous experiences as a computational linguist in industry, asked if there'd be other job possibilities for me in the company after the project was over. I was told by the interview comittee that'd be no problem, and was promised there were plenty of other jobs in case the 'computer and text' program would lose its funding. I asked this question TWICE and received the same promise TWICE.

* I said during the interview I would implement the CKY algorithm. The staff was not familiar with this -standard - algorithm, but stated that as long as it would do what it was supposed to do, all would be fine.

* I went to work, first writing the Functional Specifications in Framemaker, which were signed off on by management. I then programmed my way through the assignment, talking to programmers whenever I encountered implementations exceeding my knowledge of programming, and receiving instructions on how the text cartridge, ConText, was put together.

* I complained to my boss about being addressed by a co-worker twice with "goddammit, Koos", hand slapped on the desk. Needless to say I wish to be treated
with more respect than that.

* After the resulting meeting, my manager (name witheld) called me "disobedient", implying I should not have complained about being addressed with "goddammit" . I paid no further attention to this childlike epithet, despite the glares I received in a meeting from my manager.

* I completed the assignment, and added an extra post-processor for expedience, although this was not in the Functional Specifications.

* As I was working on the post-processor, my manager started coming into my cubicle, asking me to integrate the post-processor into the parser. This would alter the parser to a normal computer program rather than being a CKY algorithm, a contradiction with the Functional Specs, and therefore mathematically impossible. There are also well-known injunctions against writing spaghetti code,which I also cited.

* My manager kept coming into my cube, insisting I make the change. One time, in his office, he slapped his hand on his desk and threatened to fire me. I went
to HR and was assured this was not within the manager's power.

* The manager charged me with 'an authority problem' and this psychological nonsense was never offset by a technical investigation to see if my claims were correct. The manager does not possess a degree in psychology, nor did he state any criteria for my 'authority problem'.

* Four months of more wrangling followed, during which I got very depressed - a normal reaction to work-place abuse and the constant sarcasm, and demands that something be done that could not be done. I was told by HR to look for another job within the corporation, a worthless offer in view of the fact my manager refused to give me a good recommendation. In the end, I was walked off the terrain by two guards.

* I ran into the employee who had addressed me with "goddamit, Koos" in the hallway, and he accused me in a loud tone of voice as having implemented - and I cite - "a piece of academic sh*t", despite this being a standard algorithm, that was agreed upon during the job interview. Having my work designated in an aggressive tone as "academic sh*t" was one more instance of verbal abuse.

* Please note again: a technical investigation was never conducted to see if my claims were correct. Oracle's glossy brochures promising respectful
treatment of an employee mean absolutely nothing: it was my word against my bosses report of me having'an authority problem'.

* As an extra, I put in some free work for another group on the same floor, creating lists of 'stop-words' in three languages - Dutch, French and German, as 'stop-words' are elementary to text retrieval search technologies. I did this because I am enthusiastic about my field, and because I felt safe regarding long-term employment at Oracle.

* In conclusion, it is safe to state that bullying/work-place abuse are tolerated by Oracle, despite the mental anguish this may cause an employee with a vulnerable specialization, who completed his job according to Functional Specifications; the job I promised to do at the interview and did.

I am extremely disappointed a company that bills itself as reputable should endorse the above behavior. I do not hesitate to call the broken promises done at the interview false. I have skipped over a few details. I would ask you to look into bullying and work place abuse at your company, not in the last place because, regardless of the human cost, mindgames, aggression and abuse are costly affairs. My work has been shelved, and I suffereded considerable financial loss as a consequence of one thing and another. Nobody won.

3/21/02- Kati Rose update, as submitted by Jayne (her mother), in response to an appeal to The National Right to Work Legal Defense

"Thank you for e-mailing The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. We regret that we are unable to assist you. Because of our limited resources and restrictions contained in our corporate charter, NRTW must limit the types of cases that it accepts. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation was established for the sole purpose of providing free legal aid to employees suffering violations of their human and civil rights because of injustices arising from the abuses of compulsory union membership arrangements. Our charter does not permit involvement in issues that do not involve an abuse of compulsory union membership.

Your situation, regrettably, does not meet the criteria for NRTW involvement. Consequently, we are not able to give the legal assistance that you seek. Please do not consider this a judgment of the merits of your case. You may very well have a valid claim, but NRTW is unable to help you in this matter.

Litigation Staff"

3/27/02 -- Another Kati Rose Update, from Jayne

I got this message from the workbully support group e-mail. Thought it was of interest to visitors of

Kati went last week and put in an application at a daycare. She went back yesterday for an interview and is going back today. I don't know what will happen or if she will get a job. Something smells, though. They don't seem to know what they want or need, and when Kati asked about pay they had no answer for her. The lady in charge
has talked about driving the van/bus to pick up afterschool kids. Kati, meanwhile, requested that she doesn't want to be responsialbe for driving children in a town she is not from. She was applying for daycare/childcare -- not driving children to the center. The last thing she was told was they would check her credentials. I'm wondering now if they are trying to use the driving thing to discourage her. On the first day she was told they had two centers in the town, and when she came back she could
visit the other one and decide which she would like to work at. When she went back they didn't mention the other center -- only the driving job. I don't know what will happen today. I

She also went in January and put in her application at this supper club for waitress or bartender. She checked back with them in February and the guy told her they would call her in March, not to worry. He hasn't called yer. This is a supper club that is being remodeled by a new owner and they are not through with the remodeling yet but it looks like it is almost ready to reopen. They have taken down their hiring sign which they put in in December. I am wondering why they would not have contacted people by now. The temp company she signed up with in December still has not found her a job. I told you they called last week asking her questions about why a break was in her resume a couple of years back which she had told them the reason when she signed up. They did not offer her a job just wanted to ask questions. When the lady hung up she said she would keep looking for something but they have never called back. Kati questioned them as to why they had not found her any jobs and told them in the past few years back when she was worked for them they always found her something even if it was only stuffing envelopes, which by the way is exactly what they found her. At that time she type 65-70 words per minute, and was very good with Word Perfect. She was fresh out of college classes and they never found jobs for her doing that????

I wrote the attorney again whom Jennifer from Nineveh suggested and told him Kati's story, and asked if he could help in anyway or if he as an attorney, especially if he is an attorney who has been bullied out, might explain to me all these weird happenings with employees and attorneys. He still hasn't written???? I found a website belonging to him by searching for You may want to see what he has there.

3/28/02 - Diana Ayling, via Jayne

Hi to all in the group,

I have found a couple of things in the last few days that may be of interest to various people. I found an article on workplace stress that suggest stress audits to identify sources of stress in organisations. A good article on this is found in the May 2000 issue of Director, there is a website to check out "businesshealth" at the ususal

We have had an interesting a ground breaking case in New Zealand decided by the Court of Appeal (second highest court in the land, for some reason we retain the Privy Council as the highest court). The case concerned the manager of an engineering company, Mr. Matheson, who's responsibility was servicing a fast ferry. He worked long hours, let the job get to him, fell out with his staff and eventually resigned in desperation. The company offered more staff at one stage but didn't become actively involved in solving the problems. Later when staff started to resign they sent in a Mr. McLaughlin to interview all the staff but did not communicate what they were doing with Mr Matheson and did not involve him. This undoubtly fed his feelings of worthlessness. On the day he resigned he was very upset, not thinking clearly. His resignation was accepted on the spot by the manager with no attempt to resolve the problems or seek help for him. The same day he committed suicide.

The action was brought by his wife, claiming he was unjustifiably dismissed and that the company had failed to act fairly andreasonably in its treatment of her husband.

The court found for the unjustifiable dismissal claim, and stated that the acceptance of his resignation was not reasonable in the circumstances. The had some very interesting things to say about the fairness and reasonableness claim.

The judge agreed with the lower court judge that the company had "failed actively to provide Mr Matheson with any real support to help him solve his management problems. The only support offered was to make it clear that Mr Matheson could employ more staff. While that would have helped with Mr Matheson' extreme self-inflicted
workload it would have been unlikely to have solved the staff relations problems; failed properly and constructively to alert Mr. Matheson to inquiries directors were making notably Steve Wooff, about staff relations. Instead Mr Wooff's inquiries were undertaken in the physical presence of Mr Matheson without involving him. The cumulative effect of these two failures mean that the procedure adopted by Mr McLaughlin on 5 February 1999 was inevitably flawed.

At least he was entitled to have the opportunity to calm down, take some advice, or get some support before and during the meeting with Mr McLaughlin. Mr McLaughlin's ready acceptane of Mr. Matheson's desperate offer of resignation was unfair in all these circumstances. The dismissal was therefor unjustified."

At last some recognition that managers must take active responsibility for the mental state of their employees and to become involved in finding solutions to problems and providing support for staff who are suffering from workplace stress. As an aside the wife received distress damages for $25,000 (75,000 pounds) and the company paid her an additional $10,000 gratuity.






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