harassment in the workplace

  1. this is kind of a long drawn out ordeal, but i really need some advice. my husband and i have had this chick stalking us for the last year (such as calling his workplace repeatedly, parking down the street from his family's houses, trying to get to know people she knows i'm friends with etc.) she's an ex-girlfriend from way back. she was the type to psychologically abuse someone til they end up in therapy. well, i've minded my own business and assume she's lacking maturity so i've not even associated with her in anyway until recently. she found out where i'm working and *big surprise* got a job there as a cmt. as soon as i found out, i forewarned my supervisors that she'd been harassing me for a long period of time. my DON played the 'sympathetic' role and said she would advise this girl that she was to count with other nurses and could not speak to me for any reason. also that she would be terminated at the very start of any trouble from her. ok, that sounds fine in theory, but as soon as she hit the floor she looked for any little insignificant reason to speak to me ("i don't understand how to sign out ABT's from the E-kit" etc). it's been nonstop. the other day, i'd just absolutely had it when she came up to me and began telling me how to do my job (when i'm her supervisor!). i assumed she was trying to get me to lose my temper so i would be the one to get in trouble. i simply told her to "stop speaking to me and go away". i had to spend an hour in the ADON's office having a freaking nervous breakdown because i can't handle the tension of the whole situation anymore. my DON's answer to the problem was to have a nurse's meeting to clear the air. i stated up front that i felt like they were putting me in a position to either put up with the abuse or find a different job, which of course she categorically denied. she's defending this med tech tooth and nail over everything. right down to rationalizing as to why she calls me at the facility on her days off. i'm worried that my license and more importantly, my family's well-being could be at stake here. my husband thinks we should get a restraining order, but it'd be hard to do without concrete proof. i loved my job before she came and i've been with the facility for 2 years. i don't feel i should have to leave, but my DON has me in the position to where it seems i'll have to. does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this?? i feel completely lost. sorry for venting guys.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from anjau
    does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this?? i feel completely lost. sorry for venting guys.
    Please don't be sorry. Stalking is against the law in Missouri, and it sounds like both you and your husband are being stalked by this chick. I think you should give these people a call for more advice:

    http://www.ncvc.org/src/main.aspx?dbID=DB_Missouri252

    And you can certainly come here for moral support as well. You--you and your husband--also might consider going to counseling over this, because it is very disruptive to your life.

    Please keep us posted, OK?
  4. by   anjau
    that's pretty much what i was thinking i should do, but you just hate being in the situation to begin with! thanks for your concern. i appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts. my husband and i have considered counseling because it does cause a lot of tension. especially when i come home from work upset all the time. well, thanks again! it's good to know i have a place to come where people understand.
  5. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from anjau
    that's pretty much what i was thinking i should do, but you just hate being in the situation to begin with! thanks for your concern. i appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts. my husband and i have considered counseling because it does cause a lot of tension. especially when i come home from work upset all the time. well, thanks again! it's good to know i have a place to come where people understand.
    If this has been ongoing over a period of time, you and your husband need to get a restraining order.

    Forgive me for saying this, but I would also consider getting another job. Your mental health is simply not worth this tension. As a coworker, this chick now has a "legit" reason to talk to you and it doesn't seem as though your DON is being very helpful to you at this point.

    Remembering that you are a professional nurse and have a license to protect as well as a living and a home to make, you should certainly limit contact with this person any way you can.
  6. by   pediatriclpn
    You and your family are in my prayers. It is horrible that people can act this way, and get away with it. I don't think that changing your job will do you any good. I believe she will just find a way to follow you. If she can. Your DON knows what is going on. Even if she isn't being supportive. Just remain professional, and do your job. And document, document, document. Anytime you talk with your DON about any of this woman's behaviors etc. And do not talk to this woman on your own at any time. Always have a witness that is on your side, or impartial. Counseling is a great idea, because the stress could tear your marriage apart, which is probably what this woman wants. And take the time to look into what the stalking laws are in your state. Start taking pictures of her car being where it shouldn't be, have whoever is answering the phone at your husband's employment document the calls, whatever you have to do to document this harrassment. Good luck, and do come back here for moral support!
  7. by   Jenny99
    As others have said, workplace harassment is illegal - both on the state and federal level. I would report it immediately to the state and advise your employer not to ignore it, but deal with it without delay. If they do not anything to remedy the situation or just plain ignore it hoping it will go away -should think again. They can be in big trouble for letting this go on when they acknowledged something indeed is going on. And if they have held a staff meeting already about it - they are aware. So, do not kid yourself. The employer is just as guilty as the harrasser herself. Take it to a higher authority - do not mess around - your emotional health and that of your husband depends on it.

    jenny99
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    The main problem with getting another job is that the stalker could quite easily follow her there. She shouldn't have to job-hop to avoid her, either.

    Seems to me from what she's described, she's got plenty of evidence for a restraining order.
  9. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    The main problem with getting another job is that the stalker could quite easily follow her there. She shouldn't have to job-hop to avoid her, either.
    Exactly.

    That would prove that the stalker was actually stalking her, if the stalker followed her from one job to another.

    That's why I recommended it.

    And no, she shouldn't have to job-hop, but we all know people who've worked in such dysfunctional situations that we feared for our licenses, so we left.

    To me, working with a person such as this puts her in a potentially dangerous situation and she should make every effort to make it clear that she is not encouraging or participating in the situation.
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Mar 26, '05
  10. by   anjau
    i appreciate everyone's concern, it's a nice change from what i've been experiencing. well, i found about 10 med errors in the last 3 days from this chick including the aspiration of whole oral meds by a patient it clearly states on her mar *aspiration risk: must have hob at 90 degrees and crush meds* hmm guess she didn't read that. this lady is very, very sick now obviously. i handed the stack of errors to my supervisor (because i was told that i couldn't write her up) and they still did not fire her! they slapped her on the hand and told her they expect better from her in the future. you guys are right, i don't need to be associated with this facility anymore. also, she's running around telling everyone that she's moving to the tiny faroff suburb that my husband and i live in. she must have found out where we moved. i think we're just going to move out of state and leave this unstable crazy chick behind to figure out what to do with her time. i am so fed up that i can't even imagine spending another minute here. :angryfire
  11. by   GN1974
    I say get another job and a restraining order. How did she know where you were working? Don't tell anyone where your new job is except those people who absolutely must know!
    Good Luck,
    Karen
  12. by   mattsmom81
    This is amazing; how sick some people are. Its sad we have to deal with people like this today. And restraining orders: well this is another way stalkers find out places of residence and workplaces, right? <sigh>

    I don't have any answers for you other than to tell you and your hubby to stay strong and united against her and not let her hurt your family. She is psychiatrically impaired; I worked with a coworker this way once so I know how they operate. Its not a stretch to assume she will eventually try to hurt you.

    I find it amazing you were told you could not write her up...as a supervisor its your DUTY to write up mistakes.

    She has manipulated the work situation to make it appear YOU have the problem...sounds like a sociopathic, borderline personality. Be careful and take care.

    Can you find a job in your area where a CMA would NOT be hired?? that way she could not follow you in the workplace anyway.

    If you were to move/change jobs, do you have the funds to hire a PI to tail her and document how she watches you, your family, etc? Perhaps there are legal options you could consider, once you prove what she does. Good luck.
  13. by   letina
    Was just thinking maybe a short term solution would be to ask your DON to have her put on a different shift to you, would that be practical?
  14. by   smk1
    now that she works at the same place as you, couldn't her harrassing phone calls and other on the job harrasment be reported to HR as workplace harrasment and is thus creating an uncomfortable or unsafe work enviornment? I don't know what she is saying to you exactly, but i would report to HR immediately that their is a coworker who is calling my home and following me, with concrete evidence of these things. Also make it clear that you are feeling unsafe working with this individual. Use catch phrases (unsafe, uncomfortable, hostile work enviornment) those are lawsuit words to the HR department and they may pay more attention to the situation and find a way to get rid of her. Of course I think you should also pursue a restraining order. Anything that can be construed in a threatening manner or personal manner that she says write it down and get a witness if you can.if she is leaving weird messages record them and keep them and make sure your recorder is taking in the date and time or get a print out from the phone company if possible.

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