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I feel unsafe and unsupported

Professionalism   (1,102 Views | 15 Replies)
by jdstga jdstga (New) New

260 Profile Views; 2 Posts

I have a male coworker who is intimidating me, who is violating my personal space and when I ask him to move he tells me nobody's doing anything to me.

This is not the first instance of I've had with this man, I've tried to take it to my boss and I'm told that that's just the way he is and not to take offense.

I feel threatened and unsafe in my work environment.

I have attempted to move to other roles within my department to limit my contact with this man

In the past four shifts that I have worked with him twice he has effectively pinned me in a corner while I was on the phone with a patient standing so close to the back of my chair that his clothing was touching my body I had no chance to escape

When I asked him to move back he refuses tells me he's not doing anything and I need to relax.

He reads over my head, accessing patient information that doesn't pertain to him and violating patient's rights.

I asked my manager for help and she told me that I'm destroying morale in the department.

I have made every effort to limit my contact with this man, I work different shifts if I can, I volunteer for other departments, but nearly every time we work together he acts aggressively or he demeans me, he picks fights, he stands over my shoulder, he won't leave me alone.

 

I'm afraid I'm going to lose my job.  I'm an LPN currently in school for my RN I have 1 year left and can't afford to lose my job. 

What can I do without being labeled as trouble? I fear retaliation.

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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If your manager won't address the situation, you need to take it to the next level. This is harassment, plain and simple. You've addressed it immediately with the individual, you've addressed it with the direct manager, you now need to go up a level. This is not the kind of situation legal would want- you are being set up for a very good chance at a lawsuit for a hostile work environment.

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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Yes, pursue up the chain of command

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MHDNURSE has 21 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, Community, and School Health.

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If this situation were occurring with your daughter or sister, what would you tell them to do?  I am sure your answer is you would fight it al the way up the chain of command.  You deserve no less than this.  

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:54 AM, jdstga said:

In the past four shifts that I have worked with him twice he has effectively pinned me in a corner while I was on the phone with a patient standing so close to the back of my chair that his clothing was touching my body I had no chance to escape

When I asked him to move back he refuses tells me he's not doing anything and I need to relax.

He reads over my head, accessing patient information that doesn't pertain to him and violating patient's rights.

I asked my manager for help and she told me that I'm destroying morale in the department.

WHAT.

You need to go to HR and tell them you are being harassed and that you have already addressed this with both the person in question and your manager with no changes and no plan and you are expecting the problem to be actually addressed pronto.

Is there more to this? What the world. I believe you, I just can't imagine why a manager is dumb enough to actually handle this that way.

 

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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On 2/8/2020 at 1:55 PM, Hoosier_RN said:

Yes, pursue up the chain of command

And if chain of command doesn't work, consult an attorney regarding sexual harrassment. That will get their attention 

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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1 hour ago, Hoosier_RN said:

And if chain of command doesn't work, consult an attorney regarding sexual harrassment. That will get their attention 

Sadly, this may be the way you might end up pursuing.

Just keep detailed notes of who, what, when, where, etc. Esp when you do try to go up the chain.

 

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TheSquire has 9 years experience as a DNP, EMT-B, APN, NP and specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing.

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Skip the Chain of Command - go to HR, and consider an attorney

 

Edit: To clarify - the Chain of Command has already failed you; there's no need to go higher up the chain.  Your last-ditch in-company effort is to report to HR...and once they see that the manager screwed up, HR should come down hard on the offending employee.  If they don't, then it's lawyer time (and time to find new employment in the meanwhile).

Edited by TheSquire
clarification

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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Keep a notebook at home (do not bring it to work) and document every instance.  Speak to this person assertively, with eye contact:  "You're in my space and you need to back up."  When you get home, document this and what the response was.

Document the times you've spoken to your manager about this, and what the response was.  I second the advice of others to report this to HR, EEOC, and consult with a lawyer.

Meanwhile, start looking for a new job.  This one is unlikely to end well, no matter what.  The best you can hope for is that someone somewhere takes this seriously.  Good luck.

 

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FacultyRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN.

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I agree with the previous posters, but I would also suggest an electronic paper trail to your manager so there's no denying that you've expressed concerns. 

"Manager, As we've discussed before, I find X's behaviors threatening and inappropriate, and I feel unsafe around him. Here is a list of recent incidents, how I personally responded to X each time and how he responded when asked to stop.

(Insert bulleted list)

In our past discussions about my concerns, you've mentioned that this is just how X acts, and you've told me that I am decreasing unit morale by bringing these concerns to light. I don't want to cause problems, but I do want to feel safe at work. I've already changed roles in an attempt to avoid these uncomfortable incidents, but they continue to occur.  Last week when X was physically leaning into my body and refused to move when I asked him to back away, I realized that I need to bring this ongoing hostile work environment to your attention again so that you can help me develop an action plan.  Is there a time this week we can sit down with HR to discuss my concerns and come up with a plan?

Thank you."

-A) paper trail

-B) paper trail that addresses your manager's previous refusal to help and putting the target on YOU as a morale-ruiner

C) paper trail letting your manager know action is required, you feel like you're in a hostile work environment,  and that you're meeting with HR - hope she'll join

Print off a copy of the e-mail you send your manager for your own files.  Then, if you lose your job for an "unrelated" reason and can't access your work e-mail anymore, you'll have documentation of the events.

I hope you get good resolution. 

Edited by FacultyRN

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Katillac has 18 years experience as a RN.

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This is a terrible situation to be in. Classic blaming the victim for the perpetrator's behavior. My heart goes out to you. Best of luck as you move through it.

This isn't just harassment, it's assault, defined as intent and action causing apprehension of harm or offense in the subject. Not assault and battery, because there is no physical contact, but it meets the legal standard for assault.

But a manager stupid enough to support the perpetrator's behavior and try to intimidate you into silence about it will likely also try to retaliate if you escalate this to HR or beyond. Hopefully, HR will have your back and prevent your termination, but I imagine the day-to-day under this manager will get pretty tough.

I can't agree enough that an email (print a copy!) to your manager documenting the events and the manager's response is critical going forward. I also agree more discussion with this manager is a waste of time. Your choices are to continue to suffer the harassment and assault, to find another job, or to escalate to HR or beyond. You'll then possibly need to find another job either because the workplace gets so hostile or the manager figures out a way to fire you with cause.

 

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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I like the phrase 'facilitating a hostile work environment'.

Did anybody else comment to contact Corporate (if there is a Corporate)?

But what's to say that the HR/Corp  person isn't just as much a worthless or useless step in the process? They could just be as into the 'see no evil, hear no evil, ... , MYOB mindset group with the facility.

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