When the workplace becomes hell

His job has become hell. And it wasn’t overnight. Pilar, Anthony, María and Manel are the victims of this most severe workplace bullying, which continues over time, a growing “disease” (30% of workers in Spain are at risk of suffering from it) that takes a serious psychological and physical toll on those who fall into that well.

These are their stories, told at the Fontelles (Barcelona) law firm specializing in employment law.

Pilar, who is based in Barcelona, ​​has been selected to work as a sales manager in Spain for a foreign multinational pharmaceutical company. Good job and great business opportunity that this woman started on the wrong foot. Harassment at work, as well as sexual, in this case appeared already at the selection stage. The selection of candidates was a task that the vice president of the company assigned to himself. Therefore, something smelled really bad from the start, because it doesn’t make sense for such a high position of a company to do that job.

The vice president was concerned, before interviewing the candidates, that each director of the European subsidiaries had selected him first based on material aspects. He was mainly looking for skinny and beautiful women. It also ordered that the color of each candidate’s hair be consistent with the features of the country. Spanish: brunette; Swedish or Finnish: blonde. But in this story, there is a lot of fabric to cut. The vice president traveled to every country (another unusual assignment) to interview the shortlisted candidates in person. Those interviews were taking place in a hotel. The vice president decided on various meetings. Pilar immediately realized that this director’s “morality” crossed all boundaries. Use meetings to harass and abuse candidates (by touching them). Some suffered from these abuses, Pilar recalls, while others quit their jobs.

Pilar decided, however, that this harassment had to stop at its root. So his boss in Spain was told. Pilar’s boss reports this situation to a senior position in the pharmaceutical company. the answer? He was dismissed. Pilar did not give up. He continued to attend meetings with the Vice President every time he came to Spain with a hidden tape recorder. Those acoustics were the ultimate guide. Now yes, the multinational has fired its vice president.

Sexual harassment of a high-ranking pharmacist and cheating his colleagues for being gay…

The company, very afraid that this scandal of a European scale would become public, kept Pilar in her post for two years, until one day, without just cause, she fired her. The woman has now taken her case to court.

Anthony found a good job in the banking sector. He was happy, enthusiastic and eager to work. But this optimism did not last long. It was a mirage. Antonio was fired after an internal search sponsored by his colleagues. It seems they don’t want someone like him on the team. because? Anthony is convinced that everything that has happened to him in this job and the harassment his colleagues have experienced is because he is gay.

As is often the case in workplace harassment cases, Anthony’s dismissal did not happen overnight. And this man insists that he was the victim of a well-orchestrated and orchestrated plan. In banking procedures, you have to comply with a series of protocols (mostly bureaucratic steps) that often go unaddressed. That’s how he tells Alex Fontelles, the lawyer who’s in charge. He was able to verify this in the investigation conducted for the defense of the case.

And it was Anthony’s colleagues who told him that it was not necessary to carry out all the procedures prescribed by the protocols. They indicate which ones can be skipped. They told him: “If you do everything for the letter, you will not sell anything.” Anthony relied on this advice without realizing that he had fallen into a trap. Fontelles says it was the rest of the staff who encouraged management to open an internal investigation into the application of the protocols. The score is sung. Anthony did not pass this test – and it remains to be seen whether or not there was collusion between the management of this bank and the rest of the workers – and the gay employee was fired. Anthony took his case to court.

There are many forms and variants in the catalog of workplace bullying. One technique, which tends to leave the greatest anxiety and psychological consequences, is neglect or indifference. Posted is when you keep someone in an office without giving them work and ignore that person, as if they weren’t there. This is what happened to Maria. This woman held the position of bank branch manager. It’s a good job, he says, he did it professionally and he loved it. From one day to the next, her company restructured its offices, and Maria went from being a bank manager to a telephone operator. Other directors have suffered the same fate.

Ignoring and ignoring employees to undermine their morale or overexploit their fatigue

It was a heavy blow, despite the fact that the entity had kept the salary (about 50,000 euros) for those jobs that previously had a high responsibility for a job with a much lower salary. It is a widely used formula by companies. Silent harassment aimed at undermining the morale of these neglected workers. Maria says that many of her colleagues could not stand this situation and accepted the company’s “ridiculous” compensation for dismissal. Maria endured, threatening to take the case to court, and her insistence resulted in her receiving fair compensation.

Manill’s case refers to other labor harassments of the writers: over-exploitation to the burning of a worker. He is a computer scientist, and his dedication has been instrumental to the progress of the family business. Now in this company there are more computer scientists, but he “continued to eat all the browns,” says his lawyer Alex Fontelles. He had to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His colleagues – who were the ones who instituted this infernal guard shift – couldn’t care less if Manell was suffering from anxiety or stressed out from too much work. One day he exploded when he could not find support either from his superiors, who told him that shifts should be divided among all computer scientists. He has filed a complaint in court.

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