Healthcare And Workplace Bullying: Beth’s Story

I met Beth through our warm and supportive Facebook Group which encourages targets, past and present, to share information and resources  with each other.  Beth is publicly sharing her powerful story, printed below, to help raise awareness about the devastating impact of abusive workplaces.  She did reach out to the EEOC but says they couldn’t help because her employer was able to make the case that her termination was based on business protocol.  The same hurdle is required in the pending legislation she is lobbying for.  So, from that perspective, we ask what might have helped her?  Some states compensate for the mental duress like Beth experienced and even include back pay/front pay.   Currently that depends on what state you live in and many advocates are fighting to have current laws strengthened and expanded on a national level.     Our warmest thanks to Beth for sharing her story  – for more stories or to share your own go to our sister site NoJobIsWorthThis.com .

My Story

This is “My Story” about being bullied by the Practice Manager of a Doctors office. She had been there about three years. I was there over fifteen. Looking back and trying to put the pieces of my life back together. I now know what was the begining of her attempt to control me and the start of the bullying. I was blind sided and extremely naive. There had been, up to this point minor (comparatively speaking) attempts to belittle me. I was asked to train a new gal that wasn’t doing very well at her satellite location. She had basic skills, was fresh out of school and had very little confidence. It started out one day a week. I gladly took her under my wing and shared my twenty years of experience. The gal at one point actually said to me “why are you being so good to me”. My answer was, “because I don’t know how long I can work (because of my illnesses) and I want my patients to be in well trained hands”. Before I knew it the P.A. had her coming down two, then three, then four, and then all of a sudden, she was at my location full time. They closed down the other gals location since it wasn’t successful. We did not have enough business for both of us at my location. Pretty soon I realized while I was back in the treatment room doing procedures, the P.A. had told the trainee she could have the commission from sales I had always recieved.  She only went and got the patients products, I had personally selected for them to adderss their specific skin challenges. I also took time to explain how to use them. These were patients I had worked with at some point in the past. Some I had brought with me and they had been under my care for some twenty years. She sat up front, with the front desk guy a lot of the time getting what had always been my commission and not very busy in her treatment room building her clientele. I had worked with many other professionals over the years and this had never happened before. What normally happens is you build your own clientele. You become busy and the reap the benefits of your hard work. It takes years to build trust and your faithful clientele. I had tried to discuss this issue several times and was put off.  Again, I spoke up and tried to get it straightened out, it escalated out of control. It got ugly very quickly, once the P.A. got involved. Pretty soon the gal I had trained turned on me and so did the guy at the front desk (over the money). I over heard them making fun of me and it became very uncomfortable to be at work.

The new gal was talking to a patient I recognized and remembered what it was she needed, so I took her back and got what she needed. The next thing I knew I was being yelled at by the P.A. for “steeling” the trainees patients and if I ever did it again I would be fired. I tried to tell her this has never happened before in all the years I had worked there or anywhere for that matter. We had a clear definition of commission and something has obviousley changed. This is how she orchestrated the mobbing. Telling the newby and the front desk guy a different trumped up policy that I had never heard of . It was about money, and ridiculously unfair. I tried to explain to the P.A. I had trained this gal, shared my knowledge of twenty years, she said “I would expect nothing less” . I tried to tell her, these were patients I had seen and and this is part of my seniority, including having trained and being her mentor.She had apprenticed under me. I should continue getting these commissions and I wasn’t “steeling patients”. She will earn her own. If I even got that much out…as I think back, she really enjoyed humiliating me. She started taking me off of specific jobs I had done for years. During these series of events mind you I was getting very sick with my autoimmune challenges. I may have, no.. I had become distant from most of the other employees and because of the lack of communication it made this situation worse. When I took control of the sale I was trying to meet the patients needs.

I decided I had better turn in my FMLA paper work to secure my position. The workplace had become very hostile and toxic. I was a pioneer in this field and it had been my passion for twenty some years. I couldn’t believe how I was being treated.

Months back when I started getting sick, she would say, are you ok, I would always say, I’m working on it, and I was. She would complement me on occasion. One day, for example..after she did with an outfit I had on (since it was comfortable) and with my R.A. that was paramount. I went out and bought more and had to have the pants altered. Of course it wasn’t cheep. I had to buy flats to match as well since I couldn’t wear heels at work any more. Then out of the blue she comes up to me and points at me and says “you are not keeping up with the competition, you have to step it up”. After I’d spent the money and all. I was so caught off guard. I ALWAYS had my hair done and make-up and jewelry on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and the tone was so ugly. It would have been nice to hear, I’m sorry you can’t wear the heels you love so much and I’m sure it’s hard having to adjust to all these changes going on in your body. It must be hard to come to work every day as sick as a dog. But NO instead, I’m bullied, harassed and made to feel I had NO value what so ever. That I was worthless. She said more than once “you don’t even want to know what your co-workers think of you” ! Her tone was menacing …The bullying escalated as I became more ill. I had asked to have one day off a week to try to regain my health and continue the Drs. appointments to get to the bottom of just what was going on. I had wanted to just use my personal time off (pto) I had accumulated since I rarely ever missed work. I normally scheduled Dr.s apts. around my patients. I have always been very committed to my field! I had been injecting chemo and was so sick. Looking back, I really don’t know how I worked. I started having more tests done. I was trying to get better. The P.A. didn’t want me to use my pto for FMLA and said “YOU COST US MONEY” in a horrible tone! She even told me that, I’m just feeling sorry for myself… I thought, man she really doesn’t know me ! I did tell her she was sooo wrong ! My direct manager was very supportive and did everything she could to save my job, more than once. One day I walked up to the front as the new girl was checking one of my patients out and took credit for the sale. A little later that day, I noticed she had marked her name out on the charge ticket, so Im thinking she realized it was wrong, so I put mine on it. Evidently the new girl told on me and I was yelled at once again, and accused of having marked her name off which I did not do. I tried to talk to the new girl, she snapped at me and then said she had personal issues to deal with. At this time I’m very confused. I wrote the PA and my manager an email stating this commission thing had gotten out of control. The next thing I knew was I wasn’t allowed to look at my tickets or question who any patient was booked with. I was told by a couple patients and co-workers that the front desk guy wouldn’t let them book appointments with me. I was also yelled at that my sales were down, well yea because I wasn’t getting proper credit as I had before. Then the P.A. put out a memo that said we would split the commission three ways EVEN what??? My pay (commission) was being cut. After all these years of hard work and dedication I was going backwards and would be making less money. My integrity and honesty were being challenged, and was not liked by co-workers any longer in my department. I couldn’t believe it. Then the P.A. yelled at me again saying I caused problems between our department and another one. That I was wreaking havoc …(she said that one more than once too). I knew there were problems between the two, but it didn’t involve me. I didn’t know what it was even about ???  Unbelieveable.

I had in my spare time put together some scrapbooking of my work. It was so the patients could see my actual before and after pictures. This was so they would have an idea what they could expect. I did this so they could see how much better some of my patients I had actually treated were. Not stock photo’s from the home office. It also helped me see I had done a good job and was of value. Then the next thing I knew the new girl was mad at me because I didn’t put her name on my work. It takes years to develop these skills and a lot of effort to take these before and after pictures. Then put them in the albums. I paid well over $300.00 dollars for materials and countless hrs.putting them together. I couldn’t believe she thought she deserved credit? If she wants evidence manuals of HER work she could do it too.

I was told by the front desk guy, that one of the Drs. was upset with me because he sent a patient over and I saw my scheduled patient instead of seeing the patient he had sent. I wrote him a letter apologizing and told him we were very accommodating to this patient, under the circumstances and I told her I would book her asap. Well, he knew nothing of this so called patient… I was just being harassed once again with made up stories.

I had seen a ticket (yes I was forbidden) and saw the newby had gotten credit for a sale off of one of my patients and she was out sick that day ! Another crazy story, I had turned in some MSDS sheets to our OSHA nurse and I have NO idea what must have transpired but I heard I was in trouble because of this, it made no sense. My manager then called me and said every thing was going to be fine. We were going to have a meeting the next day. Not to worry, I had done nothing wrong. The next day the P.A. came in to my office and BLASTED me.(This was the meeting). She was very hateful and when I told her how much the way I’m being treated was negatively affecting me, that I couldn’t even sleep. She said it’s because I must feel guilty because of my behavior and she couldn’t believe how I could possibly think I could be right and that worried her about me. She continued to berate me. I then had to pull myself together once again and try to act like nothing was wrong and see patients. My direct manager had called a meeting without the P.A. and tried to help with the mistreatment of the other two co-workers. They lied about, such things like..part of his job (front desk) was to call patients to remind them of their appointments. Well, I had several patients complain they weren’t receiving these calls. Luckily my manager over heard one of these complaints. He denied having left my patients out. Then was told my manager over heard a patient complain, he then said well, maybe he didn’t always get everyone called. Sadly there are so many stories of unethical treatment, I could go on and on. I do wish I would have thought to investigate on the web. and learn all about bullying while this was happening to me. I believe it would have helped me put it more into perspective. I would have known I’m not alone in this and that it’s usually people like me that are bullied. Peolpe who are honest, knowledgeable, well liked, hard working, loyal, full of integrity and good at what they do. We are happy and more than competent. The bully becomes jealous or as I recently learned, this is also a way employers try to get rid of employees who are chronically ill so it’s not obvious that they are really discriminating against you and breaking law. This is how their scheme begins to set us up to be horribly mistreated by most co-workers, we use to work well with. In the end most of us will loose our jobs. She was definitely experienced and very good at manipulating people. Until I started reading and learning about this inhumane life threatening treatment of people. I did what we “Targets” do, blamed myself and kept trying to figure out what in the world had I done??? I wasn’t suicidal, however I felt hopeless and I really didn’t care if I lived one more day. All I did was go to work come home and go to bed. I was so sick and beaten down that I had nothing left for my friends and more importantly my family. This was really taking a toll on me and I saw no way out. I was to sick to look for another job, and was trying to get to the bottom of just what was making me so sick. I’ve also found out, people who don’t even any have health conditions before bullying develop them during this unwarranted and unbelievably stressful time. All the while the psycho Bully is getting a rush out of trying to destroy a good persons name and damage their credibility. She called me (the PA) and started yelling at me for making a minor mistake. A mistake the guy up front made a lot, of course I never complained about him, anyway she makes a big deal out of nothing again and by this time I had had it ! I finally stood up for myself, mind you without stooping down to her level. I didn’t yell, however I was firm. I asked her where MY dress code was coming from… I told her she was out of line yelling at me and then she started telling me I should start looking for another job. Sveral times I said”are you firing me”? Needless to day it didn’t go well. I gathered some boxes before I left that evening and expected she would fire me since I had put my foot down. I wasn’t quitting and wasn’t being submissive, as she had tried to make me all along. It was obvious she wanted me “targeted” and when I got sick, gone. I also believe she thoroughly enjoyed taking me down while I had become substantially sicker. Like an animal seeking it’s prey. That night I wrote a letter to the main Dr. and asked him to please help me. I only explained a little of the mistreatment I had been subjected to. I said I was being picked on, bullied and discriminated against. I also said I was sorry to involve him but I felt at this point I had no choice. The same day I gave this to him…. I was checking out my last patient of the day and had been working with a darling deaf girl, so our consult took a little longer than normal. I had worked a little over so I could accommodate my patient. Right after my patient left she (the PA) rushed up to me as I was putting the schedule book up. She told me I was TERMINATED and to get my things and GET OUT! She gave me my notice grabbed the book out of my hands and angrily said  some other things. While I was packing she tried to engage me in several arguments. I didn’t bite. I stayed true to who I am ! This time, I did not even shed a tear. She angrily told me to hurry at one point, she didn’t have all night. I said nothing. I had already decided I wasn’t leaving until my car was crammed plum full, and that’s exactly what I did. I can’t stress enough how I wish I knew then what I know now about Bullies and that THEY are mentally ill. She’s a serial Bully. Their mission at work is to hurt “targeted” employees, and by that I mean truly to intentionally mentally harm them ! She wanted to humilate, degrade, undermine, and orchestrate a character assignation. She involved others “mobbing” by playing with finances and who ever was on “her” team was  financially rewarded, with some of my commission. She did a superb job of destroying my self worth and value, making me feel hopeless. I was isolated in this hostile work environment she had created and too ill to get another job. I continued my tests that did turn up yet more disorders. I was let go before all my test results were back, I didn’t even know if I had cancer. I found it absolutely unbelievable, that this woman had no conscience and apparently neither did some of my co-workers, when she played off their greed. Yea she knew exactly what she was doing…

I tried immediately to get EEOC to help me. I knew she had pounced when I became ill and assumed they would actually do an “investigation”. What I found almost a year later was they asked them for a response to my allegations and they said I wouldn’t comply with a policy and some bogus things was why I was terminated. I had asked EEOC to please watch the timeline as I became sick she/they became much more aggressive. I have no doubt that her treatment of me and the “mobbing” made my health decline at a much faster rate and even to a dangerous level.. I am two years post at this point. My illnesses are pretty challenging some days, but I am VERY thankful I don’t work there any more ! At times I’m doing better with my PTSD (she caused) as well. I was upset when I found out I had to pay my Cobra directly to the P.A. I have sent all my payments by certified mail. I didn’t want to take any chances. I felt she was very capable of saying she did not receive payment and I would be without insurance. Well, that did happen on three separate occasions anyway. One time I had to get an attorney to remind her of her obligation.  I don’t know what this was about but she had me pay her directly for about a year. It was around the time she found out there was going to be an investigation from EEOC I received a phone call from the office saying I needed to make the check out to the company not directly to her.

I’m still hopeful I will regain more of my life as time goes on. Luckily I did get Disability and I work very part time.

I am now trying to expose workplace bullying for what it really is so people will understand that it’s not just a snide remark or a little teasing. It’s a premeditated sabotage of your character and career. The psychological and physical toll it takes on the “target” can become life threatning. No one should ever have to endure or be subjected to all this torturous behavior. I’m asking you to PLEASE support “The Healthy Workplace Bill” so we can make this type of inhumane treatment of people against the law. Needless to say, no one should ever have to suffer like this at their place of employment.  Thank you for reading “My Story”. — Beth Poore

Note: this story is presented from Beth’s perspective as a case study and was not edited in any way.  For that reason no attempt was made to contact her former employer.  OurBullyPulpit presents this and other articles to seek solutions through advocacy (inclusive educational information about an issue) rather than lobbying (presenting information to support a specific bill.

4 thoughts on “Healthcare And Workplace Bullying: Beth’s Story

  1. I lived my nightmare dealing with racist and sexist remarks as normal everyday events. Time and attendance sheets were all fraudulent and signed by the biggest cheater of them all, the office supervisor. But only if you were part ot the “inner circle”! After having my life threatened and the fall out days later for trying to address problems with anger management co-worker, I was terminated and my position banished by HR director @ NYS Senate in Albany, NY. They are still there and I’m the one who gets screwed. Long overdue legislation to help with human rights issues like mine, and how to address internal sickness in the office are vital for any healthy organization or school.
    What happen to me are basic concepts of freedom and rights, that we claim as US citizens to be part of out internal, basic fabric of this great country. How can others continue to live their sick lives, knowing what they did to me, as if nothing happened and nothing was wrong…??? As I presently fight for my life with squamous cell cancer and the help of NYC’s Sloan-Kettering Hospital outstanding staff, I can’t help but wonder how long this kind of insanity is allowed to continue?

    Like

  2. To Beth……..my dear friend, you wrote a story that almost mirrors my own, and it is with heart felt gratitude I commend you on doing an awesome job, “telling it
    like is, period. Being committed to NOT stopping the fight for justice, my focus
    is very simple, when becoming a nurse many years ago (putting myself through
    college on grants, loans, working full time as a LVN while raising a son born
    when I was but 19 years old) it meant something, and it means even MORE today…The license I hold, and the diploma on the wall demand to continue
    to advocate for the patients I left behind…No BULLY nor any of her counterparts
    are stronger than the BOND and obligation I have to my patients, remembering
    that obligation does NOT end because the BULLY manager with NO soul decides it does………
    Quite the opposite, now more than ever our patients, and the nursing profession
    depend and demand us to RISE to the occasion, and “RID” the honorable
    profession of such “evil,” To many GREAT nurses as you Beth, and all the
    dear patients who had NO say in the future of their “nurse,” demand justice.
    The Healthy Workplace Bill becoming law is critical to putting the BRAKES ON
    bullying in the workplace, recognizing that nursing is at the top of the list of
    offenders,and also those whom tolerate its presence.

    I have ideas, as I am sure you do, where to start!! Convinced that it will take those of us who were “thrown” out as yesterday’s trash, to save those left behind, as we know all to well they are just trying to “make it another day.”
    For myself, nursing has always been far more than a career, but rather a
    “calling,” the center from which much of life began, and continues. Through nursing, more so, through the “patients,” their amazing stories of triumph over
    adversity, in conjunction with their determination, will and strength to endure,
    was without question the source of the very vital strength I too, needed when
    facing my own physical challenges several years into my nursing career.

    Fast forwarding to the final 16 months of a career that so much more than a job,
    everything changed, and how I could write the next chapter of your story,
    (another post!) but more important where do we go from here??

    So much more to do and say, but reading your words, gave a boost to my faith,
    which has been the absolute sustaining force in this nightmare. Giving revenge
    to its proper owner, the Lord was not easy, however, once done, it was amazing
    the amount of energy captured to work on the mission at hand, the patients,
    their families, and ourselves, and “it is about time for that.” And, the reality is clear, all of us, if not already are patients, are all potential patients, seeking a
    non- bullied nurse to provide our care, don’t you think?

    Like

  3. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

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