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smufter

Would you consider this "bullying in the workplace"...............

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Just a bit of background information....

For those that don't know, I sell cars for a living, have done so for 30 years so I consider myself to be very experienced.

I have worked for the same company for the past 11 years, and have a proven track record. We hold various franchises, Vauxhall/Nissan/Toyota, I work for the Nissan "arm". I have regularly been one of the groups top salesman, in fact this year I have sold more cars than anyone else within the group. Basically, I'm good at my job.

We have recently taken on a new Sales Manager, he started about 3 months ago.

He is very "process" led, much more so than my previous sales manager, who was a little more "laid back" although he achieved the results and we were selling a lot of cars.

This new guy is a totally different animal. I don't agree with a lot of his management skills, and this has led to friction from the very start, not just with me, but with the other guys on sales. In fact, shortly after this guy started one of our salesmen handed his notice in because he wasn't happy. This new guy is quite aggressive in his manner, and he will not listen to anything you try to tell him, despite the fact that you know "you are right".

To cut a long story short, at 1.30 on Monday of this week he emailed all of us saying that we had some leads to follow up that had been provided to us by our finance company. The email quite clearly states that we had been given a deadline of next Monday (16th Jan) to get this done.. There wasn't that many leads each, maybe 6 or so.

We were short staffed on Monday due to two guys being off for the day, and being a salesman short there were only two of us in the showroom. I had been busy over the week-end (sold 6 cars) and had been processing paperwork to get them ready for delivery etc. as well as talking to customers in the showroom.

At 3.30 (two hours after sending the email) the sales manager approached my desk to find out how I was getting on with the leads I had been sent. I replied that I hadn't even had a chance to look at them due to being very busy sorting other things out, to which he replied "Well, it looks like we're going to have to have a "lock in" then" (a lock in is when you are forced to stay late in the evening making follow up calls, usually until 8pm). I commented that according to his email we had until next Monday to get them done and again told him that I had been very busy. He then responded by saying that if that was the case, he might introduce something akin to a "time and motion" study to confirm what we were doing with our time! All this was going on in the showroom, in front of people, and made me feel not only very annoyed, but also quite intimidated.

I subsequently said "If you want to lose one of your best salesmen, I'd carry on the way you're going, because basically you are treating us like schoolkids and to be honest I've had enough".

He responded with a condescending smirk, which basically made me see red.

I've handed my notice in. I've had enough. My general manager called me into his office later in the day to discuss things, saying that whilst he had to accept my resignation, he wasn't happy about it and didn't want to lose me. He has asked me to have another meeting with him next Monday, but I have emailed him to say there is no point. I cannot work with this new guy.

I told my general manager that I felt we were being "bullied" and that I didn't agree with the new guys management techniques. Another salesman has already commented to him that he feels the new guy is aggressive and bullying, and the salesman who left stated that this was one of the reasons he had decided to leave.

Sorry for the rambling post, but I'm supposed to be having this meeting next Monday and I'm likely to say something I might regret if I go.

I have been offered another job (by my old sales manager) but I don't really want to leave this one as I have built up a good customer base, get on well with most of them, and get on well with the other staff members. It just seems a shame to throw 11 years away.

Thoughts????

Edited by smufter

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Is this lock in a contractural obligation for which you are paid, agreed contractural overtime, was the ammount of time you have been given to follow up the leads, the norm, or is it something new, a greivance for bullying is your answer, it has to be heard by someone not connected and preferably superior to this man, if you are valued they will be sympathetic, do not resign unless substansial unagreed changes have been made to your contractural norm and if so state that you feel you have been constructively dismissed in writing, then attack through a no win no fee outlet, if you need more advice, bring it on, i have a fight of my own on at the moment, i am an ex TGWU,  shop steward and will willingly help you, i have expertise in employment law much to my companies disgust, they aint gonna win.

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Is this lock in a contractural obligation for which you are paid, agreed contractural overtime, was the ammount of time you have been given to follow up the leads, the norm, or is it something new, a greivance for bullying is your answer, it has to be heard by someone not connected and preferably superior to this man, if you are valued they will be sympathetic, do not resign unless substansial unagreed changes have been made to your contractural norm and if so state that you feel you have been constructively dismissed in writing, then attack through a no win no fee outlet, if you need more advice, bring it on, i have a fight of my own on at the moment, i am an ex TGWU,  shop steward and will willingly help you, i have expertise in employment law much to my companies disgust, they aint gonna win.

Part of our job description is the requirement to prospect for new/repeat business and as it is not always possible to contact potential customers during the day these "lock ins" are used.

So every now and then we hold one to try to enable us to contact people when they are more likely to be home.

These usually happen about once every three months or so, and we are normally given plenty of notice so that we can make the necessary adjustments to our private lives.

None of us like doing them but it is an accepted part of our job and we don't get paid any extra, the benefit to us is we may (may) pick up a sale from them.

Prior to our "altercation" in the showroom, no previous mention had been made of a planned lock in, I just felt I was being "threatened" with one because I hadn't made these phone calls.

Bearing in mind we had been given one week to make these calls, I felt that to put me under this kind of pressure within two hours was akin to "bullying".

The other thing that annoyed me was the fact that he could have asked me to step into his office to discuss this with me if necessary. But no, he stood in full view of other people in the showroom to get his point across. Other members of staff heard what was going on, I am not sure whether there were any customers in the showroom, but if there were, these would have been party to what was going on too.

This to me shows a lack of management skills. I'm not a "precious" by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt intimidated and belittled by his whole attitude.

Like I say, this is not the first time something like this has happened. The "big boss" (who has asked for a further meeting next Monday) has already been made aware by two other people (one of who has subsequently left) about this guys attitude. I think the word "aggressive" has been used. 

If you sit there with him and try to reason with him, if he doesn't like what he hears you can see his fists clenching. Don't get me wrong, I am not accusing him of physical bullying, but his body language indicates that he is not a nice person. If I were talking to a customer, and they started clenching their fists, I would look on that as an aggressive gesture.

I also found his suggestion of starting a "time and motion" study an indication of further bullying tactics, as he obviously doesn't trust what I am saying to him about how I spend my working hours.

Edited by smufter

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The normal period of notice for contractural overtime requires two weeks notice for the social adjustment you menntion, certain jobs are exempt from this but i seriously doubt yours would fall into that category, take a screenshot of the Email of your computer with a camera, and bring a greivance for bullying, it will influence a tribunal if you choose to attack them in the future, common practice, the accepted norm, every three months becomes a contractural obligation with nothing written,They are allowed to attempt to increase productivity by changing your terms of employment, thirteen weeks notice is required, they are required to issue improvement notices after 3 months of retraining and warnings for performance later. My advice is, dont resign, request an informal chat with a big boss, and use the big stick if you need it, i am here if you need me.

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you have to be careful Yonny, depends on whether your greivance requires them to change policy that is not in the interest of the business, my case, but the law wins everytime, dont back off, i paid cash for my house after a three year battle with a multi national that tried to break me, bad times , legal aid and my contribution made life tough but we won, they lost.

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Thanks for your help CM.

Unfortunately I have already tendered my resignation.

Believe it or not I was that cheesed off with things that were already happening that I already had a draft copy of it on my PC which I drew up about a month ago.

After Mondays episode I literally changed the date, printed it off, and placed it on my general managers desk. 

He wasn't in at the time, and I wasn't expecting him back until the following day, but he turned up at the office at around 5pm, read it, and immediately called me into his office.

I don't know whether he had planned to come back anyway, or whether the sales manager had contacted him to let him know he had a "problem".

As I say, my general manager commented that whilst he had to accept my resignation, he wasn't happy about it and didn't want to lose me, hence the planned further meeting next Monday.

I have subsequently emailed him to say that I see little point of a further meeting as I simply cannot work with this new manager. I stated quite clearly in the email my reasons for quitting, concisely and to the point. I would rather do this than have this meeting and things get heated. I don't want to be in the situation where I might say something in the "heat of the moment" that I then go on to regret.

I have obviously kept copies of both my email to him, and the original email stating quite clearly that I had a week to make these sales calls.

He was not in yesterday so I have had no response to that email yet, but he is in today.

I am off today (normal day off) so won't see any response, if any, until tomorrow.

Again, thanks for your help.

Rob

Edited by smufter

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Dont give in buddy, we aint just numbers, these idiots pee me off, i have caught my employers trying to stitch me up, i will leave for a big sum of money but only if i want too, do the same.

As I say, I have been offered another job, by my old sales manager of all people.

He has offered me a sales position at the Peugeot dealer he has just gone to.

From a logistical point of view, it is ideal. It is literally half a mile down the road and the pay is on a par with what I'm getting now.

But I feel like I am being forced into a move that I don't want to make. As I say, I have been working for Nissan for a number of years, have a very good customer base and know the product like the back of my hand.

I'm 61 in January, so haven't got a long time left working. I will be going into this Peugeot job at a busy time of the year, with zero product knowledge and zero customer base.

Not a good position to be in with a registration month (March) around the corner

My gross income will be hit quite badly, as a registration month is when a new car salesman can "make hay". 

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Sorry to go on but another thing that is annoying me about all of this....

The sales manager concerned has stated, on more than one occasion, that it is best to follow these finance company leads up later in the day so that you stand more chance of making contact.

"Phone them between 5.30-6.00 then they should be able to talk as they will either be at home or driving home and have their mobiles free. If you try to contact them during the day and they are at work, they may not be able to answer their mobiles"

Why the hell did he come and have a go at me at 3.30 in the afternoon in the 1st place then????

He is a mass of contradictions and giving out very mixed messages.

Edited by smufter

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I am  exactly the same age as you Rob, its in your hands , you need to go through your present companies grievance procedure, if you decide to take it to a tribunal, the damages will be halved if you dont, why walk away, yep its easy, i could do the same, but what about our mates, hit them hard, we are not commodities we are people with costs, the fact you have another job will limit the damages and a 1200 quid cost to a tribunal is off putting, its meant to be. Make your own decision, hope do you know that you will not walking into this brave new world attitude, that guy invites you to an informal chat, for petes sake take it, beleive me, i know what i am talking about, never say never mate, good luck, I am here for you.

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I hope it works out Smufter, there's a chance the GM will see things your way and you won't be the one leaving.  Having the bolt-hole in the Peugot dealership is nice, hope it doesn't become necessary. 

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Hello Smufter

 

IMO you stay and Knobhead goes .

 

Where I work we had a Manager that was a bully i.e. he would wind you up so much that you wanted to punch him , which obviously would have meant instant dismissal . You couldn't even swear at him because he would have Stage 1ed you .

So what we did was AS AN OFFICE ( less a few selfish ones ) write to the CEO with our grievances , and get the area union rep. involved .

The Manager was shipped out to another office , possibly because it was getting near Christmas and we were intimating strike action .

 

My suggestion is you and all the other salesmen arrange a meeting with the General Manager and go in mob handed ( but not threateningly )   intimating  that the G.M. is in danger of losing most of his staff just before March . 

 

As you have new job to go to if necessary it would be really UNselfish of you to have an informal chat , as CM has said , with your General Manager to try and help your work colleagues that you are leaving behind at Knobhead's mercy .

 

Anyway all the very best , hope everything works out how YOU want it to .

 

:wink:  

Edited by crusian

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All give a vote of "No Confidence" there bottom will go if they find the core of the staff find him totally unworkable with. Me and 11 colleagues are going in tomorrow be told we are going on a 4 day wk....... we'll be telling them that we're not..... fireworks are expected.

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Unfortunately, we don't have a union to "fight our case".

Both of the managers are off today, so me and the other guys on sales will have a good chance to discuss the situation further.

The one that rang me at home last night is our "senior sales executive"... and has been with the company longer than me.

He was the actual sales manager when I first started and we have a very good working relationship.

He left about 18 months ago due to the pressures that were placed on him as manager, but the company persuaded him to return as a salesman and gave him the "senior" title.

He is a terrific salesman, and between us we hold the two top spots overall within the whole group for sales.

Even I know that they are not going to want their top two salesmen upset enough to contemplate leaving.

Don't get me wrong.....I'm not expecting special treatment over and above what the other salesmen receive. I just want to be treated fairly, and with the respect that my 30 years experience and results should deserve.

During our conversation last night, Jon, (the other salesman), suggested that we mediate with the senior manager and get him to try to clip this other guys wings a bit.

But I can't help thinking of the old adage "a leopard doesn't change his spots" and whilst we might see a change in the short term, a longer term solution with this guy isn't feasible.

Will keep you posted.

xxx

Edited by smufter

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Union in,contracts locked tight redundancy to follow for some of us

 

I don't know what to type Stevo , just the very best of luck for today  :wink: .

 

 

 

Unfortunately, we don't have a union to "fight our case".

Both of the managers are off today, so me and the other guys on sales will have a good chance to discuss the situation further.

The one that rang me at home last night is our "senior sales executive"... and has been with the company longer than me.

He was the actual sales manager when I first started and we have a very good working relationship.

He left about 18 months ago due to the pressures that were placed on him as manager, but the company persuaded him to return as a salesman and gave him the "senior" title.

He is a terrific salesman, and between us we hold the two top spots overall within the whole group for sales.

Even I know that they are not going to want their top two salesmen upset enough to contemplate leaving.

Don't get me wrong.....I'm not expecting special treatment over and above what the other salesmen receive. I just want to be treated fairly, and with the respect that my 30 years experience and results should deserve.

During our conversation last night, Jon, (the other salesman), suggested that we mediate with the senior manager and get him to try to clip this other guys wings a bit.

But I can't help thinking of the old adage "a leopard doesn't change his spots" and whilst we might see a change in the short term, a longer term solution with this guy isn't feasible.

Will keep you posted.

xxx

 

Hello Smufter 

 

I still think the General Manager will look at the whole situation with his business head on , see the potential loss of sales and Knobhead will be moved on somewhere else in the group .

I know you're right , KH isn't going to change his behaviour permanently , any change in his behaviour would only be transient .

 

Just need Stevo to have a successful day today and you Monday .

 

:wink:   

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Meeting went okish..... they want us to change our contract for 13wks to 31 instead of 39hrs. That ain't going to happen we will never get them hrs back. The've said no redundancy for at least 3 months which means it will cost too much to get rid of us

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