Santee Cooper, an otherwise fabulous South Carolina state agency, ignored five years of workplace bullying incidents directed at me until I resigned.
Pros: santee cooper is a great place to work; the culture generally supports employees and their families.
Cons: **there are no proactive measures being taken, by any members of santee cooper's senior management staff, to positively combat the stigma of workplace bullying. they are not leading by example, to eliminate the practice.
Pros - For over five years I thoroughly enjoyed working as part of the team at Santee Cooper. I thoroughly enjoyed all facets of my work with every fellow staff member and all the many great customers I assisted over those years. I enjoyed being a part of the Santee Cooper culture and their family. I had decided on working hard to assure that Santee Cooper became my lifelong career home. But unfortunately that was not to be...
*-Cons - After five years of enjoyable, satisfying work I resigned from my job at Santee Cooper because my "manager" was a Workplace Bully. Unfortunately I was one of this manager's several "targets". The manager routinely practiced "Schadenfreude", defined as "the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune". Over a five year period I was subjected to frequent harassment, intimidation, ridicule, humiliation and severe verbal abuse from this individual.
Once the manager decided to launch the final stage of their targeted campaign to destroy my career at Santee Cooper, the Employee Relations department placed me in a "Probationary Period". They started a series of mandatory, weekly "Employee Assistance Program" ("EAP") sessions at a local psychologist's office. This program was merely a FARCE, an elaborate RUSE. Under the EAP, if I ever missed any of my sessions with the psychologist's office for any reason it was grounds for immediate dismissal from the company. I have information this psychologist's office was told "we want to make sure this employee does not get violent when we fire them".
In addition to the weekly psychologist – more... "sessions" I also had weekly one-on-one "EAP Status" meetings with my manager. I experienced similar mistreatment in the first several meetings, so at my request a director of Employee Relations began to attend all subsequent meetings with me and my manager. In a few of the meetings this director witnessed first-hand some of the bullying behavior this manager had exhibited towards me over the years. During one meeting in particular this manager actually rose to their feet and got directly into my face as a threatening gesture, while they abused me verbally at a high volume (a treatment I endured many other times over the years). The Employee Relations director was sitting right beside the manager at the table as they did this, yet while apparently serving as my "Employee Relations" representative, the director did nothing during the meeting that day to shield me from the manager's fury or to diffuse the situation. The director did not speak up to the manager at all, not once. After a few more EAP status meetings the director did eventually ask one of my PEERS to conduct all subsequent meetings with me instead of my manager.
At times other Santee Cooper employees related to me various accounts of this manager's bullying behavior being unleashed on at least twenty other employees in the past. It is an irrefutable fact that over the years other employees could easily hear my manager verbally harassing me in their cube during our weekly progress meetings. Several employees sat mere feet away from this manager's cube in their own respective cubes; some of these folks were actually supervisors themselves.
But all of these employees seemed to be in denial about witnessing my manager's bullying episodes affecting me. As witnesses these employees may have been able to effect some positive change at Santee Cooper by reporting these bullying behaviors to members of Senior Management. Perhaps it would have helped to improve management's overall ethical treatment of its employees. However, I suspect each of these witnessing employees rightly chose to remain silent to protect their own livelihoods, by not "rocking the boat" and therefore drawing undue attention to themselves. Senior Management, from my manager's boss on up, repeatedly "turned their heads and looked the other way" as my manager's intimidating behavior continued for five years.
Advice to all Senior Management of Santee Cooper:
1. Create, publish and enforce new Santee Cooper policies and procedures specifically prohibiting all forms of workplace bullying.
2. Enforce disciplinary consequences for all incidents, reported or otherwise discovered through other avenues.
3. Encourage employees to freely report any bullying and/or disrespectful behavior they may witness in the workplace from managers to their employees at all levels.
4. Assure all Santee Cooper employees there will be absolutely no chance of retaliation against them for bringing these situations to the attention of Senior Management.
5. Actively enforce these policies with a "NO TOLERANCE" stance on every situation.
6. Display Anti-bullying posters on the walls of hallways and workspaces of all five floors of Santee Cooper's Main office building, all three floors of the Annex building, all other Santee Cooper headquarters buildings, the Energy Control Center, all remote offices and throughout all Santee Cooper generating stations in the State of South Carolina.
7. Ensure that Bullying is not an accepted behavior anywhere within the fine culture of Santee Cooper, publicize the fact that it will not be tolerated, and enforce these principles. **This will help prevent the Agency from losing loyal, dedicated employees due to mistreatment by their managers.
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