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Question
Posted by: Anonymouse | 2012/05/21

Difficult colleague

Dear Prof

I have a male, probably gay, colleague who has written me off, as I " walked across his grave"  by going for coffee with another (female) colleague with whom he had a serious fallout years ago. This female colleague is wellknown for gossiping and did in fact share some things about our male colleague with me which I did not want to know. When he saw us together, he wrote me off, has been acting unprofessional in the sense that he reacts negatively to any request or question I have for him in the line of work. This was more than a year ago. I treid in vain to solve things from my side, and basically ended up steering clear of him in the end. This did not help, and he still is unhelpful making my work difficult at times. Furthermore, he has taken to critisizing me for every single thing I do, and in general is patronizing and belittling towards me while trying to show me in a bad light infront of the rest of our colleagues and nail me on every little mistake or misstep. Our manager has on 3 occasions requested of him to act professionally, but he has not complied. I am at my wits end. What do I do now? how do I handle this situation? I feel both sad and angry that he wrote me off simply because of association. But it is very difficult to handle his unrelenting attacks on my integrity.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sounds like a petty and unnecessary set of responses on his side. Though if this other woman is so given to malicious gossip, it's not really wise for anyone to talk with her and risk providing any further ammunition for her.
Your manager is failing to manage properly and he and HR should be engaged to get this petty guy to grow up or leave. If he is not your manager, any missteps of yours are none of his business. And as Gracie says, the Dept of Labour and CCMA are there if they fail to do their duty.
I also like Liza's comment about the importance of keeping your own careful record of everything obstructive or unpleasant he does.
Pity Jesse is so homophobic.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2012/05/22

If your manager has spoken to him but not taken any real action then it is time to lay a grievance via your HR department.

It doesn''t matter what he brings up about your mistakes, - the issue is his unprofessional behaviour. If he has a book of every errror you have ever made, thank him for pointing out that you are as human as all other employees and then point out that this is yet another example of his nit picking.

When you write your grievance, point out the way that he treats you, that you have spoken to your manager, that your manager has spoken to him but that nothing has changed.
You also need to say what you want done to resolve the situation - you could say that as nothing has had any effect you feel disciplinary action should be taken against him if he can''t just leave you to get on with your work in peace.

I fail to see what his sexual orientation has to do with any of this.
And Jesse - why does someone being gay offend you so much? Perhaps you should think about that s it says a lot more about you than about them.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Liza | 2012/05/22

Besides what the others have said - start keeping track of every single time he tries to make things difficult. Take a lesson from him. If he can keep track of all your mistakes, why can''t you keep track of every time he''s rude and unprofessional? You can even go so far as to record his rudeness on tape. That way he''ll be in very deep trouble when you do submit a formal complaint against him.

And don''t be scared of this guy. If he''s so insecure that he has to break you down, he''s probably more scared of you than you are of him...

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: Gracie | 2012/05/22

Your male (probably gay) colleague must grow up, grow a pair and get a life! What an a$$hole!! Ignore him as far as possible and do your job to the best of your ability. Don''t however allow this " man"  to bully you in any way! You have rights and your employer must protect you against such treatment. If you are unsure, visit the CCMA or Labour Department website.

Reply to Gracie
Posted by: Anonymouse | 2012/05/22

Maria, many thanks! You changed my perspective on the issue. I think I tend to pay too much attention to whether other people like me and respect me or not. Its difficult being a female in my line of work (science).

Reply to Anonymouse
Posted by: Anonymouse | 2012/05/22

Jesse, thats uncalled for. I guess you are referring ot my male colleague as the ''pig'' simply for being gay. I am female, not gay, married with kids, and was very good friends with this colleague before being written off due to association.

You are a troll.

Reply to Anonymouse
Posted by: Jesse | 2012/05/22

Serves you right for being gay! Pig

Reply to Jesse
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/05/22

Sounds like a petty and unnecessary set of responses on his side. Though if this other woman is so given to malicious gossip, it's not really wise for anyone to talk with her and risk providing any further ammunition for her.
Your manager is failing to manage properly and he and HR should be engaged to get this petty guy to grow up or leave. If he is not your manager, any missteps of yours are none of his business. And as Gracie says, the Dept of Labour and CCMA are there if they fail to do their duty.
I also like Liza's comment about the importance of keeping your own careful record of everything obstructive or unpleasant he does.
Pity Jesse is so homophobic.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Maria | 2012/05/21

That''s really miserable. However unless you work for the guy I don''t see what business it is of his? As long as your manager will support you you really should not have a problem.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Anonymouse | 2012/05/21

I am a bit scared that if we see a mediator, he will bring up the mistakes and missteps I made, as he has been carefully keeping book of them...I am a bit scatterbrained at times, so as a normal human I have erred on occasion. Mostly in the first year of my job (I have now been working here almost 3 years), but he keeps careful note.

Reply to Anonymouse
Posted by: Maria | 2012/05/21

You are not at fault here. Do you have an HR department that could assist you?

Reply to Maria

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