Posted by: Stephanie | 2009/07/21


I am a manager of a department at a legal firm. There is a woman who works with me (let'  s call her trouble maker) who goes out of her way to incite the young staff (mostly young black ladies) against me. I had an incident two weeks ago that I asked of the ladies to do something, she just sat at grinned at me, clicked her tongue and said something in her language that I could not understand. I again gave her an instruction, which she ignored. I raised my voice at her and told her that I was sick of her bad attitude. I went to the head of the department and he called a meeting with this young lady. In the meeting she told my boss that this other woman (trouble maker) told her that I am not her boss, would never be her boss and that she does not have to listen to me. My superior then said he would take it up with trouble maker, which he has failed to do. I have had problems with this other woman since I started working here. Each of the assistants I had, I had problems with - they refused to take instructions from me, bad-mouthed me behind my back to other staff members. There is a common denominator in all the incidents and it is this woman - she is a sly, devious and malicious gossip - she will do anything in her power to turn people against me! It was so bad at one stage - I had an assistant who drank wine at work and refused to assist with my work, that I had to threaten the bosses that I would resign if they did not move my assistant to another department, which they did! I started working at the firm long after trouble maker and have achieved a lot more over the years than she has! She was a team-leader at one stage, but has been "  stripped"  off her team-leader title due to her bad attitude and pure laziness. I am not sure whether she is jealous of me as I am now the manager of the department or what her problem with me could be! I can see by the attitudes of the young black staff working under me when she has cornered them and gossiped. Another manager (also a black lady) confirmed to my boss that trouble maker gossips about the managers to all and sundry and bad-mouths the CEO and her directors, but nothing gets done about it. Is there no law that protects staff members against this type of behaviour? My husband says I should just ignore her and not allow her to see that it makes me angry ... what to do? Throttle her maybe?

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Our expert says:
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If there is an HR person or dept, take this up wih them, and also politely ask your boss why he has not taken up with TM the fact that she is undermining your authority and encouraging other staff to disobey you. And ask how he wants you to deal with this situation. Ask whether you are to treat her as de facto head of the dept and ask her to issue all insructions to staff >
Apparently, if I understand you, she used to hold your post or something equivlent to it, and was demoted because she did it badly and with a lousy attitude --- they were very foolish not to have sacked her at that stage, but now she is strongly motivated to prove that nobody else will succeed in the post she failed at. One wonders why, if she also badmouths the CEO and other directors, people seem so scared to discipline her appropriately. And they're lawyers, who should know exactly how to do this ! The directors seem to be failing in their legal obligations to you as well as to themselves.
Meantime, ignoring her and trying not to give her the satisfaction of seeing how much she upsets you will at least frustrate her attempts to more obviously hurt you

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Our users say:
Posted by: Stephanie | 2009/07/22

Thanks for your input!

Reply to Stephanie
Posted by: Red | 2009/07/21

And yet her attitude is what stinks the most.

I hope something will get sorted out for your sake. Ungrateful biatch sitting with a job she probably doesn' t even deserve or feel grateful for.

Reply to Red

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