Career Advice >> Browse Articles >> Workplace Issues


Bullying Ex-Boss is Out of Control

Bullying Ex-Boss is Out of Control

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

A year ago, I took a part time job while my daughter was at school. It was for a pet-sitting company walking dogs. I was an independent contractor. While I knew the owner was passive-aggressive, I learned to just limit my contact and did what I had to do and developed a loyal group of clients who routinely called requesting me for their dogs. I was up-front with my boss that I had a chronic disease (Crohn’s) that required me to go into the hospital for treatment on a regular basis, but I made sure it never impacted my job.

Fast forward a year. The manager of the company goes on medical leave and my boss asks if I want to fill in for the manager. I was made an employee, my hours were to be 9-6 Monday to Friday. The old manager e-mails to say she does not want to come back. I was not asked if I liked the job and wanted to keep it, it was just assumed that I was keeping it.

Long story short, in a month I lose 20 pounds, my health plummets, I am working 6:30am-10pm 7 days a week. I was making $900 for 2 weeks of work. My doctors demand that for my health I have to quit. I notify my boss. Her husband calls and starts trying to bully me that don’t I understand that this is a $350k a year business, how could I do this to them? Wasn’t our relationship better than this?

I have barely been gone a week and I am still receiving emails to my personal account and phone calls to my home, some of it work-related, like do I know about this client, or non-work related, like if her sunglasses are at my house. She has everything, the problem is she does not want to actually do the work and actually look for the information.

Since this is not a contract that I had to be let off of or anything even remotely close and she has all the information at her fingertips if she actually wants to take the time to look it up herself, she is just choosing to harass me knowing that I am supposed to be seeing my doctors, taking new medications, and getting extra treatments in the hopes of not forcing my husband to have to get an emergency transport back from Baghdad (where he is stationed) because I couldn’t tell her to take a hike sooner.

Do I have any legal rights in Virginia to tell her to stop contacting me?

Next: Alison’s Answer >>