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Bullying at work when you're a volunteer

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
So I've been working in the area I've been studying and working so hard to finally get into since May and have been loving it until recently. A certain member of staff that works on the maintenance team has been mildly harassing me for a few weeks now, however it's starting to escalate and other members of staff are staring to join in and I'm starting to feel really uncomfortable at work. It started with him just saying my name in a really annoying way to try and get my attention whenever I walked past, which I mostly just ignored. The other week I walked into the office and a group of them (which included my boss) were having a discussion which I assumed was about me because the moment I walked in they asked me if I was a lesbian. I just looked at them surprised and said I wasn't and didn't see why they needed to ask me that sort of question. A few minutes later I walked past them when we were all back outside and one by one they yell 'Alright B?' at me very loudly. It's obvious it wasn't out of concern and that they were just trying to push my buttons because they thought I was pissed off about being asked if I was a lesbian. This has now carried on for several weeks and whenever they're all together they take it in turns to yell 'Alright B?' at me in really loud annoying voices. They're not actually asking me if I'm alright, they're just trying to get my attention and be annoying. However the one that started it does it every single time he sees me, which can me 20 times a day. When they're all together I've seen them stood laughing at me while I'm working or talking to other members of staff. Today he even started trying to wind me up over the walkie talkie (so every member of staff can hear it as we all have one). They have made comments about my large chest once or twice and said lewd things but it is mostly this yelling and standing talking/laughing about me. It's starting to make me feel uncomfortable and I actually dread walking past them now. The problem is, I'm technically a volunteer and not an employee. I work in exchange for free onsite accommodation and one meal per day. I haven't signed any kind of contract so I'm not sure where I stand in terms of sorting this out. To make matters worse the people that are joining in are both my boss and supervisor - who are both fine when on their own, but when they're all together it's just like being back at school. This puts me in a bit of a predicament and I don't know what to do. I'm planning on politely asking him to stop the next time he does it (which will be at some point tomorrow as it happens every single day) but I'm concerned I'll get accused of being miserable and that it will make matters worse. The organisation was set up by my boss, my supervisor is his best mate and the main culprit is his sons best mate that he's known since he was little. Most of the employees are either his family or friends and I'm one of the few that is there entirely on my own merit. This also makes them a very tight knit group and they're all very loud bawdy people so I'm very concerned that it will only make matters worse because they know I'm getting pissed off. They already know it annoys me which is why they've carried on already. I'm just scared things will get worse and as I'm not technically an employee I'm not protected in any way and I'll be bullied out of my dream job. I just don't know what to do.


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You say your boss is alright on his own - is it worth a quiet word saying that it was funny to begin with, but it's starting to really grate and distract from getting the job done - could he help with knocking it on the head.

    If it's teenage boy like behaviour, a prod that it's not exactly constructive to the task at hand and childish might be enough to get that realised that fade out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm a bit concerned going straight to my boss will make me seem petty by not asking him to stop myself first. But I'm really not sure how the guy will take it if I pull him up on it directly. He's very mouthy and has an answer for everything and enjoys winding people up. I'm not even sure how my boss will take it if I complain in all honesty. They told me I was being dramatic when I badly injured my knee (which still isn't right to this day over 2 months on) so I'm worried I'll get the same sort of reply to just 'suck it up' if I say it's making me feel uncomfortable.

    I told them today they were being childish and joked about how 'simple things amuse simple minds' but it only got worse with him starting to call me down the radio later on in the day. So I'm really not sure.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Told him he was acting like a little boy on friday when he asked me why I was looking at him like I was a teacher. Seems to have done the trick, he hasn't stopped completely but it's nowhere near as bad as it was and he mostly leaves me alone now. When he does do it I just ignore him
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Nice one
  • PGreenPGreen Moderator Posts: 175 Settling in
    Ballerina wrote: »
    Told him he was acting like a little boy on friday
    :thumb: Ballerina it can take a lot to confront someone, really glad you have and that things are looking better. I hope you can begin to really enjoy your role again!
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