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S1E17 When a identifying a toxic workplace is a grey area

Welcome to S1E17 of our podcast series where we explore the topic of workplace toxicity. In this episode, we delve into the grey area of toxic behavior and how it can be difficult to identify, especially when it comes to determining whether a collegue is actually the toxic person in the workplace. We speak with “Captain Harry” who have encountered situations where workplace toxicity is not easily distinguishable, and where the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is blurred.

Our guest shares their experiences and provide valuable insights into the complexities of workplace dynamics, and how we can better understand and address toxic behavior in the workplace. Through this thought-provoking discussion, we aim to shed light on the importance of identifying toxic behaviour in the workplace and the need for effective measures to prevent its harmful effects. This was a tricky discussion about the fine line between workplace harassment, sensitivity and focusing on the wrong type of toxicity.

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Oh yeah.Speaker 2: 53:32

All these different shirts. No, that was the other Brian. That was T-shirt Brian Oh.Speaker 1: 53:37

T-shirt Brian. Oh my God, yeah, brian with the insurgents was very funny.Speaker 2: 53:41

Yeah, um, we had the lady with four million jobs. Do you remember that one Mm? hmm, i know Where she had like what was it Like? 47.Speaker 1: 53:54

Like her first. Like her first line out of the box was like I’ve had 46 jobs in the past 30 years and we’re like what.Speaker 2: 54:05

We’ve got Amy, who talks to us about toxic positivity, which is pretty cool, and then we had Stu, who was our most recent recording, yeah, talking about leadership, which I’m pretty bloody excited about.Speaker 1: 54:20

And now so we’ll be doing some more interviews, but also sprinkling in some of the research episodes.Speaker 2: 54:25

Yeah, and then we’ll be doing some research episodes is going to like is our next kind of step right? That’s our evolution.Speaker 1: 54:33

And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what you guys like more And if you have any comments, thoughts, reactions, just reach out to us.Speaker 2: 54:39

Yeah, We really appreciate everybody’s comments. Yeah, We’ve had. I just, I just get so excited when someone comments, So if you could comment like like subscribe, share follow all those good things. Come join us on LinkedIn. Come join us on.Speaker 3: 54:55

Instagram, yeah, yeah Find us a good place.Speaker 4: 54:57

We’d be happy to have you.Speaker 2: 54:59

And we’ll see you in season two. Couple weeks, yeah, yeah, a couple weeks. Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.Speaker 1: 55:10

Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there’s an interest in this topic.Speaker 2: 55:16

For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed caption available on YouTube.Speaker 1: 55:20

See you next week, same time and same place.

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Speaker 3 [00:01:13] Let’s jump straight in and see where this journey takes us.

Nicola [00:01:23] If we had to, if we were starting this episode off? I think so. I mean, I think we need to say, you know, we have we have recorded an episode where we have been confused about the episode, which we have. We’ve been confused.

Gina [00:01:38] We have. It’s it’s been one that I know that you and I have gone back and forth quite a bit trying to figure out the best way to edit it, the best way to get the story across, because we, we, we don’t want to ever edit something in a way that isn’t accurate to our position. Telling you this person write their story or. Yeah. Or maybe just completely was in a place that it was difficult for them to navigate. They had been postpartum recently. Postpartum. So I think there were other factors. But I, I was I think you and I were both failing to understand why this would be considered a toxic workplace. Right. Not not necessarily that she was the toxic one. And I did ask her and I don’t know if we kept that part in, but I did ask her at one point, like, do you think you just have like an idealized.

Nicola [00:02:36] View of what a work.

Gina [00:02:39] Scenario will look like, that everyone is going to get along together. There’s never going to be any conflict. So, you know, it just it left us scratching our head a little bit.

Nicola [00:02:52] So and I think, you know, we then we then went to someone that we we really like and trust and say, just have a listen to this and give us give us some feedback as to what you think or where we should take the episode because it’s it’s, it was a really tricky one. We went over and over and over and over again and we kind of tried to unpick it. And I think what we’re going to do now is we will play the episode as we have it, play the episode that we were going to release, and then let’s come back to it and kind of pick it apart, because I think once we had time to reflect on it, I think we realized where the issues were. And I think once you’ve listened to it and you understand the confusion we have, then we can come back and have that kind of conversation around. Why?

Gina [00:03:40] Yeah. Do you think it might make sense, though, to before we we play our edited episode to kind of just explain sort of the organizational chart because that doesn’t happen in the organic episode until much later right now. And I think.

Nicola [00:03:59] That.

Gina [00:04:00] It’s helpful for us to kind of understand exactly what was going on. So Captain Harry was held, like I would say, a mid-level position in communications. Then she had no other coworkers on her same level. Then an above that was a supervisor. And in her in this person’s story there, the supervisor was sometimes not there. So there was a lot of direct work between her and the director, which and the director right, is above the supervisor. And then of course, there was the company was big enough to have its own actual h.r. Department as well. So so it was captain harry, the coworker referred to as buddy, and then it was the supervisor and then above the supervisor, the director. So i think that might help everyone. Before we play the actual episode.

Nicola [00:05:03] We can we can get straight into it with Captain harry. With Harry.

Captain Harry [00:05:09] Harry and Mike driving the hogwarts Express.

Gina [00:05:12] No, I feel like you’re.

Nicola [00:05:14] I’m open to it. If that’s the only place.

Gina [00:05:16] Where you think.

Nicola [00:05:17] That we’re going to be talking about as the Hogwarts Express. I’m certainly open. Hmm.

Gina [00:05:24] Captain Harry, how did you find us or how did Nicola find you? What happened? How do we know each other? Oh, I need to tell my friend.

Captain Harry [00:05:33] So she told me about the podcast and she had put the connected the dots. Such a shitty. Like I’ve been having the shittiest work experience, and I was like, Oh, I need to talk to these ladies and, like, tell them the shit that’s gone down.

Nicola [00:05:49] We need to know that I cannot believe.

Gina [00:05:52] All right, so we’ll start. You and me. Okay. Talked you in, but we’re super excited because we have our first anon today and she has decided to go by the name of Harry. And I’m here for it. Is it Captain Harry or just Harry?

Captain Harry [00:06:07] I’m big on Captain Harry.

Gina [00:06:09] All right. So, Captain Harry, I might end up calling you Captain just to shorten it because I’m that kind of gal. I’m an Italian from New York City. Yeah. So, okay, so you listen to our first couple of episodes, which we’re so happy about, and we’re getting so much good feedback and it’s really blow us away because this podcast was my idea and I was like, I think it might be cool. Maybe like six people will listen to it and then it kind of just like took on a life of its own. I have to give credit to Nicholas. She’s doing all the technical stuff because I am not good with that stuff. But anyway, so you’re our first anon captain and it’s going to be really interesting because we don’t know that much about you, so we’re going to learn about you as we go as a team, as a group. So why don’t you tell us in general what the industry or what type of companies do you normally work at? Yeah, And tell us a little bit about your background.

Captain Harry [00:07:14] Cool. Well.

Nicola [00:07:17] I’m in my.

Captain Harry [00:07:18] I’m approaching my mid thirties, so I haven’t been in any particular industry for very long, but for the most part, communications and marketing. I’ve been in the city that I’m in for about seven years, seven, eight years coming up on eight years. I grew up somewhere else and then I moved around a lot. I lived overseas for a year, which was really great. And then I came back and I realized I can’t do anything with my liberal arts undergrad. And so I got an MBA and then I had my first kid, and when she was about a year and a half, I started looking for jobs. His and I live in Canada, so our maternity leaves are a year.

Gina [00:08:11] That’s wild.

Captain Harry [00:08:12] Actually. You can just extend them up to 18 months.

Nicola [00:08:16] Okay. That’s.

Gina [00:08:17] But I mean, I work, you know, I own a company, so I didn’t really take maternity leave. But we don’t have that. We don’t have that ability here in the States. I’m sure New Zealand has a much nicer policy than the United States. Pretty much everyone has a better policy than the United States. Anyway, we digress.

Captain Harry [00:08:35] No, honestly, I feel like it’s I feel like socially we’re doing a huge disservice to giving like parents shorter parental leaves, like because ultimately we’ve learned as a society that, like the more time we spend with our children, the better they turn out as people.

Nicola [00:08:52] Yeah. Um. Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:08:56] Although, like, now I run my own business and I basically have no life.

Nicola [00:08:59] But, um. Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:09:01] You get it?

Gina [00:09:02] Yeah, You got it.

Nicola [00:09:04] Yeah.

Gina [00:09:06] So your daughter’s a year and a half, and you’re starting to look back into the workforce and. Yeah. What what happens there?

Captain Harry [00:09:13] So I had a really lovely interview. My boss used to be, like, politically, like, very heavily involved in the political scene in our province.

Nicola [00:09:24] He.

Captain Harry [00:09:26] Like, like very much behind the scenes, but he was very, like, heavily politically involved. Still keeps up to date with politics. I met him and my supervisor, who is just about to go on mat leave herself and like the interview was so good, I got a cookie at the end, which.

Nicola [00:09:43] Like.

Gina [00:09:45] We don’t, but was it like chocolate chip or it was chocolate.

Nicola [00:09:48] Chip? It was good.

Captain Harry [00:09:50] I laughed. I was like, I’ve got the job, like. And sure enough, I got the job.

Gina [00:09:56] Yeah. Can you tell us what the position was like in general? Like what was your position? What was sort of the hierarchy of the organizational chart just so we kind of get an idea of the key players?

Captain Harry [00:10:07] Okay, So I worked for a health organization, so my role was communications specialist. There was myself and then the director.

Nicola [00:10:18] And.

Captain Harry [00:10:19] Another person who was hired, and he was hired at the same time as me. Yeah. And that so our organization had 400 people and we were meant to like, deal with the internal and external communications for the organization. And yeah, so we had like other health care partners that we were supposed.

Nicola [00:10:39] To talk to.

Captain Harry [00:10:42] Yeah, but we did like a little bit of everything, which was really fun.

Gina [00:10:46] So then you mentioned h.R. Was that your first red flag? Whatever happened with.

Nicola [00:10:50] H.R.? Yes.

Gina [00:10:53] All right, get into.

Nicola [00:10:54] That. Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:10:55] So initially, my director, he had promised me, like, because I was unionized.

Nicola [00:11:05] At.

Captain Harry [00:11:06] A higher end of the wage because I had an MBA. However, one thing that I didn’t like that he told me he told h.R. Was that because he’s hiring a man and a woman, he wants us to be paid the same. Which doesn’t make sense because I had more education and experience than my.

Gina [00:11:25] Coworker, Right? Because it’s not really about like equal pay. If it’s about equal pay, it’s not all vacations are matching, but that’s still not equal pay, because that means the man’s going to either get as much as you who has more qualifications and then he’s making more than he should, or you’re going to make less than you should just to meet his.

Nicola [00:11:47] Yeah.

Gina [00:11:48] So that’s not that’s not the right way to do that, obviously. Yes.

Nicola [00:11:51] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:11:52] Yeah. So H.R. was my first kind of hiccup because they called me. It was like 8:00 at night. I’m like nursing my daughter before bed, they called me and.

Nicola [00:12:03] I’m like.

Captain Harry [00:12:03] Why are they calling me at 8:00 at night? Oh, hey, we just looked at your qualifications and we’re going to pay more. Okay, cool. But why are you calling me at 8:00 at night?

Nicola [00:12:13] So you’re so late. Strange. No work boundaries at this point. How long have you been at the organization?

Gina [00:12:20] You haven’t even gone for your first day, have you?

Captain Harry [00:12:22] I hadn’t even gone for my first day. No, this was goodbye.

Gina [00:12:25] Good fucking bye.

Nicola [00:12:28] Yeah, but I had like.

Captain Harry [00:12:30] That was when I was like, I have a funny. You actually know, my first funny feeling was when my boss told me that he’s hiring somebody else. And I was like, This is not going to be good. I just had this, like, alarm bell.

Gina [00:12:41] Feeling. Yeah.

Nicola [00:12:43] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:12:43] And like, I didn’t have any particular reason as to why the alarm bell was going off. So that was my first. Like, what the fuck? Like, why is H.R. working so late? Don’t they have enough people to work? So and at the same time, I actually had another job offer and I turned it down. In hindsight, I wish I took the other job.

Nicola [00:13:03] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:13:03] I But I don’t know if I would be where I am now.

Gina [00:13:07] Like, that’s how I look at it too. Yeah, but. Okay, good. So you had another job offer. You start with this place. Your salaries are the same and. He starts being inappropriate.

Nicola [00:13:18] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:13:19] My boss and I like as a manager. Terrible. Terrible as a human being. Pretty.

Nicola [00:13:26] Okay. If he’s a good human. Because quite often people are what made him a terrible manager of people.

Captain Harry [00:13:32] He had no interest whatsoever in managing us. So we came in, like all of us were new. So the director had only been there for seven months. Myself and this other person. He and I got there. Our supervisor was already on maternity leave, so H.R..

Nicola [00:13:49] Screwed.

Captain Harry [00:13:50] That up. It’s not like they didn’t know she was pregnant and, like, leaving, so they didn’t, like, give us any overlap with her for her to train us and, like, kind of divvy up the workload a bit. So this led to something like very sudden conflict. Like within the first couple of weeks I start having panic attacks walking to my desk because this guy is like talking to a cop. So we’re on equal footing and we’re kind of left to our own devices to divvy up the workload, which I’m like, Fuck, because this guy wanted to be the same brain and do everything together. And while all this is happening, my, my director and I have better rapport than my director and this guy. So there isn’t like the team is very disconnected in the sense like I want to be left alone to do my own work without consulting somebody else for every little thing. And this guy wants to consult me for every little thing. It wasn’t even three weeks then. And I start like writing down the comments.

Nicola [00:14:53] That this.

Captain Harry [00:14:54] That my coworker is making to.

Nicola [00:14:56] Me.

Captain Harry [00:14:58] Because, like, they won’t.

Gina [00:14:59] List. I would love the list. Do you. Can you remember anything?

Captain Harry [00:15:03] I filed a harassment complaint so I can.

Gina [00:15:06] Okay, here we go. Buckle up, kiddies.

Captain Harry [00:15:09] Oh, buckle up. So I started November 2019, and I filed the harassment complaint.

Nicola [00:15:16] At.

Captain Harry [00:15:17] The end of April. So we had already been home for about a month.

Nicola [00:15:20] But like I said, like six months of being in the job. Yeah. So was it like. Was it bullying, harassment or was it most sexual harassment?

Captain Harry [00:15:31] 0% sexual? Just like.

Gina [00:15:34] I’m. You’re here for the meat and potatoes.

Nicola [00:15:36] Okay. So you need to make a flag that says I’m here for the meat and potatoes. So that’s net and problematic is going to be your strap line and.

Gina [00:15:45] Yours is gorgeous.

Nicola [00:15:47] You’re gorgeous.

Gina [00:15:48] Everything is fucking gorgeous with Nicola. Everything.

Nicola [00:15:51] Fuck you. I could be.

Gina [00:15:52] Like, Here, try this burger. It’s gorgeous.

Nicola [00:15:55] I love that.

Gina [00:15:59] Okay, so let’s. I’m here for the meat and potatoes. Captain Harry, give me some examples.

Captain Harry [00:16:06] Okay. So shortly after I started, we had a ransomware attack, and this guy, I’m not kidding, was pulled into the like, they.

Nicola [00:16:18] Called it the war room. Well, ransomware is war, essentially.

Captain Harry [00:16:24] Don’t even get me started. It was very stressful. He was pulled in like they tapped him on the shoulder. Hey, come, like, help with this stuff. And then very quickly after, like, a couple of days later, he was, like, phased out. And then all of a sudden it was like I was taking minutes. I was in like, these secret meetings where, like, we weren’t supposed to talk about it. There was a lawyer.

Nicola [00:16:46] There in the war room with the malware.

Gina [00:16:49] And we just pause for a second for people who are not tech savvy like me.

Nicola [00:16:54] Yeah.

Gina [00:16:55] Can someone please give me a rundown on what? A war room malware? I mean, I kind of know, but I think for.

Nicola [00:17:00] So when.

Gina [00:17:00] People in the back.

Nicola [00:17:01] However many people, the people in the leads and for the ceilings in the backseats and the peanuts firstly just to be clear malware, when you get an email that says you’ve won money from the Nigerian prince, you don’t want to get in win, you didn’t win. I didn’t know you took the winning. There is no inheritance there for you, babe. Please do not click on the button because when you click the button, something downloads to your computer and that is malware. And it can either skim your passwords or it can skim your your identity and it can sell your identity or scan emails. And then other people.

Gina [00:17:43] Like a like a data breach in some ways, not a breach.

Nicola [00:17:46] Yeah, essentially. And then a war room. What happens? And in many companies, not just government, but government, because I think they like the term war room, what happens is they have like an emergency response center for big issues, which is called the war Room. And then inside the war room, it’s essentially Chatham House rules where you can’t have any communication outside of the war room. It’s very closed. Or it’s very closed communication. You know, there is usually a lawyer. But that’s part of the emergency response kind of ensemble to get you through whatever crisis you’re dealing with. It could be a PR crisis. It could be, you know, malware crisis, it could be floods, tsunamis, whatever’s App Store, story of the day.

Gina [00:18:41] Okay, so you guys are in this like. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi, Lisa. Hello. Hi. Highly secretive, like a little room there. And so it seems like so far everything you said is Czech. So is Nicola’s. Gorgeous rundown. Okay, so what happens next?

Captain Harry [00:19:03] So Buddy is pushed out. I’m brought in and at the end of every single day because I’m like, not at my desk anymore. He’d be like, So what happened today? What’s going on? And he’d like, pressed me for information, panic and be like, I don’t know.

Nicola [00:19:18] I don’t know.

Captain Harry [00:19:19] I’m not allowed to talk about it, Blair said. I’m not allowed to talk about it.

Nicola [00:19:22] And he’s like, Well.

Captain Harry [00:19:24] The director told us there are no secrets in this department. And it’s like, Then go talk to him. I started having panic attacks at work and I started antidepressants by the end of that month.

Nicola [00:19:38] Okay. Okay.

Gina [00:19:39] All right. So what did what did your coworker say to you besides asking for information that he knew he shouldn’t have asked about, correct?

Captain Harry [00:19:47] Oh, yeah. I had written during one of the badgering conversations at the end of the workday, I felt attacked and was interrupted by a call from my husband. My husband had called both my personal and work phone. He called to tell me that my cat had passed away in front of him moments before. I mentioned.

Nicola [00:20:03] This.

Captain Harry [00:20:04] To my coworker and I leave upset and my boss tells me to take the next day off. When I stopped by to tell him that my cat died. So then I took the.

Nicola [00:20:13] Day off.

Captain Harry [00:20:15] And then the next day, same time coworker picks up this conversation badgering me again and he’s like, Why aren’t I involved in the ransomware conversations? Why you? Not me? You’re not the boss. You can’t make these decisions about like posting edits to some branding guidelines. And then I told him he’s working on things I’m not filled in on and like, it doesn’t bother me to not be filled in on them. And that customarily people in the same position with the same title will have portfolios that don’t always overlap. So I start like losing a bit of control with my emotions and I’m like basically describing a panic attack. Ask him to stop talking because I’m just like, done. I’m like, Please stop talking. He kept talking and so I yelled at him to shut up. I was just like, shut up. And like, everybody heard because we were in an open office concept.

Nicola [00:21:10] And that I love this instance. Were you the toxic person?

Gina [00:21:17] You know, I mean, I think that’s always something that would reflect on like what? What do we bring to the workplace that could potentially add to the toxicity? I mean, I know what I brought.

Nicola [00:21:27] I know what I brought about.

Gina [00:21:29] So you’d.

Captain Harry [00:21:31] Here’s what happened. I felt that my boundaries were persistently being crossed and I would lay lay down the law and he would cross it again. And I had, like told him with some assertion, like to stop.

Nicola [00:21:45] Talking. Hmm.

Captain Harry [00:21:47] So maybe, yes, I was a little bit. It was not my finest moment.

Nicola [00:21:51] You know what? We all.

Gina [00:21:53] Had him.

Nicola [00:21:53] In not great fun moments.

Gina [00:21:55] Yeah, and we’re human. Like you were already emotional because of your cat, and then he’s, like, annoying you about nonsense. Okay, so you. So this I’m assuming this goes on for quite some time. Him just kind of like trying to extricate information from you and so on and so forth.

Nicola [00:22:11] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:22:13] H.R. got involved.

Nicola [00:22:16] So what was the reason they were getting involved? Had you placed a complaint and around his consistent harassment or was or did get involved after the office had you yelling at him?

Captain Harry [00:22:30] No, I actually. A finer moment of mine I apologized for. I did not say I apologize for how I reacted. And we had like a decent conversation. We actually, like, got along okay. Personally. It was just like, really hard getting along with him about the work for whatever reason. So beginning of February to early March, we’re like, you know, trying to suss out our differences. At one point we made like a bit of an organizational chart to like, divvy up the work. We were getting some guidance from organizational development, which was like these were all like really positive things. I was feeling better. I was on my anti-depressants. Things were okay for a bit. So we get to like, you know, closer to the pandemic is picking up, but he is freaking out like every single day. So he’s getting like, ramped up about the pandemic, like he has family in Italy.

Gina [00:23:30] That sucks. Oh, my God. Is he is he going to give Italians a bad name? Okay, so he has family in Italy and he’s freaking out. Rightfully so. It was a rough time for everyone.

Captain Harry [00:23:40] We’re getting, like, closer to him, like losing his shit, and he’s, like, telling me he wants to be copied on every email I sent.

Nicola [00:23:48] And I’m.

Captain Harry [00:23:48] Like, You’re not my.

Nicola [00:23:49] Boss. Fuck you.

Captain Harry [00:23:50] You can talk to our director. Like, would.

Gina [00:23:53] That be something under normal circumstances that you would do only about, like, work you were both working on?

Nicola [00:23:59] Yeah.

Gina [00:24:00] Okay. So he wanted to be cop, just so that I understand. He wanted to be copied on things that he didn’t even necessarily have to be privy to because he might not have necessarily been working on it. Okay, that’s weird.

Captain Harry [00:24:12] Yeah. And I was.

Gina [00:24:13] Like. I was like a fucking nosy neighbor.

Captain Harry [00:24:15] Oh, yeah. That’s exactly what it was like. He was a nosy neighbor, like, Yeah, even my boss and I have had like, and this is where like, the inappropriate boss conversations come in, but, like, my boss would be like, he wanted to fire him and told me that he wanted to fire him.

Gina [00:24:31] Because he was weird or for like a real reason.

Captain Harry [00:24:33] No, for like, a real reason. He was like his production was terrible. Like, Yeah, but he’s like, No, I need to know the procedures. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Everything has to be like the same. There can’t be any change. Like change Freak this guy out.

Gina [00:24:50] All right? So he’s freaking out and he’s getting weird to the bosses. Honestly, though, I’ve been. I’ve done that before. I’ve been, like this person and, like, two people under me. I’ve been like, this so-and-so person is driving me fucking bananas. I would say that. And that’s not that’s not cool.

Nicola [00:25:05] Like, we know that’s not cool. We know that that’s your toxic trait.

Captain Harry [00:25:10] So we get to mid-March and it’s Monday morning. I come in, I like we were texting over the weekend, so I was like, okay, he’s fine. Like everything’s fine. And then he starts like, I’m like, How is Regan? Did you find wipes? Because he’s freaking out about wipes and like, I’m serious freaking out about why you.

Gina [00:25:29] Don’t like, like the sanitizing wipes.

Captain Harry [00:25:32] Okay.

Nicola [00:25:33] Hand sanitizer. He’s freaking. So it sounds like maybe he’s on the spectrum. You know, I’m not a psychologist, but I’m just saying.

Captain Harry [00:25:40] Oh, no, no, that’s that’s a correct assessment. My boss thought he was a narcissist, but I was like, No, I don’t think he’s into himself. So I come in, I put my coat in my in the locker. Good morning. I was like, feeling pretty good. And I saw he had wipes at his desk and I was like, Oh, hey, you found the wipes. Did you get the spray? And something was off and he starts slamming things on his desk.

Gina [00:26:05] Like, like slamming like a stapler or like his like mouse and shit.

Nicola [00:26:11] All right?

Captain Harry [00:26:12] And I was like, okay, whatever. I’m just going to go get my coffee. So I like, turn around. We have, like these little cupboards. So I grab my coffee and I’m holding my French press.

Nicola [00:26:23] And then.

Captain Harry [00:26:25] I, like, turn around with my coffee. And he’s like, I’ve had enough of your comments. I’m done. I don’t want to hear them anymore. And I’m like, okay. I was just like, What?

Gina [00:26:33] The wipe in the spray?

Nicola [00:26:34] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:26:35] I was like, What fucking comments are you talking about?

Gina [00:26:37] Okay, so.

Nicola [00:26:38] Anyway, coming back to the stuff, I’m back on track, kids. Okay.

Gina [00:26:43] No potatoes.

Captain Harry [00:26:45] So meat and potatoes. So I go to H.R..

Nicola [00:26:47] After.

Captain Harry [00:26:49] Buddy is like yelling. And actually one of my friends saw that I was like, Dad, I was like, being an asshole. Like, did I do something? And she’s like, No, you were, like, smiling and super pleasant. Like, he had no reason to freak out at you like he did. So like, the day goes on and after around lunchtime, I’m like, You know what? I’m going to go to H.R. because this is like it’s bugging me. So I go to H.R.. The director also hired at the same time as me. And I tell her what happened and then she says to me, Maybe what you said is the straw that broke the camel’s back. But what I say.

Gina [00:27:26] Yeah, What did you say that was? That was considered, I don’t know, the straw. That story. Yeah. Straw.

Captain Harry [00:27:34] What did you.

Nicola [00:27:34] Good morning.

Gina [00:27:35] He was probably upset about some his perceived slight like that. You’re. Because he probably knew you were more qualified. He probably was, like, looking for things to be upset about that you’re not being, you know, on, like, an equal playing field. And he just kind of, like, lost it. Because the one thing I’ve noticed is when people act out and Meghan, I taught this to Meghan and Meghan actually mentioned it in her podcast Share. You know, it’s normally not personal. He probably was so frustrated with something the.

Nicola [00:28:07] Wives, the family, the the minor oversight, the slights, like the fact that you were in the war room. And he wasn’t like all of these things like tied together into.

Captain Harry [00:28:20] I’m like sitting on this because like, nothing happened. And basically, like one good thing my boss did was he. Because like that week I think we went home and he entirely separated our work. He was like, You are not to talk to each other. Like, that’s it. You’re done. Like. Like I will pass out the assignments or like, delegates. And he had the organizational chart. So I think he, like, stuck quite well to that. So we didn’t talk anymore. So filed this harassment complaints. It took six months.

Nicola [00:28:53] For.

Captain Harry [00:28:54] Mediation to happen. I didn’t want to because I was like stressed out. I was like, I don’t I’m like, it’s been so long. I don’t really want to mediate. What’s the point? Our work has been separate for so long. And my labor relations person kept saying, like, Well, you could be fired. And I was like, Okay, fine, I’ll just do it.

Nicola [00:29:14] For what, though?

Gina [00:29:15] For not participating in mediation. Basically, I mean, I guess I can understand that though, because it’s like if you raised the red flag to h.r. And then you don’t follow through with it, it’s almost like. Like, you know, what is it when the kid says they’re sick all the time and they’re not crying? Well, thank you. You know, but it doesn’t sound like you felt psychologically unsafe. It just sounded like you were just kind of like, I don’t want to do it.

Captain Harry [00:29:39] But it was a little bit of column, a little bit of column B like. The week that I filed the harassment complaints, like like we were all in lockdown. We were home with our almost two year old, and I just. Like a couple of times. My husband, like, he’s an engineer. Like, I don’t know. He was asking me to do a few things, and I was just getting, like, irritable. And I was like, Hey, look, like, I know. I look like I have it together right now, but like, inside I’m really suffering because, like, this was a really hard thing for me to, like, write and assemble and edit and make sure that it’s on. Track with the company’s policies like respecting the workplace policies. So just like, throw me a bone here. So we’re getting to the summer. H.R. is like not making any movement, so it just felt so drawn out by the organization between April and October when mediation happened. So filed the harassment complaint. H.R. told me that they would get back to me within a week or two. They did not get back to me.

Nicola [00:30:47] For four months.

Captain Harry [00:30:49] And then labor relations had to push for mediation to happen and for them to schedule it and like it was fine. I’m glad that we did it. It was it was hard work. Like, I can’t deny that and I’m glad that I did it. But I was also like newly pregnant at the time, and so I was not stressed. And then because my probation was a year in government here, which I know seems like humongous.

Gina [00:31:17] So, so so you do the mediation and then what happens?

Captain Harry [00:31:21] So between so around April, we were supposed to have our five month probation review our shit the bed and my boss wasn’t looking into what the actual like procedure the truth was. And he totally missed our five month probation review. So we get to so we do mediation and then shortly after we have our 11 month probation review. But we’ve never done a five month one. So basically at this 11 month probation review, he didn’t use any of the criteria from the government to evaluate us, like in terms of how we were working. And he had recommended for both myself and this coworker to extend our probation so that he could fire the guy and so that he could keep me. I was due at the end of April and my probation.

Nicola [00:32:15] Was supposed to.

Captain Harry [00:32:17] Go until the end of May. My supervisor is like back at this point. She gets pregnant shortly after me and this is like end of 2020. And she’s really diligent and like on top of it. And every two weeks she was writing these, like, glowing reviews about me. And Captain.

Nicola [00:32:36] Does.

Captain Harry [00:32:36] Just the work like this is great. And at one point I get seconded to like another partner and they like they were really happy with me. Everybody is like really happy with me. So we’re just like, What the hell? Why is my probation being extended for no particular reason? So my labor relations person was like, Don’t sign it, we’re not going to sign it. So we file a grievance. So this is grievance number one. Okay. And then.

Nicola [00:33:09] So.

Captain Harry [00:33:09] This is end of 2020. Oh, so I meet my new boss in 2021.

Nicola [00:33:14] Okay.

Captain Harry [00:33:15] It was like disdain at first sight.

Gina [00:33:18] Organizational chart. It’s you and your coworker. Then there’s a supervisor, then there’s the director. So when you’re saying boss, you’re talking about the director.

Captain Harry [00:33:25] Yes. Yeah. Sorry.

Gina [00:33:27] That’s okay. No, it’s just sometimes, like if you’re just listening to it, it’s nice to kind of picture the organizational chart in your head.

Nicola [00:33:34] Yeah.

Gina [00:33:35] So you two are on the same level. Then you have a supervisor who’s the intermediary between the director and your team of two. Okay.

Nicola [00:33:44] So you’ve got h.R. Who is separates in a separate. Yes. Okay.

Gina [00:33:48] Okay. I think that clears it up. So your director, who you’re still kind of friends with leaves when you leave, and then a new director comes in and you guys do not like each other.

Nicola [00:33:59] No.

Captain Harry [00:34:00] She I was like, I think she’s psychotic, cause you know how you’re, like, smiling and other people are smiling. And then, like, you meet somebody in there, like. Stone faced the whole time and they look like they smell shit.

Nicola [00:34:15] Sometimes.

Gina [00:34:15] That’s my resting bitch face, though. And I’m not. I’m not like a horrible person. I’m actually kind of like a nice person. But I think if you were just to meet me, you’d be like, She is a [Unrecognized].

Nicola [00:34:27] Can we just pause here for a second and remind people that if this podcast is something you enjoy, we would love to hear from you.

Gina [00:34:34] You can find us on Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Let’s break up toxic workplace stories.

Nicola [00:34:39] Sharing and subscribing really helps us feel validated.

Captain Harry [00:34:43] So we all go for lunch. Me, my supervisor who is pregnant and new director. We go for lunch and like I’m trying to bond with new director. We bonded over shoes. Like, you know, she’s not really like a warm person. It’s like, hard to kind of.

Nicola [00:35:03] Like a snake. Yes.

Gina [00:35:06] Or, like, reserved. Like super.

Nicola [00:35:08] Reserved. Is she introverted? We just had this conversation recently.

Gina [00:35:12] Yes. Could it be that she was introverted?

Nicola [00:35:15] It’s possible. I based on the.

Captain Harry [00:35:18] Amount that I’ve spoken to her, it’s more like.

Nicola [00:35:20] Asshole.

Gina [00:35:21] Okay, so wait, how did you. How did it get to that level? Where you’re like, No, she’s not like where you were like a done giving her the benefit of the doubt. And you’re like, No, she’s just a [Unrecognized].

Captain Harry [00:35:32] So she made this comment and my supervisor is like, ready to pop any day. I have like my two month old next to me and she’s like asking, Where is your older kid? And I was like, Well, daycare. And then she says, I don’t understand why women who are on maternity leave keep sending their older kids to daycare. Like what? It’s none of your fucking business.

Nicola [00:36:00] Does she have kids? Because she does have kids. Oh, she does.

Gina [00:36:05] Because I was like, Listen, you can’t fault someone who doesn’t have kids because you don’t know. That’s another situation. You don’t know until you know. Like, you think like, Oh, I’ll be a fine mom. Like, I’ll handle it all.

Nicola [00:36:16] And then I was the best parent. I just want to say I was like, the absolute fucking best parents until I had kids. Yes.

Gina [00:36:25] Thank you. Because I was about to be like, Shut the fuck up, Nicola. I’m coming. I’m walking to New Zealand to punch you in your face and break your glasses. So it’s even crazier that she has kids. So, like, what gives?

Captain Harry [00:36:37] And I call H.R. the one H.R. person that I liked. And I was like, Hey, I think new boss, new director is going to fire me. I just set it. I just had like, this very strong feeling.

Nicola [00:36:49] Okay.

Captain Harry [00:36:50] And my H.R. friend says, like, No, she’s just different. I know. She’s like, a little bit this way. And so I told her what happened at lunch, the, like, the few months before. And I was like, well, these were the conversations that we had. So I go back to work and three weeks later I got fired because my probation was extended. However, I did learn because we had our grievance meeting with labor relations and the employer and H.R. and like anyway, we had the we had the meeting and I recorded it. What I learned was. I have ample documentation to prove that I was a star employee and they have no documentation to prove that they rightfully fired me. And so the way that it looks like that it will look from a third party arbitrator is that they were just exercising their power because they could not because that there was any particular reason to fire me.

Gina [00:37:52] Okay. Can I just can I just be the devil’s advocate? And this is something that I learned from my business partner because he and I had were friends way before we started a business. And I would complain about like, I don’t know why my boss is having me do this. And he was like, You know what, Gina? When you’re the boss, you get to tell people how to do it and why you want it done that way. He’s like, But you’re not the boss, so you don’t get to do that. And that was a really big learning for thing for me, because I was like, I just have to be a worker among workers. Like, it’s not my. He’s right. I’m not the boss. If I was the boss, I would know better. I would know different. Maybe there’s a reason behind it. And then when I did become the boss, I was like, okay, now I see why my old boss did it this way. So what do you think there was any of that like? Like for me, ego plays a big part in why I can stop time. Yeah. Like why I can sometimes can contribute to a toxic workplace. Like, because I’m like. Because I like. On one hand, I know I’m really good at what I do, but at the same time, if I employed by someone, I need to do it their way or really show them why my why my way might be better, present it to them and then have them tell me we hear what you said, but you still got to do it our way. It’s like, okay, fair enough. So do you have any of that in your story?

Captain Harry [00:39:14] Yes, I guess there could be. Absolutely. That’s that could possibly be the case. So when I came back, they basically hired somebody to do everything that I was doing already. So all of my work was gone. Like there wasn’t anything for me to do except to like. Which, like I get it. I like you. Go on, leave. You come back like you can’t expect that all of your work will be there when you come back. I also learned in our grievance meeting that she had read the reviews that my supervisor who was on leave had written about me. So and like all of the reviews, like all of the criteria was like meeting or exceeds expectations. Are you just firing me because I look different? Because I like because you just don’t like me?

Gina [00:40:02] Like any of the past, like whistle blowing. I don’t know if that’s the right term, but like going. Do you think that could have played into anything? Look, I know it’s technically not supposed to, but once it’s like some once you know something, you can’t unknow it. And it might have been, like, rattling around in her brain, like, Oh, maybe, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know what she’s thinking. I don’t know her. But it might have, like, cast you in an unfavorable light, like, oh, you’re going to go back to H.R. and like, your snitch or tat or whatever? I don’t know.

Captain Harry [00:40:32] Something that’s entirely possible to my like, because my previous director knew her. He and I went for lunch, like shortly before I went back. And I had like, also had, like, expressed concern that I would probably be fired by her and that I was a little bit afraid of her. And his comment was like, Oh, she’s like. Not retired but on the cusp of retirement. She was fired from her previous workplace. So I had had a friend who worked under her and had very similar stories to mine. And yeah, he was like, No, just don’t be afraid of her. She’s just trying to stay relevant. It’s like.

Gina [00:41:17] Yeah, So did you complain about, like the reason you got fired? Did anything or did you just say, you know what? Like it? It’s my time to move on?

Captain Harry [00:41:28] I did, Yeah. We filed the second grievance. So the nutshell was that the two grievances were related because the first one was an extension of my probation to an 18 month probation, and which meant that probation when I came back, which meant like new boss would absolutely have the ability to fire me, which she.

Nicola [00:41:49] Did. Mm hmm.

Captain Harry [00:41:52] Yeah. And then we filed a grievance for being wrongfully terminated. So the next step is like figuring out an arbitration date. I don’t know when that’s going to happen, but.

Gina [00:42:03] So what is this.

Nicola [00:42:03] Is still ongoing. Yes. Yeah.

Gina [00:42:06] Okay, So what is your goal? Are you looking for a compensation or what is the goal for doing this? Because what is your goal with the arbitration and going forward in the manner that you are?

Captain Harry [00:42:19] Ideally compensation. That would be that would be nice. Like I calculated how much I would have been.

Nicola [00:42:25] Owed.

Captain Harry [00:42:26] Between the time that I was let go. And now and it’s like quite a hefty sum. It’s funny, actually, a friend of mine is a lawyer in another province, and she had sent me a similar instance that she had worked on based on the conversation that we had during our grievance meeting. They didn’t have any, like, documentation to prove that there was any coaching or any, like, conversations with me about how I was doing something wrong. And I kept, like, everything. I can read you some of like the funny comments that were made in my. Termination letter.

Nicola [00:43:05] Oh, please, dear.

Gina [00:43:07] Okay. I’m here for this.

Captain Harry [00:43:09] Okay. Okay. The considerations upon which we have made this decision include one your ability to communicate and work compatibly with the other with others in the organization. I was working from home and I got along with everybody.

Gina [00:43:24] I think that’s directly discussing your previous coworker. I think that’s what that’s about.

Nicola [00:43:31] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:43:32] And like labor relations have said very plainly, like like H.R. had written in their emails that I would not be penalized at all for bringing it forward. And this looks like a direct penalty to your capacity to devote your exclusive attention to your employment responsibilities during your regularly scheduled hours of work.

Gina [00:43:56] Leaving early. Were you coming late? Leaving early? What was going.

Nicola [00:43:59] On? You.

Captain Harry [00:44:00] I literally had an announcement.

Nicola [00:44:02] Like, what’s happening here?

Captain Harry [00:44:03] I knew I had. I actually had, like, straight up. Like a doctor’s note to keep me working at home. And like I had one side hustle, like writing articles every once in a while. And I was like, and I was very clear. I was like, I don’t do this stuff on work time.

Gina [00:44:24] Right. Okay.

Captain Harry [00:44:26] Yeah. And then. Your car. Oh, yeah. Okay. Your willingness to conduct yourself forthrightly at all times in matters related to your working conditions. Like. So you’re calling me a liar?

Gina [00:44:44] Yeah, that one. I’m not quite following, but.

Captain Harry [00:44:47] Yeah, that one we had a hard time with and we brought it up in our grievance meeting. And then our evaluation of your willingness to take the steps necessary to acquire full and clear comprehension of the core duties and expectations of your position.

Gina [00:45:01] So basically you didn’t know what the fuck you were doing and you sucked at everything you did do.

Nicola [00:45:06] Yeah.

Gina [00:45:07] But your other reports and like, whatever reviews were all good.

Captain Harry [00:45:14] Oh, they were excellence, like.

Gina [00:45:15] So that doesn’t seem to reconcile. All right. Let’s talk about. Because I liked. I like to be a little like like your husband. I like to play the devil’s advocate. Do you think. And this is just my opinion. Like whatever your coworker. It was probably a situation where you had to be there and really experience it to understand like how weird it might have been, but his behavior would just be I would personally, I would find it just a little bit annoying and I might and I’d probably be like, Why do you need to do it? Like, I’d probably just like, say exactly what I would say. Be like, That’s annoying. Why do I want to be copied on everything that’s so annoying for everyone?

Nicola [00:45:57] Yeah.

Gina [00:45:58] So is there a To me, it didn’t seem that bad from your retelling of it, but I was not there. And I know that there’s something very different about being in the city as a person. Yeah. So having I’m coming from that place where I’m like, okay, it didn’t sound awful. It didn’t sound like he was, like, straight up harassing you. It just sounded like he’s a weird dude, right? Oh.

Nicola [00:46:23] Yeah. Yeah.

Gina [00:46:24] Which. Fair enough. Okay. So do you think you might have been too idealistic about going into this work? Like, do you want a perfect role? Because you’re always going to, like, there was someone on my team directly that I didn’t really like, but I made it work because, like, I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t like, I couldn’t fire her. Like, there was no reason. I didn’t think she was very good at what she did. And I still don’t think she’s very good at what she does. But I had to just make it work as a manager.

Captain Harry [00:46:56] Oh, totally. I like. Yeah, we got along personally. That was the thing too. But like, yeah, it was just a lot of the like mansplaining type comments that would come in or like and. Every once in a while he would say things where he like. Like he would just like, come up to me and be like, Hey, did you know how much I made at my last job? And I was like, I don’t fucking care what you think.

Gina [00:47:21] I would have said that I would have been like, You know what? I’m sure it was great.

Nicola [00:47:25] He just sounds very neurodiverse.

Gina [00:47:28] Yes. Yeah. And I mean, like what? You know, then it’s not really about him. Like, right. Because, like, we’re only responsible about our own know ourselves, right? We can’t control, like, what your supervisor thought about you. The mean one, the not mean one. We can’t. You know, we can’t control what our coworkers think. How you know what? How they relate to us. But, like, looking back on it. Do you think you could have done anything different? Would you still have filed something with H.R.? Would you have maybe gone to your director first and been like, Maybe we should sit down, put some boundaries up? I mean, I don’t know. Just spitball.

Nicola [00:48:07] Yeah.

Captain Harry [00:48:08] So it was funny, actually, because. Like, I don’t know about where you guys were living, but like a lot of people around that time, like late spring in the pandemic were coming out with like a lot of harassment complaints. There were like several in my town about, like different people that were relatively prominent individuals in in the city and. And my theory about that was that we had been so far removed from those people that we had time to think and be like, Oh, that shit wasn’t right, let’s try and rectify it. So in my mind, filing harassment complaint was pointing out the problem and trying to rectify it and hopefully managing it, managing it. And for other people who were in my position to feel comfortable coming forward and trying to rectify the issue. But like. Do I think he, like, boldfaced, harassed me? No, he was absolutely annoying. I think what I think ultimately was the issue was like how H.R. dealt with it and how it became very much like. Like I was sort of.

Nicola [00:49:32] Dealing with the issue. It became targeted at you for raising the issue.

Captain Harry [00:49:38] My theory also is that because I wrote that comment about what the director had said to me, I felt that she was deliberately pushing me out of the organization because I had called her out very plainly.

Gina [00:49:54] So back to what I said. Like, only you know how bad it was because you’re the one who’s experiencing it. Do you think the onus would have been on him or you to say, like, I’d like to come like I want to come to you about. So this is kind of like how Nicola ended up getting fired because I had a direct report come to me and say, Hey, this thing happened. And because I was the manager, I just had to carry the message. And I did. And then of course, it kind of spiraled into her getting fired. But. In one way that person did the right thing. Obviously, we didn’t want Nicola to get fired, but her saying, Hey, this thing happened. It’s been bothering me for however many years.

Nicola [00:50:35] 23 years, Right. So.

Gina [00:50:40] Do you think the onus would have been on him or you to say, Hey, this thing’s bothering me, I’d like to take like 20 minutes of your time. I’d like to try to figure out a way to solve it, because I’m thinking of going to H.R., But I think you and I can maybe figure out a better solution before I have to make it.

Nicola [00:50:56] Go that far.

Captain Harry [00:50:58] He didn’t really give me any guidance when I went to him, and I think that that was.

Gina [00:51:02] The super guidance.

Nicola [00:51:04] I did. Yeah. Okay.

Captain Harry [00:51:06] We had we had had several conversations about this before I went and filed the complaint the day that I was fired. I knew I was being fired because. The night before, I was, like, suddenly kicked off of the Facebook. Like, I just knew. And then 10 a.m. I got this, like, random probation meeting for 2:00 and like. So I called my labor. So I called my labor relations. And labor relations said, No, I think it’s just going to be fine. And I’m like. Sure enough, I was fired.

Gina [00:51:38] So did she come to the labor relations? She did get there.

Captain Harry [00:51:42] Yeah, she did. She was like, We’re escalating this. We’re taking this. Like, this is going to be a grievance because, like, there’s nothing here. Like, she had already had the reports from my supervisor.

Gina [00:51:52] All right. Well, we want to thank you, Captain Harry, for coming on and sharing your story.

Captain Harry [00:51:57] If I do, even when arbitration happens, do you guys want me to let you know.

Nicola [00:52:02] If we need an.

Gina [00:52:03] Update? Yeah, well, we’ll take.

Nicola [00:52:05] We need the update in our lives. Regardless of if it’s a good update or a bad update, we will take both. Okay. Because we want to know what happened. And it’s like, did you get a favorable outcome? Yay! We pumped that champagne insert champagne sound. It’s.

Captain Harry [00:52:26] I think it’s going to be a while.

Gina [00:52:28] But it probably is.

Nicola [00:52:29] Or if it’s not, then we can put in the 111111111111. Sound of Things I Hate You.

Gina [00:52:38] That was so good though. Why was that so good?

Nicola [00:52:41] Because I do it a lot. Why was that so good?

Gina [00:52:45] Your superior love it. Yeah. We really appreciate for your time.

Nicola [00:52:51] No problem. We appreciate you coming to have a chat with us.

Gina [00:52:54] Tell all your friends about your experience. Tell them about our podcast, have them rate and review.

Nicola [00:53:00] Now we’ve listened to the episode. Yeah.

Gina [00:53:04] And I think it left us both with a very similar sense of how like, how do we unpack this one?

Nicola [00:53:14] And I’m also curious, I would love for the people that have listened to this podcast. I would love for them to leave us a voice message so that you love.

Gina [00:53:23] This voice message.

Nicola [00:53:24] Actually, I would love a voice message. What did you love to listen to? Someone’s voice message.

Gina [00:53:30] Okay. In real life, I. My phone is like, always on. Do not disturb. Same OC. But in this context, I would love to listen to a voice message.

Nicola [00:53:41] Okay, so anyway, leave us a voice message. Because we would love.

Gina [00:53:44] Because we will actually listen. All right. So getting back to the episode.

Nicola [00:53:49] All right, so now what what I really appreciate is that Captain Harry actually sent us through some document supporting documentation. Supporting documentation. I’m going to pull it up right now and we can maybe just kind of go through some of it so that we can get a better handle on this. And I think, you know, we spoke about this earlier, but I think what’s happened is we’ve spent too much time focusing on the harassment and not quite understanding the harassment. This is the failure for H.R. to effectively terminate employment because they did that super shady.

Gina [00:54:31] Yeah. And I think there’s I think there’s two separate issues. I think there was the perceived harassment, and I’ll be honest, and I told that to Captain Harry that to me it did not sound unmanageable. It did not sound like harassment. It just sounded like this guy was neurodivergent maybe not maybe socially awkward. It just seemed a little.

Nicola [00:54:55] They seemed more annoying than harassed.

Gina [00:54:57] And technically harassed.

Nicola [00:55:00] And like, I can also understand microaggressions, right? Like in the moment, you can feel the microaggressions and you can kind of perceive those to be really like ones that like when they add up, they’re not great. And I wonder if that was the situation where we were dealing a lot with quite a bit of postpartum depression is already super sensitive, and now you’ve got these not even, like I’d say, negligible, almost commentary from someone really annoying. She’s starting to feel even more.

Gina [00:55:32] Yeah, That in yourself. Absolutely. I mean, I have I told I told her right now on the podcast I’d be like I would just be like, you’re you’re, you’re hey, dude, you’re kind of annoying. Like, I’m one of those, like, people who will just be like, All right, you’re annoying me right now. Can we, like, come back to this later when I’m not irritable? So for me, that was I was having a hard time really understanding the true harassment in one of her supporting documents. It does detail her version of the harassment. And again, we weren’t there. We weren’t on the receiving end of it, so we truly won’t know. But again, in the retelling, it was hard for me to be on board with it being total harassment and.

Nicola [00:56:23] Looking like after looking looking through that commentary though, like reading through that commentary and, you know, obviously if we read some of it out, like I still feel like the harassment, the harassment there is very negligible.

Gina [00:56:38] It’s a very gray area and it’s gray just because from the supporting documents and her retelling of her story, again, it just sounded like someone was annoying.

Nicola [00:56:50] Neurodivergent maybe.

Gina [00:56:53] Yeah. And even in the end, in the supporting documentation, it supports my feeling that it was just someone annoying and I keep going back to it, but we weren’t on the receiving end, so.

Nicola [00:57:08] But I, but I also feel like there was a lot of sensitivity here, so I’m just going to call one out that I think kind of it’s leaving me scratching my head. Beep told me that he feels that men are harassed as often as women. I don’t feel like arguing, but statistically this is untrue. Why are we recording that as evidence when this is something like Who gives a shit? This guy obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Gina [00:57:37] But you know, also like me, who knows what context it was in? I don’t like. I think I would need more context. Like maybe they were talking about domestic violence.

Nicola [00:57:49] Which can be very hot, especially in New Zealand. That’s incredibly high for men.

Gina [00:57:53] Yeah. Like and I think it’s becoming more of an issue just globally that people are coming forward. Say men are not people. Men are saying. They were also abused. So I’m sure that they weren’t talking about that. I’m just playing devil’s advocate, but I think I would have needed more context around it.

Nicola [00:58:14] Yeah.

Gina [00:58:14] Like the conversation we were having. But I don’t know if that’s something that would be considered harassment. Like, it just goes to show you how odd he is.

Nicola [00:58:24] Yeah. And then I think the commentary in the the conclusion for me, again, I’m like, I’m not not 100% seeing it. It’s in the conclusion of the the evidence brought forward, it seems the persistent verbal abuse, lack of respect, lack of trust and the barriers that Bishop has placed on all my work when we work together have made me feel.

Gina [00:58:44] Yeah, again. And I keep using this word. It’s hard for me to reconcile that because in no part of the supporting document or in her retelling her story, was there any actual.

Nicola [00:58:57] Verbal and verbal.

Gina [00:58:59] Abuse and or safety threats like he never pushed her? Not I’m not saying that it has to get to that point, but he never said, I’m going to come got I’m going to come find you and kill your fucking family or something like that, which absolutely would be harassment. It’s cut and dry. I think I think for me it would have landed better if it was just something like it made it like a workplace that I feared coming to or felt uncomfortable working in. You know, something more along those lines. And I don’t I really don’t want to feel I don’t want our audience to feel like we’re throwing this person under the bus.

Nicola [00:59:41] Oh, for sure. Not sure up.

Gina [00:59:42] We really we really like her. I really like her. She and I have some things in common, and I just think it’s an interesting episode because. Typically the people who are interviewing, it’s very cut and dry, like, okay, like this person like showed me their dick or whatever. Like my boss showed me their dick like that.

Nicola [01:00:08] And I got her Red Bull stuff, right? I almost got run over by a car. Yes.

Gina [01:00:13] Full stop. Yeah, That’s toxic. So I think it’s. I want. I don’t want that. There we go. Yes. That we’re struggling with. And I have a feeling our audience might struggle with it, too. So we kind of are trying to bridge the gap there. In any event. I think. Nicola, you hit the nail on the head when the actual toxicity was in her, the whole probationary thing, which I’ll have you explain, because I don’t fully understand it, because she worked in a form of the government and so does Nicola. And they are, there’s some it’s she comes from an area that’s similar to Nicola’s and then the the final firing.

Nicola [01:01:02] Which I.

Gina [01:01:03] Do agree it was on jam.

Nicola [01:01:05] Handed that was then.

Gina [01:01:07] Happens. Yeah. And it doesn’t sound like there was any real reason.

Nicola [01:01:12] So I’m going to try and like break it down as best as I can and I’m not going to go and I’m not retelling the story, but I’m going to break down my understanding of what’s unfolded. So she raised this harassment issue. Nothing happened for an extended period of time. H r Now she was on a probation. She was on a 12 month probationary period, which is standard for that type of government organization. Within that probation period, it’s very easy for you still to be fired because you’re on probation. What happened was her probation was extended so that the new manager coming in could more easily fire her to recruit in the team that they really wanted.

Gina [01:01:59] So I think, yes, that is overall true, but the nitty gritty of it is her probation was extended because she went out on maternity.

Nicola [01:02:08] Maternity leave.

Gina [01:02:09] Yeah. And therefore she didn’t complete the full 12 months of the original probation.

Nicola [01:02:16] So which in summary, should have left her with a month’s additional probation.

Gina [01:02:21] Right. Like it then. And there’s just been able to, to come back and you know, say okay, you know, I did ten months or whatever it was of the original probation and then finished the last one or two months and then have, you know, my final evaluation with that to be off probation. And she does mention that one of the directors completely forgot to do the evaluation. So that pushed that and her being out on maternity leave pushed her probation.

Nicola [01:02:52] Further.

Gina [01:02:53] Further.

Nicola [01:02:54] Which she and she had really glowing work, you know, responses. So she had someone that was checking in with her. So she had documented evidence that she was doing a good job. And yes, there was a little bit of this gypsy Fritzy stuff in the background with Annoying Guy, but it wasn’t enough to create the momentum to be fired.

Gina [01:03:20] Well, we don’t think it was a we.

Nicola [01:03:22] We don’t think it’s enough, right, to be fired. It almost sounds like a repercussion of speaking up. And I think that’s what we should be focusing on.

Gina [01:03:34] That’s the toxicity and that’s the toxicity.

Nicola [01:03:37] Yeah, harassment. And I think we no time focusing on that.

Gina [01:03:41] I agree. I think the fact that I think it was two different things. I think it was her having spoken up and, you know, filing a grievance against this coworker and bringing it to H.R. and then also her and the new boss just didn’t seem to get along right away, which is the flimsiest of excuses, you know, because you and I talk about this all the time, we might not like someone like I have some vendors overseas who I can’t stand the way that they.

Nicola [01:04:20] Talk or.

Gina [01:04:21] Like how careless they can be. But at the end of the day, they do fabulous work. So I just I’m like, I’ll manage it. Yeah, I just let it go and you manage it. So I also don’t feel like that was a valid reason, just because, you know, they didn’t really maybe get on right away like that. They were only working together for from what I understood, like maybe two months max. Yeah.

Nicola [01:04:46] And it sounds like Captain Harry put if it in to get to know the new director as well. But it just sounds like the new director maybe had already a preconceived notion or some bias that we don’t understand. I think that’s really.

Gina [01:05:00] The toxicity the setting is. Yes. So it was the mishandling of the correct procedures in terms of the probation and then the new manager.

Nicola [01:05:11] Or.

Gina [01:05:12] She refers to it as the director, the new director coming in and.

Nicola [01:05:17] Already.

Gina [01:05:18] Knowing about the, you know, the labor action and the mediation with her coworker and possibly wanting to curate her own team.

Nicola [01:05:29] Yeah.

Gina [01:05:30] So those are the talk. Sick thing?

Nicola [01:05:33] Yes. Then I feel like. I feel like we’ve nailed that. And I think, you know, I don’t want to go and edit the episode to be focused on that mishandling because that’s now currently going through arbitration, right? Like we’re going through that process. But I wonder if how this has been sold is going to have the same effect on arbitration that it has had on us.

Gina [01:05:59] Yeah. Like left us with a little bit of a gray, like kind of head catcher.

Nicola [01:06:03] Where it’s like, I think that the arbitration itself needs to be more targeted at the lack of procedural kind of follow through for the probation and the firing.

Gina [01:06:14] Because if she had been if the probation hadn’t been extended, it would have been much more difficult to let her go. Maybe she yeah, maybe she could have, you know, changed apartments. I think the annoying coworker had already left by then so that, you know, Roadblock was out of the way. So, yeah, I mean, I think. I think we finally got to the bottom of it and where the toxicity actually lies for this story. So, yes, it is a toxic workplace story. I just think we got too bogged down in the annoying coworker.

Nicola [01:06:53] Yeah, I think so. And I think that’s where we where we where we essentially got tripped up, which is fine. Like it’s going to happen. There’s going to be a story where we’re going to and I and that’s why I would really like some feedback on this episode because I want to know if us kind of debriefing on an episode that confused us is something that our listeners actually want to hear as well. Like, do, do they want that? Do you listeners, are you interested in US debriefing?

Gina [01:07:23] Yeah, I mean, I think that. I think I actually think it would be really interesting to see how our audience reacts to this in general, because like we said in the very beginning, like most of our stories so far and our interviewees have been very straightforward, very black and white. Yes, this is like a fucked up workplace and it’s completely toxic.

Nicola [01:07:50] So yeah. So I’m let us know. Yeah, please let us know and please let us know and let us know when we post the episode. Let us know on the voice recordings.

Gina [01:08:04] Oh, my God. You’re too funny.

Nicola [01:08:06] Thank you. Anyway, that’s the end of my upside. Thank you. Hey.

Gina [01:08:11] Buddy, don’t forget to, like, unsubscribe.

Nicola [01:08:15] Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.

Gina [01:08:20] Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there is an interest in this topic.

Nicola [01:08:26] For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed captioning available on YouTube.

Gina [01:08:31] Next week, same time, same place.

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