Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
mick skinner
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Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby mick skinner » 21 Nov 2012, 5:50pm

When I used to commute to work on my bike, before I dropped out of the rat race and went to university, I got threats a couple of times from stroppy work colleagues in the from of things like; "I'm going to knock you off your bike on the way home from work", them being car drivers.

At the time I didn't have the self confidence to treat it as a serious threat and I would just laugh it off. But I've finished university and I'm looking for a job and I intent to ride to work. I fear it will happen again and if it does I know I should make a complaint to the manager as well as call the police about it.

In retrospect I realise bullying like this is why I lost enthusiasm for working for a living. But this is a real threat and, when you're riding along dark desserted country lanes or busy city streets or whatever, it can cause undue anxiety.

Has this happened to anyone else, how did you deal with it?

Sorry if this has already been discussed, I did do a search.

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gaz
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby gaz » 21 Nov 2012, 6:08pm

There is a similar thread running in the Tea Shop, viewtopic.php?f=15&t=70347

Easy to miss given the thread title.

Responses range from humorous retorts, through polite but firm explanations to those concerned as to why their "throw away jokey phrase" is threatening, to reporting to line management for disciplinary proceedings. Personally I'd start at the middle and work up, there's no point in a humorous retort if it only encourages more "friendly banter" :evil: .

You never know, someone in your new work place may even be supportive.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby [XAP]Bob » 21 Nov 2012, 6:40pm

Record it, play it back. If it doesn't stop then take it to management.

Then the police.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

eileithyia
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby eileithyia » 21 Nov 2012, 6:51pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Record it, play it back. If it doesn't stop then take it to management.

Then the police.



+1

Do not know what sort of places you work at bu thave never received such threats and have been commuting isnce early 80's and before cycling became more mainstream.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Elizabethsdad
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Elizabethsdad » 21 Nov 2012, 7:16pm

A while back I was overtaken by one of my colleagues on the way into work. It was on the road that leads to the main gate less than half a mile away and at the point they overtook me the road is an S bend so visibilty is restricted -hence I always take a wide line on the curves so I can see the road ahead better and be more visible to anyone behind me. It is also supposed to discourage someone trying to overtake on a bend like me colleague did - fortunately there wasn't a Clancy Docra van hammering it the other way as there quite often is. Later on that day my colleague in passing said 'You! You are not a car! Why didn't you pull over?" I asked him what part of overtaking on a blind bend he thought was such a good idea and he went quite after that. Generally though the people where are work are pretty good, they are impressed that I do a twenty mile round trip each day and I have had a few comments about not being that slow. If someone at work did start giving me a hard time I know that I could speak to my line manager about it.

DavidT
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby DavidT » 21 Nov 2012, 7:41pm

Companies are obliged by law to have arrangements to deal with disciplinary and grievance issues. Bullying and harrassment at work is not permitted, and organisations (and their management) are expected to prevent and deal with such issues. To that end many larger organisations will have more than reasonable arrangements in place, within Policies, staff Handbooks etc. So in the first instance, check out any local policies that may apply to your employment, and what your employer expects you to do in the case of such concerns.

That said, I've never had any personal abuse for being a cyclist. I once received some rather offensive remarks regarding the fact that I liked taking holidays in Germany (I'll let readers put 2 + 2 together what the comment may have been), but that was sorted with a poker face return and a comment that I objected to that remark, before quickly moving the conversation on. It was never an issue again and I still get on with that colleague on a friendly basis - he'd just made a misjudgement regarding his "humour", albeit one that I didn't want repeating. I often reflect that I handled it quite well, in front of a reasonable audience.

Grandad
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Grandad » 21 Nov 2012, 11:24pm

I commuted by bike for my whole 43 year working life. As the office junior it was quite acceptable but was after that seen as odd but acceptable.. For 26 years it was only 5 miles so apart from changing shoes in the office I looked quite normal arriving in a suit. The fact that I also raced was of interest and one colleague came to support me on a long place to place record.

I then moved to work a a residential training centre that was run to a 3 star hotel standard. Still only 5 miles from home but with changing facilities there was no objection to arriving in cycling dress, making possible a longer (up to 40 miles) ride home Initially this was still seen as unusual but the interesting thing was that during the final 10 years many of those who saw me coming and going expressed admiration and said it was something that they should be doing.

In the 17 years since retiring I have never got back to the routine of riding every day Monday to Friday and despite -until recently -audaxes and other long rides at weekends the annual mileages have been well down.

Milfred Cubicle
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Milfred Cubicle » 22 Nov 2012, 9:42pm

I've had a similar 'jest' made by a colleague. I quietly pointed out that at worst, she would get prosecuted for murder, manslaughter or death by dangerous driving. At best, she would end up with an expensive repair/sprayjob invoice, with very little likelihood of her insurance coughing up. She still didn't really get the point. So I asked her how many people she had killed in her life. I asked how she could be so flippant about death, if she was not a trained killer. I pointed out that road deaths are not carried out by trained killers, just normal people, on the way to work or the shops. Most of them never fully get over it, let alone forget it. You could see the penny drop, as she realised how her 'joke' might have jinxed her, and one day would come back to haunt her.
Dramatic, but effective.

Merry_Wanderer
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 25 Nov 2012, 11:21am

I've had a few silly remarks at work generally being related to commuting on a Brompton - these varies from laughter to derision. I either have a laugh or ask them how far they bike into work. However, If I was faced with Mick's colleague's comments I would say to the person that I find their comments highly offensive and if it is repeated that I would report it to my line manager. I work in the Civil Service and offensive comments are taken very seriously. Most employers these days do take workplace bullying seriously and as David said, have procedures in place to deal with it.

Please don't let cretins like this put you off commuting. They are few and far between and are not worth the time of day.

boris
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby boris » 26 Nov 2012, 10:28pm

if a threat like that was made to me i would write it down with time and place, witnesses names if possible , and keep a copy in a place where it would be found in the event of a disaster and tell him I have done so and probably tell his employer. If I was seriously impressed I would make a police statement of his threat to kill.
I have had threats like that at work(not from colleagues) and that is approximately what I did. When they accuse you of being a humourless ars...le I doubt that you will see anyone agree with any sincerity.

I was once plagued for a while by pornographic photos that my staff opened in the e-mails . In those days it was possible , with some ingenuity, to find out a lot about the sender, who got a message on his ansaphone at home and at work saying his employer was the next call followed by police. End of.
Of course , if the person making the threat is a proper homicidal psychopath this stuff may not work , but such people are usually easily recognised as such by the extensive prison tattoos.

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simonineaston
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby simonineaston » 26 Nov 2012, 10:41pm

Well, I must say I'm amazed! As a regular cycle commuter, for decades I've had my fair share of dumb-ass wisecracks come in my direction but never, ever, a serious threat, not even in jest... I've worked in all sorts of jobs, mainly public/voluntary sector, so maybe my work colleagues haven't been the types. You all have my sympathy - but they can't mean it - can they?!
byyeee,
SiE

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Redvee
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Redvee » 26 Nov 2012, 11:32pm

I've started work at a brand new site and had a few comments from other 'colleagues' but only related to my wearing of lycra on a 'curvy' figure. when I asked one if he had the confidence to wear lycra he went quiet very quickly.

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fatgirlonabicycle
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby fatgirlonabicycle » 27 Nov 2012, 2:00pm

I think there's a difference between a genuine threat, an ignorant comment and a bad joke - but this difference is definitely not clearly defined.

My issue from the other thread is that my colleague is definitely in the 'bad joke' category, which is why I popped it in Tea Shop as a general moan. He seems to have given up making the "jokes", which is lucky, since my workplace has absolutely no infrastructure if I wanted to make a formal complaint about it. Le sigh.

reohn2
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby reohn2 » 27 Nov 2012, 4:50pm

Milfred Cubicle wrote:I've had a similar 'jest' made by a colleague. I quietly pointed out that at worst, she would get prosecuted for murder, manslaughter or death by dangerous driving. At best, she would end up with an expensive repair/sprayjob invoice, with very little likelihood of her insurance coughing up. She still didn't really get the point. So I asked her how many people she had killed in her life. I asked how she could be so flippant about death, if she was not a trained killer. I pointed out that road deaths are not carried out by trained killers, just normal people, on the way to work or the shops. Most of them never fully get over it, let alone forget it. You could see the penny drop, as she realised how her 'joke' might have jinxed her, and one day would come back to haunt her.
Dramatic, but effective.

Well done!
That would have the desired effect,effectively! :)
-----------------------------------------------------------

Gearoidmuar
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Re: Dealing with threats from work colleagues

Postby Gearoidmuar » 28 Nov 2012, 10:43am

This type of remark is what is called sniping by psychologists. I had a problem with a sniper on a committee I sat on years ago and I sought help in Waterstones where I bought a book called How to deal with people you can't stand or a similar name. What you do, especially in company is say.. You said x, repeating the snipe. Next you say, I don't find that funny. Then look around the room and ask.. Does anyone else find that funny? I can tell you they don't say it again. I did it once to the lady chairman of a committee and she went pure white and apologised deeply for her remark.