Migrant Tales – “I was a good Probation Officer. And now I’m nothing. This is the face of workplace bullying”.

“The following is a true and unedited tragic story that encapsulates workplace bullying and serious impact it has on someone’s mental health.

Everything about this story is real to the author and I’ve met her a number of times and she is an intelligent articulate woman.

Followers of this page will know that CultureSafe NZ Ltd finds workplace bullying abhorrent and we are fearful of New Zealand’s reputation as a country of choice for immigrants with much needed skills. Our abysmal record of having the 2nd highest incidence of workplace bullying in the western world is embarrassing. Stories like the one below are extremely damaging.

“I did it. It took a year, but I did it. One page. One page and a thousand thousand tears.

7 June 2016

“To Whom It May Concern:

It has taken me so long to write this.

In 2008 I was hired from the United States to work as a Probation Officer for the New Zealand Department of Community Probation. I began in Hamilton where I worked for five years in what are rumoured to be some of the highest stress offices in the department. At that time I was ambitious and eager to advance my new career. I was promised the opportunity to develop and expand if I took a position in Blenheim.

We had never been South of Wellington. Blenheim was an entirely new place. We assumed we would fit in and make friends easily, as we had in Hamilton. However, as detailed in the first grievance, workplace bullying began immediately. Because we were in such a small town, every aspect of our lives was affected. It was quite clear that the issues inside my office had somehow seeped into the surrounding community. Our daughter was socially isolated. My husband, John, found it difficult to obtain decent employment and was mistreated at the job he did manage to get. We were unable to obtain decent housing.

During and after my hospitalisation in Feb 2012, even the local DHB failed in its duty of care. I was recognised during my five days in the Nelson mental hospital after staff failed to take requested steps to protect my confidentiality. Throughout my outpatient experience, I continued to be misdiagnosed and undertreated. I do not know if this was due to incompetence by the Marlborough DHB staff or due to my pariah status in the community.

I was medically discharged from Community Probation after a protracted conflict. I refused to sign a confidentiality form, despite intense pressure from my Area Manager and even my union. My 18 page grievance appears to have been ignored by the Department.

We returned to Hamilton. Our financial situation was so dire due to the loss of my employment that we had difficulty finding housing. We enlisted the grudging help of WINZ, something I never dreamed of doing when we first emigrated. We are still paying that debt as well as debt to our bank – a personal loan I obtained in order to finance our original move to Blenheim is still outstanding.

At this time we continue to be WINZ clients due to the complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which was finally diagnosed by Waikato DHB Mental Health. We have no savings to speak of. My continuing symptoms are a terrible personal and social stigma and burden on myself and on my family.

This was not the dream I envisioned when I came to New Zealand. I came here to be a public servant. I came here to use my considerable skills in Human Services to support the safety of the public in this country. I did not come here to rot at home, partially dependent on government handouts, afraid to interact with most people.

I was a good Probation Officer. And now I’m nothing. This is the face of workplace bullying”.

Source: “https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=546347948883025&id=238970829620740”

The above content was left as a comment here.

For more in the Migrant Tales series click here.

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