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Challenging a Workplace Bully - HR Issue

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  • Challenging a Workplace Bully - HR Issue

    I won't go into specifics but has anybody on here ever had to officially challenge unacceptable workplace behavior on a ship?

    One of the Senior Officers on a ship I've worked on has been harassing the crew and other Officers (including the Master).

    Some specifics of the behavior involves:

    - Constantly belittling other crew members (in private and public scenarios).
    - Scheming to have the Vessels Master removed (who they have a particular hatred of for reasons unknown).
    - Has been subject of a prior investigation, after which I believe they just managed to avoid dismissal.
    - Is impossible to deal with on a day to day basis, and prone to 'explode' if challenged.
    - Is a 'smart ass' character with whom you cannot hold a normal reasonable conversation.
    - Likes to boast of his 'contacts' in the office and union, essentially presenting the view he is a protected species and untouchable.
    - Master appears to be worn down to the point in which he doesn't know what to do, probably since the outcome of the last investigation did not result in his removal.
    - I believe even shore side management are reluctant to deal with this individual as he is so poisonous.

    If formally challenged it is likely the individual will go 'crazy' and fight this to the bitter end (they are inclined that way I believe).

    I have spoken to many other crew members and they are reluctant to 'rock the boat' as I believe they feel intimidated by the individual and what may happen if they appear to be challenging his behavior, especially if nobody else supports their assertions.

    Although I'm not an expert I believe the individual shows signs of mild Paranoid Personality Disorder, already of the belief that people are now out to get him since his last investigation.

    How would you deal with above situation?

  • #2
    Never experienced anything like the above but first thoughts would be to start keeping a record of everything in writing and seek professional advice either through the union or a body like citizens advice. I'm sure you can do this anonymously at first if necessary.

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    • #3
      Is he a Scottish Chief Engineer by any chance?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Guest View Post
        Is he a Scottish Chief Engineer by any chance?
        This.

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        • #5
          Definitely one for the union to help you out with, if you’re not a member join now and act in a couple of months. You could even join the RMT union, many ratings are part of that union and I understand officers are welcome and this would remove the fear that the officer in question is connected high up in (I presume) Nautilus.

          Once you’re ready maybe create an anonymous email address on shore leave and email your DPA and union rep after ringing the union for advice of course. Ask a few friends onboard if they’re willing to join your anonymous cause and come forwards if/when it looks like the union and company are seriously going to try and sack him. Sounds like the master would be a good ally in the whole thing, which I’m sure adds weight to the discussion on your side.

          It is a really tricky situation, and sounds like one which requires very light treading despite it needing definite action before people suffer too much. The union sounds like a must have here, to protect yourself more than anything.

          I know the advice is a bit generic but best of luck, feel free to let us know any developments so someone can maybe offer better advice.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Guest View Post

            This.
            So now I can assume we are talking about the same person.... probably

            The only thing I can really suggest is documenting on a daily basis what's going happening on board, email it to the DPA and cc whoever is currently head of personnel. There's little or no point getting the union involved, with so few brits working for this company now, they won't be interested.

            Unfortunately he survived the last investigation, mainly because the office didn't get the full story but also probably because the company knew that they were about to drop a bombshell regarding pay and contracts and had to hold on to whoever they already had so they could continue to man the ships.

            He will continue to ruin people's careers, destroy their confidence and dread that they will meet him again on another ship. Fortunately, I had the balls to stand up to him twice and I never had any hassle from him again.

            By the way, I've heard him speak to his wife on the phone, he speaks to her like **** as well, it's not just us.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Guest View Post

              So now I can assume we are talking about the same person.... probably

              The only thing I can really suggest is documenting on a daily basis what's going happening on board, email it to the DPA and cc whoever is currently head of personnel. There's little or no point getting the union involved, with so few brits working for this company now, they won't be interested.

              Unfortunately he survived the last investigation, mainly because the office didn't get the full story but also probably because the company knew that they were about to drop a bombshell regarding pay and contracts and had to hold on to whoever they already had so they could continue to man the ships.

              He will continue to ruin people's careers, destroy their confidence and dread that they will meet him again on another ship. Fortunately, I had the balls to stand up to him twice and I never had any hassle from him again.

              By the way, I've heard him speak to his wife on the phone, he speaks to her like **** as well, it's not just us.
              I’m not the original poster but what he and you have described fills every box of someone who I had the displeasure of working with quite some time ago, not for long fortunately.

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              • #8
                I’ve been one of two Brits onboard (crew size ~50, mostly Eastern European) and the union still cared about us, so I’d disagree on not getting them involved basing the fact on them potentially disregarding you. If you’re a member they will fight for you and with you if you get them involved, if you’re a member and don’t inform them then all they’ll be doing is helping repatriate you if it goes tits up, if you’re not a member then pray this a**hole isn’t well connected and ready to screw you up the moment his pals in the office are made aware.

                Sounds like this guy is infamous and needs to be taken out. Maybe one of you should anonymously shame him on your company’s social media if it exists... at least the company then has no choice but to start questioning crew about him.

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                • #9
                  Well folks time for an update...................

                  Shipowners people came on the ship, full blown investigation into 'Health, Safety and Wellbeing' of all crew members, end result is the guy was forcibly signed off and walked down the gangway in disgrace.

                  Don't think things like this happen very often?! All people on board were interviewed in private and asked the same questions and this is the end result.

                  I don't normally have much time for the 'office', but I must admit this time around I am impressed by the prompt and the decisive action taken. Can't imagine the guy will be coming back. Seems like their may be some justice in the world after all.

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                  • #10
                    Good news! What prompted this? Did you or someone else report it again or was it a result of an ongoing investigation? Keep us updated with what happens...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EH75 View Post
                      Good news! What prompted this? Did you or someone else report it again or was it a result of an ongoing investigation? Keep us updated with what happens...
                      Nobody knows what prompted it, company just turned up out of the blue, said they had 'received information' from undisclosed source, and were going to do a thorough investigation into on board welfare.

                      From what I understand everybody was sat down and asked same 6 questions confidentially..................and result was this guy getting signed off!

                      As I said, don't believe it is news to the company as they have had similar issues before with mentioned individual (from what I have heard).

                      Seems to be quite a few unpleasant characters at sea...............now there is one less!
                      .

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