A former state employee says “you don’t believe workplace bullying exists until it happens to you”

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I was a 33-year Commonwealth employee who was bullied and driven to suicidal ideation, panic attacks, and gastric problems. I would grind my teeth in stressful situations and cracked a molar. I spent a night in the hospital for stress-associated illness. I was prescribed anti anxiety and anti depressive meds and had a gastric ulcer. I spent time sobbing in the ladies room. I nearly was killed on the highway after taking too many anxiety meds prescribed to me because I just couldn’t take the stress.

I wrote a book, published in 2015, related to my work. The new administration where I worked warned me not to write the book after previous administration gave me permission.

I was harassed with letters from my agency’s lawyers sent to my house, threatened with termination, and had disciplinary letters placed in my file containing statements that weren’t true. Every day I suffered some form of bullying and gaslighting. I incurred an industrial accident that was documented but not acknowledged.

Hearing impaired, I filed complaints with MCAD. My well-documented case was thrown out. I was an exemplary employee up until the administrative change in 2013 (also documented).

I am an author and have published five books, one in the academic genre and several journal articles.

I was able to get into another agency, as I had certification as a peer counselor, which saved my life. I was highly regarded in the new agency as I was in the previous agency prior to the administrative change. I was an exemplary employee who always overachieved. I designed and developed innovative programs that were on the cutting edge.

When I went to my new agency, my state employee file was mysteriously “lost.” It was difficult to get my seniority from my previous agency transferred to my new one, and I was nearly laid off during a privatization of my worksite. With my seniority, I was able to transfer to a hospital, where I was highly regarded and was up for promotion. My file was eventually located — in my previous agency — although they stated to my new agency that they did not previously have it. Files just don’t get lost in Boston.

I retired in January 2018. My 35+ year career as a state employee included positions such as program director, public relations, building manager, volunteer coordinator, and counselor.

During all of the bullying, I was awarded an honor from the House of Representatives for “hard work and dedication to public service.”

I was nearly a casualty. You don’t believe it can happen until it happens to you.

Please, for God’s sake, stop the bullying.


Share your workplace bullying story. Email to info@mahealthyworkplace.com in one page along with an optional photo:

Where did you work and what did you do?
How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
How did you feel?
How did it escalate?
How did your employer react (or not react)?
What was the impact on you?
What was the impact on the organization?
Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?
What advice do you have for others going through bullying at work?

One comment

  1. Dee

    I worked for the state for a half summer. Was constantly cleaning bathrooms in the park complex all day. I think we had like 14 bathrooms and showers total. Was already dealing with PTSD and depression. (Combative and Non Combative). Was constantly called into the office for “talks” with the manager. They didn’t help much. One day I was getting ready to go off shift, I had run into a problem so there was like one bathroom I did not get to finish. I was just getting ready to fill the truck with gas for the next guy, when I heard him outside. He was complaining “loudly” that there was no gas in the truck. Also complained there was a bathroom not done, and a garbage bin not emptied. He exclaimed “If nothing gets done then what the FUCK does she do all day?” Needless to say, this was the breaking point. I lay awake all that night thinking about it and almost crying. With no sleep, I started off to work the next day. Work was a half hour drive from my house. Along the way there was a bridge. I stopped, parked my car in a nearby lot, and walked up the bridge frame and jumped. It was by pure luck that we had had heavy rains for a few days before, the water was a lot deeper than normal. That saved my life. I went downstream bout a half mile, made it to shore, walked back to the vehicle and drove to the hospital. I was in a Mental Facility for a bit after that. I left my job immediately after getting out. The only one who knew I had attempted suicide was the manager. And that was because I told him why I was leaving. I did NOT tell him about that employee, or of what the final straw was. I learned a few years later that women who get hired as semi skilled laborers in the state are usually given the “Cleaning” or woman type jobs. Not supposed to be discrimination, but there is. I was trained as a Mechanic. I worked on military planes and ground equipment. I was having enough trouble keeping my own house clean with the PTSD and Depression I was already dealing with. Side note: Tis was about five or six years ago. I am a lot better now, off nine of the ten meds that I was on at that time. Sometimes over medication worsens the problem, not helps.

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