Saturday, August 16, 2008


I know this is supposed to be a knitting blog. Well, primarily a knitting blog.

But today's post isn't about knitting. Not even related.

It's about bullies. You know who they are -- the little kids in the sandbox who won't let you play with their shovel. The kid who takes every yellow dump truck so that no one else can play with them.

When they grow older, they are the ones who push the little kids off the swings so they can swing. Push themselves to the front of the line so that they get to go down the slide without waiting.

In high school, they are the ones who decide who is "cool" and who is not. They decide who gets pushed into the lockers, locked into the lockers, laughed at, jeered at, and/or ignored.

Sad to say, bullies don't magically outgrow their need to bully when graduation happens. No, folks, they continue on into the adult world.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, they end up in positions with so little power that they end up in the corner by themselves, sulking. If you aren't lucky, they end up in an office where they manipulate, lie, and twist themselves into a sort of power.

If you are really unlucky, they end up owning businesses. Making life for some hapless employee hell.

Being who I am, I've had my fair share of bully experiences. I don't see myself as someone who doesn't take crap from anyone. Others may have a different view of me--but I can only speak of my personal view. And I don't stand up for myself very well. Or for those I love.

I've tried to teach my children to treat others kindly, be respectful of others, of authority. Mayhaps I did too fine a job with my daughter.

You see, she's been working for a couple of years for someone who in my opinion is a bully. For most of the time, his boorishness has been directed at others. She thought things were pretty good in the workplace, that they understood each other and things were cool.

Unfortunately, she was incorrect in this belief. She ended up looking for and acquiring a new job. His parting shot? Because he could (because he employs teens who have little recourse and even less respect from the powers that be), he has withheld her last paycheque. In violation of the Labour Standards Act, and every shred of moral decency.

You may be wondering the point of this post. I am too, quite frankly.

I wish that I had encouraged her to quit months ago when I became aware of the lengths to which this guy would go to make himself feel better by bullying his employees, both past and present.

I wish that I knew how to be a more effective advocate for the disenfranchised ... both in relation to this employer and to the world as a whole.

I wish I knew how to make certain that my babies (all four of them) never had to stand by impotently when some arrogant jerk laughs at them and refuses to release their paycheques.

That just isn't right.


Michelle said...

I'm sorry to hear your daughter is dealing with an arse. She does have recourse, though. Tell her to file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Board. It's a long process but it does eventually work. This is her way of getting back at the "bully" and making sure he doesn't treat his employees disrespectfully.

Good luck!

Jacqui said...

I agree, I think teens are often taken advantage of by employers. I'm sorry your daughter is going through this.

I second Michelle's suggestion to file a complaint. Also, I'm wondering what type of business it is. Another strategy could be to picket the establishment and hopefully draw a little media attention. Not an easy thing to do, I know, it will take a lot of guts. But it could embarass him into doing the right thing.

Irene said...

I like the picket idea. Also ( since I know of whom you speak) a boycott would work to point out the error of his ways. Nothing brings a bully to heel like a hit in the wallet!

Betsy said...

I'm terribly sorry Carrie has been put in this position. However, I'm a firm believer in the "what goes around, comes around" theory.

Some people, unfortunately, are deficient in the moral fiber department and sounds like this guy is one of them. Don't let this guy get you down - that's what he excels at and probably thrives on.

Just become his biggest advertisement vehicle. Words are mightier than the sword.