Workplace Physical abuse at work

lucywife

O.G.
Sep 14, 2006
4,798
349
Did it ever happen to anyone? I'm really frustrated and don't know how to react. :huh:
I work for Fed.Gov-t in "supposedly professional" office environment, but there is one co-worker, I guess that's her way of sort of interracting. She did hit me pretty hard twice ( shoulder and back) and it looked like it was in a joking kind of way, but she doesn't do it to anyone else btw. Only to me. Both times there was a witness, same guy who was talking to me when she approached and decided to join the coversation in that manner.
She's older with grown-up kids and I'm relatively young (well, comparing to her) and new in my office.
What would you advise? Run to my supervisor or file an official complain or just avoid the idiot?
I don't really care when people saying stupid things/comments because I can easily ignore it, but touching let alone hitting someone, I don't think it's normal at all. Then more I think about it, then more it upsets me.
I forgot when anyone ever hurt me physically. Until now.
 

bnjj

Jovi Junkie
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Apr 20, 2007
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Bon Jovi Blvd.
I would not make a formal complaint until she is told directly that I no longer want her to slap me like that on the back or whatever. I would tell her twice and if she then continued, I'd make a complaint.
 

lorihmatthews

A taste for the arts
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Oct 7, 2006
31,726
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San Francisco
If she's older, she might have kids your age and might interact with them in that way, you never know. She obviously has no idea that she's hurt you physically and that it bothers you. I don't think you can really call this physical abuse because it's not intentional.

I agree with bnjj, you need to tell her that while you appreciate her friendliness, she doesn't know her own strength and you'd feel more comfortable if she didn't engage you physically.
 
Mar 14, 2006
5,519
848
the lowcountry
I would not make a formal complaint until she is told directly that I no longer want her to slap me like that on the back or whatever. I would tell her twice and if she then continued, I'd make a complaint.
exactly. I bet this woman has no clue that she's hurting you or being inappropriate.

how awful for you, I hope the situation improves.
 

babevivtan

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May 30, 2007
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Sunny Island
She probably does not know how strong she really is. Just tell her that hurts. I have had this happen to me before. My frens did not mean to 'hit' me.
 

TXGirlie

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Jul 21, 2008
19,495
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North Texas
Just tell her not to touch you. She shouldn't be anyway! To be fair, you do have to tell her that you don't want to be touched, and if she does it again then you're justified in filing a complaint.
 

Odette

<3 life
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Aug 20, 2007
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www.twitter.com
If she does it again, I'd actually say, "ouch, you're hurting me." That should put an end to it and make her feel awkward/sorry enough to stop.
 

ninja_please

Member
Feb 23, 2010
653
0
San Francisco
I was in a similar situation. I was new too, and one of my co-workers would grab me by the arm to get my attention. She wasn't rough and she never hurt me, but I didn't like her touching me. I wasn't comfortable telling her to stop because I saw that she didn't react kindly to any sort of criticism. So when she grabbed my arm in front of others, I would yell out "ouch!" She would make fun of me for being so sensitive, and I would just say something like, "I guess, but you pinched me pretty hard!" I kept on doing that in front of other people, and soon my co-workers would give her this look that said, "What the heck are you doing?" (and it probably helped that she's not well liked) and that got her to stop grabbing my arm. OP, maybe you should try something like this?
 

babypie

Member
Jun 3, 2007
18,914
2
I bet she has no idea she's hurting you. Next time you see her coming duck and jokingly clutch your shoulder and say "I'm still healing from last time we spoke" or something like that.
 

lucywife

O.G.
Sep 14, 2006
4,798
349
Next time you see her coming duck and jokingly clutch your shoulder and say "I'm still healing from last time we spoke" or something like that.
This is actually very close to reality. Last time she "greeted" me, I went flying to the corner of the room, I didn't see her coming and didn't expect it.

babevivtan
TXGirlie
Odette
ninja_please
babypie
Thank you for all your advices, most of the time it's difficult to see the situation clearly when you're in it..
 

cats n bags

Stinky's Mum
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Jun 24, 2008
2,148
188
This is actually very close to reality. Last time she "greeted" me, I went flying to the corner of the room, I didn't see her coming and didn't expect it.
What you are describing is a bully, and it needs to stop. NOW.

If you can manage it, the next time this happens, you need to speak up in your best growly voice and tell her not to touch you ever again.

You are probably due for mid-year performance reviews, and that would be the perfect time to discuss this with your supervisor. Since reviews are usually done privately and face to face, it won't look like you are running to the boss to tattle on her. You need to let them know even if you warn the bully yourself.

Your agency should have No Fear Act training from time to time, and have given you guidance on reporting this type of behavior. Your EEO counselor should also be able to help you with the situation.

If the bully is hitting you hard enough to knock you off balance, she isn't funnin' and needs to be dealt with by management. It will be uncomfortable for a while, but putting management on notice puts them in a position where they can't pretend it doesn't exist.