Unfair Treatment at Work

Hello all. I haven’t posted in a couple of years, I think.

I suffer from Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

In 2016 I was hospitalized 7 times for suicide attempts. I was committed by a judge to a state hospital for two months at the end of my stays.

I managed to land a job four hours away as a .NET developer in March of 2017.

The people seemed so great there up until I got engaged in April of this year. My fiance is two years older than me and has the same illnesses as me plus PTSD.

She is finishing up high school at Penn Foster, online. She is on food stamps, disability, and Medicaid.

About a month ago, I brought her to the office with me after my eye doctor appointment. Everyone was very cold towards her. They know all about her from me.

Her license is suspended due to a lot of outstanding tickets and fines. We have no family or friends here. So when she has an appointment, I have to use my sick time.

Wednesday of this week, my lead plopped a sheet of graph paper on my desk with a crude drawing of a UI for a new piece we are adding to the application.

He then requested that I make a functional mock-up. In my experience, a mock-up is non-functional and just shows how the UI is going to look and feel. He gave me two hours.

This piece required me to manually create a modal pop-up with a textbox, a search button, two tables, and a label that displayed a percentage met.

Functionally, the user enters a search term and clicks search. The top table populates. The leftmost column allows them to select the product and it then gets added to the table at the bottom of the pop-up. Once they are done, they click OK and an ID is generated from a web service call.

With each action I am calling a web service. I had to manually populate two tables client side in plain old JavaScript. That is tedious to write and can be a pain.

Not only that, I had to wire up the events and other aspects.

Anyway, I almost had what he was wanting in those two hours. I had to take out the bottom table.

We had a meeting with our PM the next morning via conference call. The PM said that he was fine deploying it to our customers on December 10.

However,y lead put me on the spot and asked if I thought I could have it ready this past Friday or sometime Monday. I said I could have it ready Monday.

After the meeting, my lead sends me an email with a screenshot of my mock-up with changes he wanted. There were significant changes.

In the email, he told me to have done by the end of the day on Friday. So, I began work on the piece…

As I did, I noticed I had a ton more things to do on it. That’s why I estimated Monday.

During that day, I had “writer’s block” and needed to take a break. I get along well with our IT guy that sits behind me. So, as a way to distract myself for a bit, I had a conversation with him.

During the conversation, my lead came over and asked where I was on it and if I had any questions. Obviously, that was his way of telling me to get back to work. So I told him, but I could he felt uncomfortable. He left and I resumed work on the piece.

I arrived at work 30 minutes early, ready to complete this task. At around 11, I sent him an update. He replied, questioning why I was doing things the way I was. I replied and defended my approach. I wound up having to do it his way.

That required me to rewrite a substantial amount of code, which set me back.

At around 3 yesterday, I was on the cusp of being done, but I ran into yet another roadblock with that web service. I worked more on it, but got nowhere. So, since my lead offered to help, I sent him an email about my roadblock.

In the meantime, I tackled another subtask, which was fairly simple.

At 4:50 he came over and asked where I was on it and if I figured out that section I was stuck on. After that email, I hadn’t looked at it. So, we basically figure it out.

He requested I do three additional things before passing it off to QA.

At 5, when everyone was gone, he let me know that I missed the deadline because I was talking to my work friend too long.

I told him I had tabs on how long I was talking and I had a game plan for completing it on time. Unforseen things happened that set me back.

We talked for an hour. During that conversation, I decided it may help shed light on things if he knew about my illnesses. Everyone else there knows anyway.

He did not care. He had no sympathy. He just said that that doesn’t matter and to get the work done. By the way, I have an awesome track record there and I am liked by many people. So, I felt his comments were out of line.

I offered to give him links so he could better understand. He didn’t want that.

He also said that my performance is dropping because I’m taking my fiance to so many appointments. That is completely untrue.

At the end, he came very very close to telling me I should break up with her.

We both left at 6. I was angry, sad, and confused. This is the first time he acted “authoritarian” with me. It was odd.

So that’s the end of my craziness. I hope someone has some sort of feedback on this.


So true, people often are afraid to admit to their own ignorance… As if his attempts to reserve a so called deniability and actually not knowing absolves them for the actual responsibility and accountability.

I am not a trained professional, just someone who had a lot of experience with disability services related incidents as a student in Canada and the US. And so, I hope this can help you brainstorm next steps.

I personally say it is your right to want to inform him, his right to choose to become informed, and so it helps to have it on record, that the person was given the opportunity to become informed, and they opted to act under faulty presumptions.

Here I’d recommend considering things like:

  • A simple email like “following up on what I confidentially disclosed today, here are some links… etc.” but that can be undesirable in poisnous organizations where it can be misappropriated illegally, where it is often hard to come out on the right side of such disputes.

  • A pro-forma HR notice, this might not yet be implemented in some organizations but it does not hurt to approach HR directly to discuss it privately. However, if they need to workout the mechanics, make sure they first do so with full anonymity (ie never mention you even in private emails) and to instead give verbal notice pending a formal one (ie it is legally binding) that they will deliver once they have the protocol in place.

Once they are informed, then crossing the line because they chose to remain in denial of their responsibilities does not absolve them from being accountable.

What constitutes as crossing the line or not is something I hesitate to address myself, because I have no workplace experience to reflect on there.

But what clearly is crossing the line irrespective of special circumstances:

  • Someone in a position of authority asking about relationships and/or other personal matters, when it is on-the-clock and/or done in an authoritative capacity, which is the case with them giving you advise or opinions and how they are using them as criteria for judgement about your performance (big no).

  • Someone in a position of authority failing to recognize disclosure of circumstances related to deliverables, when it is dismissive and/or done in an authoritative capacity, which is the case with them not addressing your disclosure separately from the deliverables in question, either before or after finishing, where they would properly address taking notice, and figuring out how they can fulfill their legal obligations.

Does that help?

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It does. Thank you so much. I’ve mulled this over with my fiance and my friends and family. I also have taken a lot of time to reflect.

I believe my dev lead is becoming a toxic manager. I have been a .NET developer since 2007 and have done some really great things in my career.

He has been at that same company for 20 years and was just given a lead role when I hired on in 2017.

So I don’t know, maybe there’s some sort of animosity between us. The whole office (20 people) know my mental illnesses. I’m an open book.

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