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  #41  
Old 20.07.2007, 15:41
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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No it's not

We are talking about general use of the word in English speaking countries, not some webpage or academic text which has picked the term up from a Swedish psychologist. As many with long experience in organisations large and small have said, harrasment or bullying are the terms associated with situation in English speaking countries. I even asked some HR type friends back in Australia and they were completely unaware of the term "mobbing" in this context.

Personally I've only heard it used here in Switzerland, and so many times, I would be under the impression that the main activity in the Swiss workplace is bullying.
Ok, it's not used in that context but I guess it could be used, otherwise they would have written a book about it... in "american-english"? ;-)

BTW when I say it's an international word and used worldwide I don't think I'm totally wrong. It is used not only in Germany as somebody here would like to point out, but also in Italy, Spain (http://www.unizar.es/gine/MB/fases.htm) and I guess also in France (http://membres.lycos.fr/harcelement/).

So maybe only the english have been taken apart from the use of a word which sounds obvious enough as english.. pretty strange huh..
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  #42  
Old 20.01.2008, 18:19
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I was going to post this as a thread on its own but then I realized it does fit nicely under mobbing.

My boss has his days when he curses his co-workers, especially when we are alone. He also throws indirect insults towards people who are working for him. People who have been working with me have been afraid of him and almost never responded back. He also asks employees to do things which are not written in their contracts. He insists that people cancel their doctor appointments and asks them not to take breaks and straight 8-10 hours. He hardly lets people take vacation.
All the of the people I was working with have resigned. Two people including myself and my boss have relocated in Switzerland. After we moved to Switzerland my boss has asked us to do things that are not written in our contracts. The colleague who came to Switzerland with us has also resigned. I'll give you an example of my what my boss demands. He said we have no right to be sick without a doctor's note for a single day. As far as Swiss law is concerned, I think one can be sick for two or three days without brining a doctor's note. My boss also asked this lawyer guy in our firm to email me about this topic in a rather bullying language. I was sick for three days without a doctor's note and I was told by our HR that I can be sick for three days without a doctor's note. Now they are asking me to bring a doctor's note for those three days. I have told them that the procedure is that I have to bring a note for sickness that lasts more than three days. There is nothing written about that in my contract. I have told them they can't do anything to enforce something that is not written down and they said they could. Can employers in Switzerland make up work conditions as they go along?

My boss also does the same work as his co-workers but he almost always tells everyone that he did get the work done on that day but leaves the work for the person who was sick or on vacation for him to do when he is back. It's like he punishes his coworkers for being sick or taking vacation. When you are doing the same job, and you make a mistake or leave work undone he makes a big case out of it.

My boss also told me that he will terminate my contract if I get accepted to the local Masters program at ETH Zurich.

I also haven't gotten my salary raise as it was promised. When I have asked for it I was given this letter that it won't happen but I was promised a bonus. However in the letter it said that the bonus won't be paid out if I resign before a certain date.

The work is unbearable now cause all our coworkers have resigned and my boss pretends to do work but he actually does not. I had to cancel many personal appointments because of work. I had really important appointments such as going to the Einwohnermeldeamt and I again got a bullying email from the company lawyer telling me I should arrange these appoinments after work. The Amts in Switzerland are open from 8-16:00, I work from 8-18:00. Wtf? When the hell am I supposed to go my appointments?!?? My boss also doesn't want me to take the day off, and he leaves me extra work to top it off.

So this leaves me with no option but resign. I might write a book with the title "My personal mobber: My boss"
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  #43  
Old 21.01.2008, 18:54
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

This week something very strange happened to my: I was mobbed during a job interview...
I was invited for the interview, got there, wasn't offered a drink and my feeble attempts at small talk were ignored. The bloke who was going to be my direct boss told me that I am not at all what they are looking for. I thought wtf, should I just go home? Still went through the motions of explaining why I am actually exactly what he is looking for and so on... He then kept flicking through some sort of handbook telling me irrelevant things such as how to fill in forms for travel expenses etc. (job would not need travelling from my side). Finally he sighed and said, well ok, I could give you a 3 months contract until I find somebody better, then corrected himself and said maybe they would offer me a permanent contract after the temporary one, or maybe they would even change the whole job profile so that they would have to employ somebody else altogether.
Needless to say I politely declined the job offer... ranting finished, thanks for reading.
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  #44  
Old 03.03.2008, 23:07
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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My experience has not been of harassment in the personal sense - they would have to get up pretty early in the morning to get one up on me in that way - but more having bosses that don't listen to concerns or issues around their area of responsibility and more importantly do not make decisions that are key to progress.

I have worked on several projects where no one really knew who was calling the shots. This adds to the stress of the individual and serves to demotivate. Then when the deadline hits and issues surface, the witch-hunt starts.

If you are young, inexperienced or submissive it can put a huge strain on you.

As an aside, I did one assignment recently, where during the whole six months, I was not asked my opinion once by the project manager. MAybe he was unwilling to show weakness ? It was really bizarre. That didn't stop me voicing it of course

dave
Its refreshing to hear other people have gone through this!

To add: If you are young, experienced, assertive and you get paid more than your boss its even worse!

Don't react and don't ever believe that if your boss takes his stress out on you, then tries to make it up to you by kissing up to you the next day its ever going to get any better. When he offers you a renewal - don't be a slave to the money; get out and get another job!
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  #45  
Old 04.03.2008, 08:23
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I experienced something similar in a big bank with a 3 letter acronym (duh), where the little troll who was my boss' right hand woman would do everything in her power to withhold information from me, and would refuse to transfer her knowledge so I could do my job properly... apparantly the fact that I learn very quick was a threat to her. It would even get so far as to setting up people against me, and trying to publicly humiliate me. After confronting my boss' boss to formally complain, the behaviour changed...for a few weeks, then it was the same crap all over again. I told them to take their job and shove it, and am now working happily in a group where my talents are appreciated. Sad thing is I heard she recently was promoted, (serious, WTF?!) no wonder that bank has lost 60% share value in the past year, they only let idiots into management.
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Old 04.03.2008, 16:34
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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I experienced something similar in a big bank with a 3 letter acronym (duh), where the little troll who was my boss' right hand woman would do everything in her power to withhold information from me, and would refuse to transfer her knowledge so I could do my job properly... apparantly the fact that I learn very quick was a threat to her. It would even get so far as to setting up people against me, and trying to publicly humiliate me. After confronting my boss' boss to formally complain, the behaviour changed...for a few weeks, then it was the same crap all over again. I told them to take their job and shove it, and am now working happily in a group where my talents are appreciated. Sad thing is I heard she recently was promoted, (serious, WTF?!) no wonder that bank has lost 60% share value in the past year, they only let idiots into management.
Wonder how often this game happens amongst internals?

Its a great way to move up the corporate ladder - irk someone to get a reaction, then make a big deal and play the "company man" doing the right thing angle...

Easy money. A lot easier than avoiding problems in the first place.

Don't ever buy into it - how would you feel knowing you gave some dude a leg up at the expense of your back?
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  #47  
Old 04.03.2008, 19:13
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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Wonder how often this game happens amongst internals?

Its a great way to move up the corporate ladder - irk someone to get a reaction, then make a big deal and play the "company man" doing the right thing angle...

Easy money. A lot easier than avoiding problems in the first place.

Don't ever buy into it - how would you feel knowing you gave some dude a leg up at the expense of your back?
Nice avatar. Regrettably some people can only get up the corporate ladder via guile, deceit, asslicking and backstabbing... and at UBS (that's who we're talking about here) I've seen it happen a lot. I'd rather get up the ladder through hard work, leadership and showing initiative. Well, at least I can claim a moral victory, besides my current job is way cooler than my last one. Score 1.
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  #48  
Old 16.03.2008, 17:32
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I saw this thread before and thought I would post my little encounter I have had. Not sure if the Banking sector competes to be the worst in HR but here goes.

I was asked to raise some requests for access to some systems, was told the means of the requests etc. I went and asked the people who deal with the requests and the people who would do the work to ensure I got it right first time. I then raised the requests which needed the approval of my manager.

For some reason she went off the deep end and came over to my desk and started shouting at me that this was NOT the way to do things. Quite embarrassing, so I kept my cool, told her just reject them and I would raise them again, asked what I needed to do differently.

So I raised the requests again only to have them approved by my manager but "Rejected" by the next person in the food chain, great reply detailing how they should have been raised, exactly as I did the first time.

I replied via email, to my manager suggesting that I raise the original ones again, I also did a blind copy to a senior manager followed by another email requesting why a manager who had been there 10 years did not understand some of the basics?

I was asked not to kick up a fuss as the person was leaving.

There were a few head on clashes, being honest they would have been fired in most other places as being totally f$%^& useless.

In fact the whole experience is shocking, this is a Bank and they cannot control the budgets on their own projects, I find this just so beyond belief.

My advice to others is do not sell your soul for the money, get another job if it gets to bad. I know it is easy to say.

Currently I am just polite but direct, I know my stuff and really other peoples short falls should not become my problem.
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  #49  
Old 25.03.2008, 16:05
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

Apparently quite prevalent (albeit by another name) in the states as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/he...88d&ei=5087%0A
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  #50  
Old 25.03.2008, 16:38
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

Iam so glad that this term is now recognised, I nearly came under this situation when I worked for a Telco that no longer exist's in CH and that was eaten up by company which took it over, I saw many fellow employees who suffered under this term and I am glad that I had the choice to leave and work in another part of the EU at that time, due to the fact of having my dual citizenship, it is indeed a of course a case of an employer and its employees stringing up their fellow workers in a almost public hanging for doing nothing wrong at all. The instance I saw these were also Swiss persons who had little chance of working else where other than CH.

I hope one day the Grim reaper takes those person who do this shows them that they are not as free to do this as they think they are, my sympathy goes out to all who are suffering right now.
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  #51  
Old 25.03.2008, 22:06
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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I was going to post this as a thread on its own but then I realized it does fit nicely under mobbing.

My boss has his days when he curses his co-workers, especially when we are alone. He also throws indirect insults towards people who are working for him. People who have been working with me have been afraid of him and almost never responded back. He also asks employees to do things which are not written in their contracts. He insists that people cancel their doctor appointments and asks them not to take breaks and straight 8-10 hours. He hardly lets people take vacation.
All the of the people I was working with have resigned. Two people including myself and my boss have relocated in Switzerland. After we moved to Switzerland my boss has asked us to do things that are not written in our contracts. The colleague who came to Switzerland with us has also resigned. I'll give you an example of my what my boss demands. He said we have no right to be sick without a doctor's note for a single day. As far as Swiss law is concerned, I think one can be sick for two or three days without brining a doctor's note. My boss also asked this lawyer guy in our firm to email me about this topic in a rather bullying language. I was sick for three days without a doctor's note and I was told by our HR that I can be sick for three days without a doctor's note. Now they are asking me to bring a doctor's note for those three days. I have told them that the procedure is that I have to bring a note for sickness that lasts more than three days. There is nothing written about that in my contract. I have told them they can't do anything to enforce something that is not written down and they said they could. Can employers in Switzerland make up work conditions as they go along?

My boss also does the same work as his co-workers but he almost always tells everyone that he did get the work done on that day but leaves the work for the person who was sick or on vacation for him to do when he is back. It's like he punishes his coworkers for being sick or taking vacation. When you are doing the same job, and you make a mistake or leave work undone he makes a big case out of it.

My boss also told me that he will terminate my contract if I get accepted to the local Masters program at ETH Zurich.

I also haven't gotten my salary raise as it was promised. When I have asked for it I was given this letter that it won't happen but I was promised a bonus. However in the letter it said that the bonus won't be paid out if I resign before a certain date.

The work is unbearable now cause all our coworkers have resigned and my boss pretends to do work but he actually does not. I had to cancel many personal appointments because of work. I had really important appointments such as going to the Einwohnermeldeamt and I again got a bullying email from the company lawyer telling me I should arrange these appoinments after work. The Amts in Switzerland are open from 8-16:00, I work from 8-18:00. Wtf? When the hell am I supposed to go my appointments?!?? My boss also doesn't want me to take the day off, and he leaves me extra work to top it off.

So this leaves me with no option but resign. I might write a book with the title "My personal mobber: My boss"
Whoever that @-hole is, he will have someone on top of him.
Before you resign just try to blow the whistle and advise *his* superiors to the kind of damage he is actually doing to productivity and morale.
The swiss "Code des Obligations" - the Master Rule Book by which all of the Confoederatio Helvetica should abide (ahem) - does state the limits, laws and dispositions that apply to most of day-to-day life in the workplace.
You could film him with your cellphone and/or you could coolly confront him and give him a piece of your mind. In any case - for your own self esteem - don't let him step all over you.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Good luck,

Paul
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  #52  
Old 28.06.2008, 13:53
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I have also been on the receiving end of this dreadful behavior at the work place. For the very first time of working life. It was here in Switzerland, Zurich and in an international company. Its started with two colleagues (a pair of mobbers both female). By the time I realised what was happening and started to recall and document it all...was about six months on..I tried to have a talk with both separately first, next I approached HR...within the same week I was declared redundant. They said the company was undergoing restructuring and this was going to affect my position. I got paid my notice period - but the whole experience left me quite traumatised....at present not even sure I can be in a work environment again. I had to be treated for stress related symptoms, anxiety etc... Thought of suing the company. Went to the Mobbing Zentrum Bureau in Zürich for advice - They told me its very hard to prove this sort of thing. I said I had it all documented. Was only adviced to press the company to pay me for one extra month due to the work related illness - my notice period had to be extended for a month more and paid for. I still feel more could have been done to bring this situation in the open. It was one of the most exhausting times of my life...That time in that office still haunts me to date....
Perhaps those of us who have the misfortune of undergoing this can form a support group of sorts?!
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  #53  
Old 28.06.2008, 14:32
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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By the time I realised what was happening and started to recall and document it all...was about six months on..I tried to have a talk with both separately first, next I approached HR...within the same week I was declared redundant. They said the company was undergoing restructuring and this was going to affect my position.
I have experienced this in the Uk to a lesser degree. Harrasment, or bullying, as it would usually be called here can often start quite subtly and by the time thinks become obvious or a major concern any evidence is lost. It is not something that can be easily documented.

Having gone through several company restructures, this can be very unsettling and stressful. I believe that companies can place excessive pressure on employees in these situations. If staff give up and leave due to the pressure it can be cheaper than redundancy etc.

The only advice that I can offer is to be aware for any signs of problems developing: Not being invited to after work drinks etc; conversations in the office that seem to leave you out; frequent management changes at high level, or general high turnover of staff; staff taking more and more time off due to unspecified ailments (this is a common sign of stress); general discontent building up and a less friendly workplace than you were used to.

Sound out other colleagues that you feel you can confide in at the earliest opportunity. It is unusual for just one person to be subjected to such pressures. This can also be useful for supportive evidence in future.
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  #54  
Old 10.07.2008, 02:07
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

i've experienced this too. on my first job in a Swiss company. i started to like the job but the people around were unfriendly. a Schweizerinnen was friendly to me when the boss was around and if not she acted differently. until one day i took a holiday for 3 weeks and when i got back i ask my boss if there are work for me. my boss informed me to report to the office because in our department there was only one person that time & he thought it would be nice if i could help. so i went & when i arrived i saw that they were 3 Swiss women working in our department. by that time i don't have anything to do. 2 person are enough to finish the job. by 2pm one Swiss women sent me home because we don't have work anymore. so i followed her since i really don't have anything to do, (that job was paid hourly). the following week i didn't get a call from my boss anymore & one of my work colleague informed me that she told our boss that i was not so motivated that time & that i went home. she made up stories for me... and i didn't get the chance to talk to my boss and explain my side, he just informed my work colleague to tell me that they don't need any temporary workers that time & my he also made an excuse about my German which was not that good. But actually they can't speak High German they always speak in Swiss German so when they explained something i always have to ask many time before they speak in High German.

is this really common in Swiss environment? what could be the factors why they are doing these? Especially they know that you're foreigner?
this is quite a strange character of Swiss...
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  #55  
Old 10.07.2008, 07:20
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I have had my fair share of run ins with employers in the past.

Some of it down to my own naivety and some due to poor management.

Signs I look for in any company

High turnover of staff - I try to ask in the interview whether a position is new or whether someone has been promoted opening up the position.

One other interview tip. Check the number of times you get interrupted during the course of the interview. Is it by the same person. Does the interviewer takes calls or worse work on email during the interview? These are signs of poor management right there.

On meeting your new colleagues - do they look exhausted, distracted, disinterested seem to spend there life on the phone? After a few days you notice they are in the office before you and never seem to take a break and don't leave until after you have gone?

One instance I had along time ago I was working for a company in the UK who just expected us to work ourselves into the ground. I was told at interview that I would be expected to travel to remote sites for IT support work maybe once every 6 weeks. It was more like three to four times a week. We are talking driving in some cases up to 200 miles in a day and mostly within our own time. i.e. out of work hours. I should have know something was up when the guy training me was signed of with stress and exhaustion by his doctor for 6 weeks only after 3 weeks of me starting. Management did not bat an eyelid at this. It's as if they expected it.

When I asked about all the hours and could they be reduced I was told just to claim overtime for it. Putting in an additional 20-30 hours a week overtime left me no time to enjoy the extra money.

The final straw for me came when I got to a team meeting on a Monday morning and it was announce by my supervisor that I was to work solidly through the next two weeks, which included my weekend. To do a job they knew I was not qualified to do and was not planned properly.
I complained there and then as Ihad plans or the forthcoming weekend. I was told in front of everyone that it is part of the job and I should accept it. My manager was in the room. I looked at him. He agreed with my supervisor. Fortunately for me that morning I had a discussion with the senior Research and development manager over a technical issue I found. After discussing briefly what I had been asked to do he said leave it with me. Half an hour later my supervisor came to me and told me the weekend work was off. Boy was he upset. After that episode and 4 months of working stupid hours I resigned before I too went to the doctors for a sign off.
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  #56  
Old 10.07.2008, 08:36
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

It's a bit naive to think bullying in the workplace is limited to germanic cultures, which is the message I'm picking up from some of the posts here.

It can happen in any nation or culture and in any firm. People are people and regardless of race colour or creed you'll get nice ones and not so nice ones.

The best thing you can do is try to get out by either moving to another department or another job.

And, if you think about taking a legal route it's wise to consider the amount of negative energy this will take up in your life. Sometimes it's best to put these things to experience and just move on and try to avoid it in the future.
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  #57  
Old 10.07.2008, 16:17
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

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It's a bit naive to think bullying in the workplace is limited to germanic cultures, which is the message I'm picking up from some of the posts here.
True but it does seem to happen a lot here. Here is a quote from a Swiss newspaper which says 64% who replied to a survey have experience of mobbing (as the victim, I assume)
http://www.20min.ch/tools/suchen/story/10454723

Marton
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  #58  
Old 28.08.2008, 20:50
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

"GUYS" and "GALS," can we take all this energy used on a simple word like mobbing and focus it on finding me a new job. I WAS MOBBED AT MY LAST JOB. Besides when you've experienced mobbing or you've been mobbed and you search for help with the situation, you hear the word "MOBBING." If you can't put 2 and 2 together then you probably haven't been mobbed. Think THE MOB (mafia), what do they or did they or will they be doing? We're in a different country people!!!
All jokes aside, I'm not IT or in finance, and I need a job before my wife stresses the hell out of me.
Would that be mobbing? Oh wait she's one person, but still?
Contact me, I love to cook and drink wine and beer!
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  #59  
Old 26.11.2008, 11:18
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Re: Mobbing in CH

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Have a loot at www.mobbing-zentrale.ch - the sixth button down has some info in English
This is really useful - thank you
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  #60  
Old 12.12.2008, 16:50
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Re: Mobbing in Switzerland

I went for my appointment at the Mobbing Advice Bureau in Josefstrasse, Zurich. For what's it's worth, here's my experience.

If you can not speak German the Advisor does speak English competently. She is a Psychoanalyst (or Psychologist??) with (assumed) expertise in Mobbing. This means she can not answer any specific legal questions but she may be familiar with employment law in relation to employee well-being. One appointment lasts for 50 mins and costs 150sfr.

By the end of my appointment, I had a few of my questions answered and her advice was pretty much the same as what the majority of you have written here - get out asap. She also said to me that Mobbing is a difficult issue to tackle as you would need someone in your company to be on your side for your case to get anywhere. And even then, an already bad situation will almost always end with your departure once you initiate such a case with HR. Therefore, it's just a question of compensation...

I was hoping that she would be able to answer my main legal questions but she was not. The answers to the rest of my questions were simply confirmations.

I had the audacity to ask her point blank how she can actually help people if Mobbing is that difficult to tackle. After all, it seems like she is making easy money... her answer was that in a minority of cases, there is something which she can do (write a letter to the company, referral, support for when a case goes to the Arbeitsgericht...). But she stressed that it depends on circumstances and the complexity of the mobbing.

I hope I have helped some people who thought about making an appointment with a Mobbing advice center.
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