Thyroid UK
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Bullying at work

Does anyone have any good links which I would be able to pass my supervisors who often make sniping comments often to an audience! I work shifts including nights though for the past year have had an unmanaged thyroid and waiting to see an endo for this. I'm currently on 250 Levo but just had low readings again so will have my Levo increased again no doubt! I suffer terribly with lethargy and brain fog! I'm only allowed to work 6 hrs per day instead of 10 (as directed by my occ health) though my sgt still makes comments like "why don't you tell your doctor you want to work nights so you can be like your colleagues" and "just take your meds at night instead of morning so you can stay awake and do nights like the rest if us" I could do with something which is short and to the point as he's not one for reading long articles! I have started to log everything being said to me now as it's really getting me down and I'm sick of crying over it! Any suggestions?

7 Replies

For a start you should not be trying to handle this on your own. Giving the Sgnt something to read will probably just make him worse. Bully's dont normally react to being told what to do by their target.

I assume you are in a union? You must take this to your Rep. They will deal with it on your behalf. If you do not have a union yet I would join it immediately as they can represent you from the minute you sign up.

You should not wait to start the Grievance process. If you want help with this I can help you so just PM me.

Basically you write a letter to your superior, manager whoever you report to. If it is this Sgnt then go above their head to the next level.

Make your letter detailed and to the point and list instances and with statements of the language used with times and dates if you have them. If you have evidence include it. If you have a witness ask them to support you by writing a supporting letter so that it goes on the record.

If you have no evidence and it comes down to a he said she said scenario you may have a problem so you may want to get proof before putting in your grievance. Dont wait to do it as the clock starts to tick from the time of the offence to when you can start tribunal proceedings, if it goes that far.

Bullying is against the law so do not be afraid to take this forward.

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try the acas website they are brilliant for advise and incidentally also the people you would contact if you cant get the bullying resolved. Of course you can also have a word with your supervisors manager or hr to discuss the issues. Also would be worth educating him in thyroid disease because it would make no difference as to when you take your meds vs your ability to work nights and he'll have to shut up and put p if occ health has given you these restrictions, disgusting!

Hope you manage to get it resolved, good luck


I really appreciate your help. Iam in a special union specifically for police. The trouble is it is a typically male orientated environment and very discriminatory and sexist! The chain of command are equally as opinionated! It's a kind if 'it's always been the same' and nothing will change attitude. Trouble is, everyone sticks together so you're made out to be a malingerer and a liar sadly :-(


My sympathies. I had a similar problem and the union were not exactly proactive. I was a lecturer and the problem I had, which you may well have too, is that the union that represented me also represented my superiors (I use that term loosely!) too.

Sorry I can't be of any practical help to you. I do agree with the comment above that no amount of presenting evidence to bullies works. They have the opposite of rose tinted specs - they see you how they want and no 'evidence' to the contrary will get through. Somewhat ironic given your occupation but true.

Occupational health were the only support I had but even there it was often left to me to get the powers that be to put measures in place - I failed!

Bullying is awful and extra hard to deal with when it is based on your health issues and hence so very personal. It is not you though it is them!


I know what you mean about the Federation and the Polis ;-) But stick to your guns and NEVER let them push you out. Not all reps are bad and if you look you should find a good one. Also, change department if you can. Plenty of 9-5 Police jobs out there whilst you are stabilising your thyroid. You should also have a Female Police Association or something similair. Remember that thyroid disease is a predominantly female problem and they should be aware of the issues there.

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Try this - you may have to alter it slightly at the beginning to read "Dear work colleague" and then print it out and leave it on every desk. I absolutely HATE bullies.

Dear Friend/Family Member:

Someone you care about has thyroid disease. You may not know much about thyroid problems, but I imagine, like many of us, you've heard things here and there. If anything, you probably associate the thyroid with weight problems, or think it's an excuse people use for being overweight. Or, you may already know someone else who's taking thyroid medication -- usually Synthroid -- and they seem to be doing fine, so you assume thyroid disease will be similar for your friend/family member.

There's so much more to thyroid disease, and while I can't cover it all in this letter, I'm going to try, briefly, to give you a sense of what your loved one is facing. So can I ask that you set aside for a few moments the information you do have about thyroid disease, to open your mind and heart?

The thyroid is our master gland of metabolism and energy. Every single body function that requires oxygen and energy -- basically, everything that goes on in our bodies! -- requires thyroid hormone in proper amounts. That means we need the proper balance of thyroid hormone in order to feel and live well. We need thyroid hormone to think clearly and remember things, to maintain a good mood, to grow hair and nails, to have basic energy to get through the day, to see well, to digest our food, to burn calories, to be fertile, to get pregnant and have a healthy baby, to have a good sex drive, and much, much more. In some ways, you can think about thyroid hormone as the gasoline that makes the car go. No gas, and there's no way to move forward.

Typically, a thyroid problem comes in one of several forms. Your loved one may be hyperthyroid...that means that the thyroid gland is overactive, and producing too much thyroid hormone. When the thyroid becomes overactive, you can think of it a bit like the gas pedal on the car is stuck, and the engine is flooding. If your loved one is going through hyperthyroidism, he or she may be feeling extremely anxious and nervous, with a rapidly beating heart, higher blood pressure, and even palpitations. Some people describe the sensation as like their heart is beating so hard and loud everyone around them can even see it and hear it! They may be hungry and thirsty all the time, suffering from diarrhea even, and losing weight. Others may even be wondering, wrongly, if your loved one's rapid weight loss is due to an eating disorder or some sort of illness like cancer or AIDS. His or her eyes may be sore, sensitive, gritty and irritated, and vision can even become blurry. Sleep may be difficult or impossible, and lack of sleep combined with the body zooming along at 100 miles an hour can cause extreme exhaustion and muscle weakness. Frankly, people who are in the throes of hyperthyroidism have told me that they feel and look like someone who is strung out on drugs, or who has had 20 cups of coffee after not sleeping for a week. With heart pounding, and all body systems going full tilt, your jittery, stressed-out hyperthyroid loved one may even feel like he or she is losing it, ready to fall apart at any moment. If your loved one has thyroid cancer, they have an entirely different challenge. The majority of thyroid cancers are considered highly treatable and survivable, so doctors and others often cavalierly refer to thyroid cancer as "the good cancer." But the reality is, no cancer is "good," and someone who has thyroid cancer has cancer, "the big C." Cancer as a concept is frightening, and raises fears and concerns. Someone with thyroid cancer initially may have few, if any, symptoms. In some cases, however, they may have hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, or a combination of symptoms of a thyroid imbalance. Most thyroid cancer patients require surgery to remove the thyroid -- and this can be daunting, including the idea of a several-inch incision in the neck and resulting scar. After surgery, many thyroid cancer patients will need to have followup radioactive iodine treatment to ensure that all the cancerous tissue was removed, and it can be many weeks after surgery before a thyroid cancer patient -- who by that point is typically quite hypothyroid -- can start thyroid medication to again get lifesaving thyroid hormone they need. And the thyroid cancer patient in your life will require lifetime of medical treatment for the resulting hypothyroidism, along with periodic -- and sometimes physically challenging -- follow-ups and scans to monitor for a recurrence of the cancer.

These are just a few of the conditions that can affect thyroid patients. There are autoimmune diseases -- Graves' disease and Hashimoto's -- that can be at the root of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Sometimes people develop a goiter -- an enlarged thyroid -- or benign nodules that cause symptoms. Sometimes a temporary infection causes thyroiditis. And again, these problems can be difficult to pinpoint, misdiagnosed as everything under the sign, and even when diagnosed, poorly treated.

So what many thyroid patients have in common is living in a world that overlooks, downplays, poorly treats -- and sometimes even makes fun of -- their condition.

Magazine articles, books by doctors, patients brochures in doctors offices -- and doctors themselves -- insist simplistically that thyroid disease is "easy to diagnose, easy to treat" even though patients know that this is far from the truth. As for "easy to diagnose," your loved one may have even struggled to get diagnosed -- to get taken seriously -- in the first place. Doctors regularly misdiagnose hyperthyroid patients as having an eating or anxiety disorder, and hypothyroid patients as having stress, depression, PMS, or menopause.

Worse yet are the truly unsympathetic physicians that we all too frequently encounter in thyroid care. Like the marathon runner with hypothyroidism who was in training, on a strict diet, and still gaining weight and was told by her doctor that she had "fork in mouth disease." Or the endocrinologists who tell patients, "Well, you should be GLAD, you know, because you have the GOOD cancer!" Or the doctor who diagnosed a woman with hyperthyroidism by clapping his hands together loudly behind her head, chortling: "Oh, I can always tell you hypers, because you practically jump off the examining table when I do that!"

There are advertisements and comedians who use "thyroid problem" as the not-so-secret code to describe someone who is fat. And there's a whole realm of scam artists out there trying to sell us cockamamie Thyro-this and Thyro-that "cures" for thyroid disease that in many cases can make things a whole lot worse -- or at best, not help at all.

Even Oprah admitted she had a thyroid problem, then claimed it went away, then said she had it but it wasn't an excuse for her weight gain, then decided not to get treatment, and continues to struggle with her health issues.

And perhaps saddest of all, there are friends and relatives who say "I don't buy this thyroid disease thing, it's just an excuse for not losing weight" or "Thyroid? Hah! She's just lazy!" Or, "Why can't he just get OVER it and get back to normal?"

Husbands criticize their wives for gaining weight. Teenagers whisper behind a friend's back about anorexia. Coworkers complain that their colleague is "lazy."

Once we're diagnosed, treatment is not an easy fix for many thyroid patients. Doctors try to rush hyperthyroid patients into permanently disabling the thyroid with a radioactive treatment that will make them hypothyroid for life. Many doctors believe there is only one medication to treat hypothyroidism -- a medication that does not resolve symptoms for all patients. When patients learn about other available options, doctors may stonewall, refuse additional treatments, or push antidepressants, cholesterol medications, weight loss pills and more, instead of addressing the thyroid issues. The conventional medical establishment believes that treatment for thyroid problems is one-size-fits-all. This cavalier attitude means that many thyroid patients struggle for years to live and feel well, despite being diagnosed and "treated."

I'm here to ask you -- in a world where thyroid patients are disregarded, overlooked, misdiagnosed, abused, exploited, mocked, and ignored -- to be the person who truly "gets it" for the thyroid patient in your life. Be the person who understands that while thyroid disease may not be visible, it is causing your friend or loved one to suffer. Be the person who understands that even though celebrities aren't talking about thyroid disease, and sports figures aren't wearing bracelets to promote thyroid awareness, that this is a genuine, difficult, and life-changing diagnosis.

Be the person who opens mind and heart to the thyroid patients in your life. Be the person who listens, and learns about the struggles and challenges. Be the person who empowers the thyroid patient in your life, by helping him or her do as much as possible to improve health. Be the person to help find doctors and practitioners who do not view your friend or relative as a cookie-cutter patient on a thyroid assembly line. Be the person who helps the thyroid patient in your life to maintain balance-- to help find time for rest, for exercise, for stress reduction, for self-care, for proper nutrition, for fun!

Live well,

Let me know if it works.

Moggie x


I just read all that with a grin on my face! Can you imagine back in the old days where the sexist sgt would smoke a fag with a glass of whiskey at the desk then order the woman to make the drinks as she's no good for anything else? Well that's the kind of person I'm up against!! There's no way on this earth he would read that, he would read the first line , say what a load of rubbish it was and tell me to get over it ! It's the same wherever you go!! As for the 9-5 jobs... No such thing in our force! HR tell us there is only front line or nothing! They haven't a clue!


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