After 12 months, I've just left the fintech firm I was working for in London. I am in therapy - after experiencing bullying, discrimination and harassment on a daily basis, my mental health has been severely impacted.
The fintech I worked for goes through the motions of creating a good working environment. There's free fruit and free lunch and subsidized gym membership. They talk a lot about diversity, and are very keen to champion people from some minority groups. However, as a European woman with a disability, I am also a minority and I found that I was treated with no understanding at all.
It began with the COVID vaccines. - Because of my disability, I was unwilling to get a vaccine. I've been very careful not to expose myself to COVID, and I felt the risk of the vaccine to someone with my condition was such that I wanted to wait. My colleagues then accused me of being selfish and said that it was because of people like me that COVID was spreading, and that they couldn't travel. I complained to my manager, who said that women from my part of Europe are sensitive and aggressive and that I needed to relax. I then complained about my manager to her manager.
From that point, all my colleagues began treating me differently. My holiday requests kept getting declined whilst everyone else took their holidays. During department meetings, my manager would take every opportunity to humiliate me in front of my colleagues, so I stopped offering suggestions and giving feedback. I was constantly criticized on a personal and professional level by management and by colleagues.
When I talked to my manager about a vacancy in another department she didn't put me forward for it. A few months ago, she told me the company wouldn't be extending my contract because they didn't know which direction they were heading in. After that meeting I looked on the company website and saw my job being advertised there.
The reality is that this company is very clear on the direction they're going in, but they want people who don't speak up about bullying and discrimination. They say that they're all for diversity, but they turn a blind eye to bad behaviour from their preferred minority groups and a culture of bullying is widespread.
The company spends millions of pounds on AI and employs top engineers and researchers. However, they don't understand human beings and the HR function is a farce. Ultimately, they're only really interested in their bottom line.
Since leaving, I've discovered that I'm not the only one to have had this experience. A former colleague of mine experienced something similar and is also receiving counselling as a result. Has anyone else experienced this?
Frances Adams is a pseudonym
Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash
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