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"My managing director is a sociopathic bully with a possible drug issue"

I am writing here because I would like advice and help from other people in the industry.

I work for a major US bank in the Americas. The man who heads the division in my country is incredibly difficult to work for, but the bank seems to turn a blind eye to this. 

A lot of us feel very threatened by him but we are fearful of reporting anything in case of retaliation.

We appreciate that banking is a high energy and sometimes aggressive industry, but this goes beyond the bounds of normality. He doesn't just cross the line; he seems to reside in a territory bordering on psychopathy, displaying conduct that is both unethical and immoral.

It's not uncommon for him to transfer his personal frustrations onto people at work. In moments of bad mood, the intensity of his harassment and his need to humiliate us are amplified. Employees are often left in tears during and after private conversations initiated by him. He often makes threats to fire people and will make a public spectacle of those he doesn't like.   



He has his favorites. They tend to be people similar to him. If you're gay, female, or someone he doesn't feel comfortable with, he behave very differently. He will be harsh.


We think he may have a drug problem due to the intensity of some of his outbursts. Sometimes he can be very threatening and aggressive.

We should be able to highlight these issues using the 360 degree feedback system at appraisal time. We can't because he forces us to rank him highly by threatening us all if he is ranked low.

His behavior is having serious negative effects; several people on the team are developing psychological issues and the bank is a very toxic and harmful place to be.

We appreciate that the best thing is to walk away but many of us spent years working to get these jobs and there are few alternatives in this market. Does anyone have advice?

Leo Orellana is a pseudonym 

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AUTHORLeo Orellana Insider Comment
  • LI
    10 May 2024

    Beat the shit out of him or quit in the middle of a big deal.

  • BB
    8 May 2024

    anonymously call the ethics hotline and report. have colleagues do as well.

    disclose the drug abuse

    continue to document as suggested by others

  • ca
    8 May 2024

    My advice is to keep a diary

  • Di
    8 May 2024

    Sadly, your scenario is not uncommon within the banking industry. While it will not be easy to resolve, may I make the following suggestions:-

    It is likely that some of your colleagues may already have covertly recorded some of the manager's outbursts. In the event of your being called into his office, it would be sensible to use your mobile phone surreptitiously.

    Join a union. You state that you are in the U.S.A. The most appropriate union would be Communication Workers Union of America which recently gained recognition from Wells Fargo. Regardless of whether a union is recognised or not, it will have useful tips on how to deal with workplace situations, such as bullying. Be aware that you may have to have been a member for a period of time to receive advice.

    Document all incidents of bullying whether or not directly aimed at you. Keep records of dates, times, what was said, who was present. Write them down as soon as you get home from work.

    If possible, print any abusive e-mails and take them home, or if you have remote e-mail access print them off site. Do not forward them to your personal e-mail address as your inbox will be being monitored.

    It may be worth consulting an employment lawyer to establish your position regarding severance and potential litigation should your workplace become intolerably toxic, which from your post it seems to be.

    If you have trusted colleagues, perhaps meet them off site to discuss matters. There is strength in numbers and human resources is less likely to dismiss a complaint raised by a large number of people.

    Good luck.

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