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Microsoft to Pay $2 Million in Workplace Bullying Case

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Austin, TXMichael Mercieca kept the faith and after seven years finally saw the courts order Microsoft to pay for bullying him to a near breaking point.

The judge in the Texas employment labor law case, Tim Sulak, has issued a Final Judgement ordering Microsoft to pay $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages and legal fees. Judge Sulak found the tech giant guilty of “acting with malice and reckless indifference” in an organized office retaliation against salesman Mercieca.

“They (Microsoft Corporation) remain guilty today, tomorrow and in perpetuity over egregious acts against me and racist comments by their executive that led to the retaliation and vendetta resulting in my firing,” said Mercieca after the Final Judgement was announced.

Previously, a jury, by unanimous agreement, found that Microsoft and key managers had created a hostile work environment that led to Mercieca’s constructive dismissal and ordered that the 55-year-old Mercieca be paid $11.6 million, but the judge reduced it to the amount as is permitted.

A highly regarded member of the sales department with an unblemished record, Mercieca found himself drowning in nasty workplace conspiracy whereby fellow employees and supervisors undermined his work, falsely accused him of sexual harassment and expense account fraud, and marginalized him and blocked promotions.

The story began sometime before 2007 when Mercieca ended a relationship with a woman who went on to become his boss. Conditions at work began to change for him. Even though Mercieca went to the human relations department at Microsoft, the company did not act and allowed the behaviors to continue and even to escalate.

In addition to complaining about his own treatment in the workplace, Mercieca directly complained to Microsoft icon Steve Ballmer about sexist and racist comments made in the office by VP Eddie O’Brien.

“I wrote directly to Ballmer and told him what O’Brien said after the tsunami in Japan,” says Mercieca. “He said, ‘I would have zero pity for Japan. I would throw them right under the bus and create another tsunami if I have to.’” (Depositions.)

That complaint to Ballmer, Mercieca maintains, was another reason his co-workers began to isolate him and make the workplace hostile toward him.

Mercieca and his legal team of two lawyers were up against 250 lawyers that Microsoft set to work on the case. Despite that, Mercieca and his lawyers Roy Pollack and Paul T. Morin of Austin, Texas, four years of litigation and some 90,000 documents eventually won the day.

“Rather than do the right thing, the management team went after Michael by getting a female employee to file a sexual harassment complaint and a complaint of retaliation against him,” says Paul T. Morin. “Microsoft could have taken Mercieca’s charges seriously and disciplined the senior manager but instead it engaged in the worst kind of corporate bullying.”


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Posted by

I just experienced workplace bullying and harassment from a manager who just started. I have been there for a while. I was really hurt, VP tried to mediate the caused, she lied and then went back and corrected herself. I have been up crying and upset the whole weekend and I don't know what to do at this point. It is messing with my mental ability I am unable to sleep and I am going making an appointment to see a therapist. immediately after she said these degrading words to me, I immediately just want to disappear and I only put that nicely. I can tell upper management was like I took things the wrong way. He didn't take me seriously. I know what happen no one believes the person who is getting abused, no one ever does, They trying to make me look like a fool.

Posted by

I'm currently enduring workplace bullying. It is affecting my ability to perform. I get anxiety and I have knots in my stomach every morning before work for the last 3 weeks. I've only been employed there for 25 days now. I'm afraid to go to the HR department because I'm so new and concerned that they might try to fire me unjustly. I don't know what to do. I hope someone can give me some advice. I want to keep working there but I want the bullying to stop.

Posted by

Yes that's why I keep posting my story....Let's start a anti bullying campaign against men bullying women at work...I forgive him but I will use my story to help others...The injustice of bullying! What will these candidates do about work place bullies and bullying?
All bullying is unacceptable !All bullying needs to stop.
I was also the only one that Jeff Ursino treated like this..All he needed to do was be kind, show kindness. I want to bring more awareness to work place bullying in 2016 to help others not have to deal with bullies for bosses. The laws need to change!!!
...I was fired 12 days before Christmas...
Bosses should lead employees not Bully...
Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes....I was bullied by an adult named Jeff , my manager a bank in Carmel, Ca...after he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up he fired me via UPS before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending family will never forget the pain he caused changed me forever.
Jeff once told me that I couldn't wear the hats I'd been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was company policy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later Jeff decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied " I'm in control" , it was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully!
He also threatened to fire me for job abandonment if I didn't show up to work on a day I couldn't work, my daughter was ill and he was already fully staffed. He put me on the schedule at the last minute to pressure me into working...a Bully at his finest.
He also stated that I hadn't worked on days that I had and I still have a copy of the schedules.
Bullying needs to end and companies need to properly train manages to be leaders not bullies! What will politicians do about it? Nothing! We need to unite and do something about adult bullying and in the work place!
I have two boxes of proof and I did document everything. When I realized that there is actually an Awareness month for anti bullying I decided to tell my story again in hopes of finding an organization that I can help bring light to this also very ugly issue!
What I have mentioned is just a bit of all he did.
No one cared or did anything about it. I wrote my leaders, congressmen , senators , mayors, city leaders, the president , attorney general, etc...everyone past the buck.
Since then, bullying has come to the forefront and I want to tell my story.
He is a father of 3 sons, still a " manager" , on the board of trustees for a school district and I can't help but wonder who he is bullying now.
He had choices and he chose to be unkind, uncaring, not understanding, treated me like crap, ignored what others where doing, focused on me until he ruined me!
Only cowards bully other people!
He didn't care what I was wearing he simply wanted to show who was in control and bully me. The hats didn't prevent me from doing my job nor did anyone ever complain about them, in fact I got lots of compliments from customers and a couple of his bosses and someone from HR, it's was great until he showed up as a temporary manager. He just wanted me gone and set out to wrongfully terminate me. He couldn't even write me up correctly and I have the proof. He couldn't even fire me correctly as he broke California Labor codes in the process of firing me. He was simply unkind and heartless to me.
Please grow up to be a kind, caring person. Never purposely make someone fear their going to loose their job for putting their daughter first, that's what he did to me...and yet he is a father.
Time to open their eyes and our leaders and change the laws. Speak the truth state the facts and have your evidence ready! One of the reasons I am doing this is because I have proof, my journal, the forms he used to write me up incorrectly. He was in such a hurry to write me up that the first time he wrote me up he used the wrong form, he used the second warning form.
He threatened me with job abandonment yet didn't know how that law worked.
For some reason the universe, my God or what ever you want to believe, had me keep all the evidence. In my journal I wrote daily of what occurred at work, he singled me out. In four and a half years I loved my job 98 percent of the days then he came and ruined not only me but the spirit of that bank branch. He took away causal Friday and tried to take away cookies on Fridays for our customers.
He said we all had to only eat in the break room but yet would eat at his desk and not say anything to the pretty blonde when she ate at her station. He took all my family photos down and claimed it was best for my family but allowed others to have their family photos out! A BULLY!!!
The more I read the more I realize he was threatened by me. My reviews didn't justify what he did. Several times I was asked if I was the manager as he stood next to me.
The hat issue was just him being a bully, he ignored what others did and wouldn't give me credit when it was due to me, he played it down. He snapped his fingers twice, said my name , pointed to the back room and said Damari in the back the very first time he ever addressed me. In the back room he said my reputation precedes me, that upper management had nothing but glowing reports about me. He asked why I thought I do so well and I told him because I love my job.
He was a temporary manager, the branch was looking for a full time manager. Jeff was managing two branches during this process, I was trying to hang in there until we got a new one but he couldn't wait to fire me.
I'm understanding more about bullies these days, it doesn't make it right but we need to pray for the bully.
I use his name and the bank and location to keep it real and honest. I have nothing to hide.
I use to tell my kids' if you don't want grammy to know what you did then don't do anything you'd be a shamed of because I will tell grammy the truth' it really helped with their behavior.
I once wrote him and asked why he did what he did and I also told him that I hope no one ever treated his family as he had treated mine, but I got no response to my email from him. It's all true so it's not slander.
I honestly feel that the bully should be called out, if he/she was so proud of their actions then don't get upset when we share what you've done.
Men the bully women are weak cowards. I'm a mom that was simply working like most moms do.
Please feel free to share my story to bring awareness to work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop, the laws need to protect the employees and victims not the bully. Share my story please.

Kindness is free, spread it! Bullying cost lives and jobs, stop it! ~Damari Stratford ~

Posted by

I have a bullying situation with my past employer. I recently was fired and was not given a reason why. I asked several times when i was being fired and they dance around my question every time, which didnt surprise me. It didn't surprise me that i was getting fired even though I was doing better than ever with my job. I've had my boss bullying me on my FB page enough where i removed him as a friend (never wanted to be friends with him in the first place but he pressed for it). He likes to be in the KNOW of what his staff is up to when they aren't at work, even though it was none of his business. He'd text me to meet with him the next day about my posts even though they had nothing to do with work. I also have a witness that claims he was the person who put dirty mens underwear on my desk and then yelled at me for not removing them quickly enough...due to the owner walking in and seeing them at my desk. He gave me a pay cut of 20% for a bad quarter with no warning even though the other employees in the office had bad quarters as well but none saw cuts. I realized he was forcing me out of the office and it worked. I began looking for work but not quick enough to have him replace me before he even fired me. He made me feel isolated in the office eventually, in meetings would blow off anything i suggested, interrupted me like I wasn't even in the room. Got on my case for not chatting enough to employees in the office...women that LOVED to spread rumors about anyone and everyone (one told people i was having an affair with my boss!). I just couldn't win in the office and now I am out of work for no reason! I have talked to a lawyer who claims I don't have a case, that it's just a personality flaw...underwear on my desk and pay cuts should not be excused in the office! Anyone out there have any advice?

Posted by

I have been called demeaning names by members of management and most of our staff and management have heard the nicknames over the years but very little or nothing has been done to address this. I was promised Ina meeting with HR and our company president that this would be rectified within the year... April marks the year... I have since been given a new nickname and it is readily used and is not respectful at all. I then encountered a situation where I was accused of intentional wrongdoing which it was not. There are documented three other cases over the last year that were almost exactly like mine and involved the same misinformation being given and all three incidents the employees acted the same yet I am the only one who has been punished with suspension. The investigation that was done was tainted by the manager who actively looks to sabotage and undermine others especially me. Mine was the least costly to the company of the three situations as well. I am so frustrated I do not know what to do not how to fight this.

Posted by

A great source of information on the topic of "Workplace Bullying" can be found at For employers, a great source for information on how to protect your organization from destructive workplace bullies is located at

Posted by

I am an attorney in New York that has represented employees who have been victims of discrimination and in several instances retaliation for complaining of discrimination. Such conduct is often violative of federal and state law.
Mr Garcia may have a valid claim of retaliation. He should contact an attorney in the State in which the conduct took place as should any other similar victim.

Oliver Koppell

Posted by

I had a similar experience working for a 3rd party logistics company. I worked at a distribution center for a major athletic shoe co. as a safety loss prevention coordinator.
Worked for them about 5 yrs. One day a female employee came to me saying she wanted to file a complaint against her supervisor. He was sexually harassing her, they had a previous relationship. But he was married and the female employee had broken off the relationship. Anyway he continued to send her explicit pictures and harassing her threatening to fire her etc.
When she came to me I wrote up a report and sent it to the corporate office, by passing the operations manager, because he would have swept it under the rug and probably fired her, because the supervisor in question was a top producer for the co. I knew this from previous incidents .
Anyway the co. had to bring in a outside investigator and sure enough they found the supervisor was harassing her. The co. transferred him to another location. Then about 2 weeks after that happened I was called into a meeting with the vice president and the operations manager. The vice president proceeded to yell and curse at me and threatening me. Asking why I by passed the operations manager . I told him because he would have not done anything about it and my job was to keep the employees safe. After that meeting I had to go to Dr. I have Panic disorder and this meeting set me off into a severe panic attack. Took some time off on off work orders. When i came back some responsibilities were removed from my duties and then I couldn't do anything right after 5 yrs. on the job. I finally gave them a 90 day notice and quit.


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