How to Deal with an Abusive Boss or Abusive Coworker
You don't have to put up with an abusive boss or coworker. You have the right to earn a living free of verbal abuse,sexual harassment, and intimidation. No matter how much or how little your employer pays you, you have the power to demand respect.
1£®THE PAPER TRAIL
If you are dealing with a pattern of abuse or harassment, it's essential to have documentation of the abuse, the actions you've taken to deal with the situation, and the responses of your abuser and your coworkers. Keep a record of every incident and effort to prove the abuse exists and that you have made it clear to your abuser that you consider it abuse.
2£®Be clear.BE CLEAR WITH YOUR ABUSER
It is important that you inform the boss or coworker that you consider their words or actions abusive. Make your abuser aware that you don't think they are funny and you want them to stop the offending behavior. This can be as simple as saying, "I think you're being abusive and I want you to stop." If the abuse continues, write a letter.
3£®Write to your abusive boss.WRITE A LETTER
If a casual conversation isn't enough to end the abuse, you should write a brief letter to the abuser, stating again that they are acting in an abusive manner and asking them to stop. Send a copy of this letter to the personnel department or to a supervisor. You do not need to threaten legal action. Simply indicate that a copy has been sent to the supervisor by adding the following text below your name at the bottom of your letter (substitute your supervisor's name or the name of the personnel department):
cc: Supervisors Name
4£®GO OVER THE ABUSER'S HEAD IN PERSON
If your place of employment has a Human Resources or Personnel Department to deal with internal conflicts, bring what evidence you have of the abuse to their attention. If not, bring the situation to the abuser's supervisor or a higher-up you have a positive relationship with. DO NOT SURRENDER YOUR ONLY COPIES OF EVIDENCE. You may, at some point, find yourself engaged in legal action against your employer and your employer knows it. Have copies to provide and copies to keep for yourself.
If your abuser has no supervisor and there is no one within the work place you can turn to, you may need to seek advocacy from the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has a long history of advocating on behalf employees who claim to have been abused or harassed in the workplace. See the RESOURCES section below for a link to the ACLU's homepage.
If efforts to end the abuse from within the workplace fail, contact the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU may be able to offer legal assistance at no cost to you, but they will start first as mediators. SEE THE RESOURCE SECTION BELOW FOR A DIRECT LINK TO THE ACLU ONLINE.
*DO NOT THREATEN LEGAL ACTION! Threatening legal action in an already abusive situation can result in even more abuse, even in danger to you. Be clear, but be pleasant until you have an advocate to advise you.
*DO NOT REMAIN IN A THREATENING ENVIRONMENT! If you have been threatened or believe you safety is at risk, call the police. No job is worth risking your safety.
Good ideas to know how to handle problems the right way.
I have been there and these are great tips, if only I had read this before I quit my job ;)
Great article, I think that a lot of us have had to put up with this at one time or another.
Great advice on dealing with abusive coworkers or bosses, thanks!
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