How to Deal With Unfair Treatment in the Workplace

How to Deal With Unfair Treatment in the Workplace
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Work Atmosphere

There is a fine line between not getting along with coworkers because of one’s nature and because of harassment and unfair treatment on the job. It is important to note that once you realize you are being treated unfairly at work, you should do something about it or you will have to endure this harassing treatment–until you someday break down! How, then, are you to deal with this issue? This article highlights points that will guide you along the process of dealing with this unhappy situation. Bear in mind that whatever step or steps you adopt, it should be done in a professional manner.

The Steps You Need to Take

Step 1: Before you even begin to do anything about it, identify what the issue is. Be very clear about what you want to resolve. Also be very clear about the person or persons involved and what role each plays in his or her attitude and treatment toward you. The last thing you want to be told is that what you have escalated is a fabricated story.

Step 2: Detail your issue. Are you being denied access to files that you should have access to? Are you being ignored unnecessarily when in a group? Are you being snubbed at or spoken to rudely? Is there some form of disrespect that humiliates you in front of colleagues and by colleagues? Are you denied the right to apply for a promotion when you have the ability, qualification and experience? Are you being challenged negatively because of your race or sex? Are you being given negative feedback at work purely on the basis of prejudice? These are some of the work issues that you will have to identify and outline.

Step 3: Write down points, events and dates if possible: When you have identified the colleagues involved, it’s advisable to write down as much detail about it as possible. This will help you keep track of what you want to discuss without getting sidetracked.

Step 4: Discuss the issue with the person or persons harassing you. Let him know that you feel it unfair that he should be treating you this way. In case he is unapproachable, escalate the issue to those senior to him who have authority over his actions. If you discuss the problem directly with your harasser and he does not heed your attempt to resolve the issue, make it clear to him that you will escalate the issue to members who are senior to him.

Step 5: Employee issues are best handled by the human resources department. Make it a point to approach your company’s HR department to air your grievance and ask for advice. You can rest assured the HR department will take the issue seriously. If the unfair treatment comes in the form of a performance review, make sure to write a rebuttal to the performance review.

Step 6: Do not get emotional–this is what you do not want happening. If you do, your mind will be boggled and your thoughts confused. What you want at this time is a clear mind free of emotional conflict so that you can do something about the issue.

Step 7: Get help from a friend if you do not have the presence of mind to deal with an issue. At times there might be such pressure from the unfair treatment in the workplace that you may find it difficult to find a solution. Talking out your issue to a friend is in itself a big step toward resolving an issue.

Step 8: If all methods of resolving an issue fail, take the issue further to top management. Make it clear to them that you are not happy at work due to the reasons you have identified. Talk it over with them and give a letter of grievance to have a written record of your approach to them. Do not state what changes are to be made or who you think should be terminated, but rather leave it to the management to work on this. Tell them you trust that they have the power to resolve this issue without its getting out of hand. They will respect you for this rather than your telling them what to do telling them what their job is supposed to be. Note that when you have submitted a letter of grievance, they have to make inquiries about the issue and deal with it.

If necessary, you could take it to court. There are very strict rules against employee harassment in the work place irrespective of what type and you can also make them aware that you are clear about your rights. You will need to visit the appropriate government website, such as Fair Wage and Labor, Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, and so forth.

Step 9: Quit the work place if you have to. If the company’s work ethics are not what you believe in, it is better not to continue working for this organization. Chances are that you work at a place with too much politics and favoritism at work. Think clearly whether the pay is worth the tolerance of harassment, or if you can be more healthy, wealthy and content working for an organization that respects its employees. Make your choice, but once you have, do not regret your decision.

Reference and Credit


Anti Discrimination Board, NSW, Australia - /lawlink/adb/ll_adb.nsf/pages/adb_how_to_deal#how

US Department of Labor -

Image credit: Author, Amanda Dcosta