These days, companies have defined policies for dealing with abuse or harassment in the workplace, but there are some cases where they just don’t apply. A hostile work environment can have no legal remedies in some situations and that is why you, as an employee, need to take certain steps for shielding yourself from all the negativity around you. Today, we have 10 tips for surviving in a hostile work environment.
10. Keep Your Personal Life, Personal
If you’re working in a hostile environment, then you should try to keep your personal life personal as much as possible. Exposing yourself will not help you in any way. Remember that your colleagues are not your friends, you should not expect them to act as friends and you should not expose yourself to them, as you would to your friends.
9. Learn to Let Things Slide
Sometimes, letting things slide is really useful. Naturally, this can be applied in situation where a hostile work environment is not harmful to you. If you are experiencing sexual harassment, you must do something about it, but if you’re simply bugged by a colleague, learn to detach yourself from the situation. Calling the lawyers and suing in some cases is just not possible!
8. Remind Yourself Why You’re There
When things get tough at work, we tend to forget why we’re there in the first place. Stress in the workplace can make life in the office a living hell and sometimes, you just need to take a deep breath and remind yourself why you’re there. What are the reasons you are working there? Why do you want or need this job? It will help put things into perspective.
7. Talk to Your Boss
Whenever you are in a hostile environment, be it at work, at school or at home, you should try to fix it. A person cannot thrive is such environment. In the workplace, the first person you need to talk to is your boss. They should know how to approach the situation. Muster up the courage and talk to them as soon as possible.
6. Find an Ally
Find someone who shares your opinions and your complaints. Even if you can’t do anything to change the situation you’re in, having someone to talk about it will help. If an ally simply cannot be found in your office, we recommend you “The Ten Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment” by T.D. Jakes. It’s a book that is going to be quite helpful to you, we guarantee.
5. Take a Break
If there is really nothing you can do about your workplace having negative elements in it, if it isn’t in your power to do something to change it, then all you can do is find an escape. Taking small breaks will help you handle the pressure. Take on a different working task, if you can and if it will give you a break from the hostile environment.
4. Stand Up for Yourself
Never let anyone push you around, even if you are afraid of getting fired. Unemployment is tough, but being harassed is even tougher. Know your limits and act upon them. Whenever you feel like reporting something would be necessary, do it! Do something to change the negative aspects in your life.
3. Educate Yourself
If you suspect that your workplace may be hostile, learn about how to identify a hostile work environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines harassment in the work place as follows:
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
After this short definition, the EEOC goes on to specify when exactly the harassment becomes unlawful. In short, when the harassment creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive work environment.
Offensive conduct does not include annoyances, isolated incidents that are not serious, and petty insults. Examples of offensive conduct include, but is not limited to, slurs, offensive jokes, physical assaults, ridicule and interference with work performance.
2. Seek Help
If you believe that the harassment that is taking place at your workplace constitutes as illegal, then we suggest you call on the law to help you out. Know your company’s policy well, then talk to attorneys who know harassment laws. File a lawsuit, if necessary, but whatever you do, do something about it. Talk to your employer, report the harassment, just don’t ignore it.
1. When All Else Fails, Quit
If you can’t fight them, don’t join them, quit! We know it’s tough out there, but you simply can’t live in a hostile work environment forever. Start searching for a job the moment you realize you can’t do anything to fix the issues at your current workplace. The most important thing you have is your health, and that is going to deteriorate fast if you continue to work in a hostile work environment.
Whether you live in Texas, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia or any other US state, know that there is an EEOC office around you where you could always file a complaint. What are your thoughts on harassment? Have you ever experienced a hostile work environment?