The misconduct of employers and persons in higher positions in the workplace is nothing new and has been a shameful part of our society over the centuries. For most of that time, there was very little that a regular worker could do to counteract this behavior. It was because employment law has tended to favor employers and big corporations over employees. This did not leave much legal leeway to stand a chance in court when suing a manager over workplace misconduct.
Thankfully, the times have changed. As various legal cases and social movements, such as #MeToo, have shown, societies are progressing towards the more desirable model of fair and just communities where each individual can feel safe and certain that they can adequately protect their rights and freedoms.
Misbehaving superiors, whether in the area of sexual workplace misconduct, mobbing, or inadequate pay practices, can be taken to court and prosecuted for their crimes. There are, however, instances of unfair bosses who, while behaving inappropriately, are managing to legally and safely make their employees’ lives a living hell.
What can you do in those situations? When can you know for sure that your boss has crossed the line?
Emotional Detachment on Workplace Misconduct
If your manager or supervisor is a giant douchebag and does not do much more harm besides that, your strategy can be quite simple. Though It might be difficult to implement if you consider yourself more sensitive than the average Joe. Once you get on top of it, it can make your workdays much more bearable.
Detach emotionally. Reach deep within yourself. Consider that you owe nothing to the company you work for. You don’t owe anything even to the person being a mean and unfair supervisor.
Superiors with workplace misconduct tend to do so out of emotional immaturity or the willingness to take their past pains out on someone else. In some scenarios, the annoying actions of micro-abusive bosses are simply cries for help. Please take that too.
In many ways, mean and vicious managers are very similar to school bullies. Just like kids that pick on others, they, too, are probably behaving that way to deal with unresolved personal issues ineffectively. And just like the bullies, they will lose interest if you ignore them.
It might sound terrifying initially, but it makes much more sense once you ponder it. Directly confronting your boss about some workplace misconduct works particularly well. Especially if you feel they have a personal issue with you and don’t seem so unfair toward other employees.
Talking it out with your manager might yield some very unexpected results. If they seemed detached from you, unfriendly, and ignorant of your needs and requests, there might be a deeper reason behind it.
Your conversation might reveal the shortcomings the boss hesitated to tell you about. This is the reason for him to act differently towards you.
If carried out properly and with mutual respect, a confrontation with an unfair, mean, or inappropriate superior at work can come to a satisfactory conclusion. This will be an opportunity for growth on both sides.
Take It Up With Human Resources
Sometimes there is no peaceful way to resolve a conflict between yourself and a manager. This is when you should put all of your fears and doubts aside and report directly to HR. More severe cases of workplace misconduct, such as sexual harassment or threats, can only be worsened by now confronting the perpetrator and will intensify if ignored.
A sexual predator will take inaction as an invitation to push on with his advances. This is why it is important to bring similar cases to human resources. The human resource department, as an official investigation, should be launched for each instance of such workplace misconduct.
You should not worry about losing your job or falling out of favor in the company. If your claims are honest and backed by other employees’ testimonies, you are in the clear and might even be in for a raise as compensation.
Even if the manager has a team of great, expensive lawyers who will help him avoid legally facing responsibility, you could be offered a lucrative settlement deal in exchange for your silence.
There is no reason for criminal and inappropriate behavior to be present in the workplace. This is why you should never stay silent if you are a witness or a victim of such behavior. Positions of power have been exploited for illicit purposes for thousands of years. It should not be acceptable that they continue into the 21st century.