Harassment

Question:

I have this problem at my work. A young girl keeps picking on me, trying to get me into trouble. How do I get her to stop? She only picks on me because I have a hearing disability, and it is keeping me from doing my job.

Signed,

Picked On


Answer:

Dear Picked On:

Work is stressful enough without someone trying to get you in trouble. Log what this young girl does. Date when, where, and what she does and note why. Briefly describe the “picking” words and action of this coworker. Specifically quote her words regarding any reference to your disability, if any. Also note how this distracts you from your job. Also note how you have responded to her remarks. Do this for a week or two. Now you are prepared to confront her or rather you can go to your supervisor if she is really mean. I recommend confronting a person first. Confronting her: You can try different ways, such as: “Emily, what are you trying to say? Or am I doing anything that prevents you from doing your job?” If she accuses you of something you have not done, you could ask her to stop bothering you and/or ignore her. Or you might say, “We are coworkers, Emily. I want to help you when needed and I hope you will help me. Why do you try to get me in trouble?” Hopefully you two can learn to help rather than frustrate each other. Have two copies of your log and if it seems wise include that in your conversation. Talking with your supervisor: You can also take your log with you when speaking with your supervisor. When there is conflict, you can secretly talk with your boss, but I prefer that you tell Emily, “Because it seems you and I are not working cooperatively, I think I need to speak to our supervisor. Do you want to come with me? Possibly we can get advice on how we might prevent further trouble.” In such a meeting it would be wise to get a clearer job descriptions of who does what and when and if you two must work together. Don’t hesitate to say how Emily seems tries to get you in trouble and if and when she does this because of or to make fun of your hearing disability. Also decide on a trial period and a time to review how well she and you can live up to what the supervisor advises. You may not be able to be friends, but you don’t have to take abuse. Civility and cooperation are two needed elements in a workplace. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. By that I mean both Emily and you need to feel valued, respected and proud of your selves at work. Will you keep me posted on what you elect to do and how it works or fails?

Might these suggestions make sense?

William Gorden