My Sarcastic Co-worker

Question:

Can I file a suit against my co-worker who often makes sarcastic remarks every time he’s around?

Signed,

Disgusted


Answer:

Dear Disgusted:

Yes, you can file a suit if you want to lose and waste money. Anyone can sue for almost any reason but a case against sarcasm will likely be dismissed even if you find an attorney who would take it. Ours site doesn’t provide legal advice, and therefore if you are really so disgusted at your sarcastic co-worker that you want to sue, do consult an attorney.

Rather, you have some options: · Steel yourself by knowing that you are a more civil person than your co-worker who wants to put you down. Ignore him. Don’t allow yourself to become obsessed with this sarcasm. Don’t gossip about it. Don’t become sour. Attend to doing good work in spite of him. · Get a sense of humor and be ready with a few cute remarks in response to his sarcasm, such as stand-up comics do to hecklers. · Confront him on-the-spot the next time he is sarcastic, say, “Sam, those remarks are mean. I don’t like them. They don’t help. If you don’t like something that I do, you’ll have a much better chance of preventing it if you just say what you want. Otherwise, shut your mouth.” Those, who have a pattern of putting-down others, just as those who have a habit of swearing, probably won’t stop, but it is worth a try. · Make a log of his remarks. Actually put them in writing. This might show them for their mean-spirit or might give you way to show your children or someone outside what you have to put up with. Or better still, you then have data to say, “Sam, I’ve asked you to keep you sarcasm to yourself and if you don’t I’m will speak to our supervisor about you. What do you want me to do? Will you go with me to our supervisor or Human Resources to hear my complaint of your sarcasm? ” If and when you to complain upward, stress that “incivility” is not conducive to a productive workplace. · Approach this indirectly; focus on what you and your work group might do to improve the quality: cut wasted supplies, defects, wasted energy, wasted time, and wasted money. Put your mind to ways the company might be more profitable. To do this, you might persuade your supervisor to be a coach, a coach that treats all of you as a team that wants to win. In short, you can help shape a work team that is quality minded. If you can do that, you should be able to take sarcasm in stride and treat it as incidental to what really matters to make your workplace a good place to work; one that is profitable in the face of a bad economy. · Ask for a transfer. Explain to your manager or Human Resources that you want to do good work and that Sam has a habit of making nasty, sarcastic remarks. If this doesn’t work and you can’t take it, quietly job hunt. There are jobs elsewhere where co-workers are respectful. Check out our archives to learn that your co-worker is a habit in common with others and also see my associate Workplace Doctor Tina Lewis Rowe’s site. She has much to say about coping with disagreeable people such as When Someone At Work Is Upset With You http://tinalewisrowe.com/2010/01/31/someone-upset-with-you-2/ Your frustration with your co-worker is understandable. It doesn’t make coming to work pleasant, so what will you do? You have options. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that makes sarcasm unacceptable.

William Gorden