Targets of workplace abuse have told me that when they reported their experiences to Human Resources, the workplace abuse generally got worse. Advocates said:
HR is there to protect a company's legal interests, not the worker. As soon as a you go to HR [about workplace abuse], you can expect things to get worse because you have just given them notice they need to get their ducks in a row and get rid of you so you can't document anymore. It's better to quietly go to an employment lawyer who will tell you if you have a case, tell you how to document, and act as your advocate when you have a viable case.
HR gets their paycheck from the company, not you. They are not your advocate.
Going to Human Resources can be as effective as doing nothing, if not worse.
It is important to note that many HR professionals are targets of workplace abuse themselves.
What do you do instead? Advocates most commonly reported that leaving the organization was the most effective (and often the...
Plaintiffs often look to law or organization policy to object to management decisions, especially with new managers feeling threatened by high performers. They observe race and/or gender bias and attempt to resolve it through their employers’ internal channels: meetings with HR or higher-ups or ethics hotlines. Sometimes employers analyze and tackle claims at the source and help managers learn from mistakes to prevent future cases. Most of the time, they either assume managers handle the claim or simply don’t investigate or investigate only to understand if the employee has a legit legal claim and to re-position the claim as a miscommunication and meritless.
Because of this encouragement to report problems, plaintiffs report surprise to hostile reactions from employers when they report, assuming they will be receptive. With no resolution or with termination — and without awareness of the asymmetry of power in the workplace and legal system — employees contact...
Let's face it: abusers at work rarely face consequences for their abusive behaviors. More often than not, targets get dismissed, discounted, or flat-out ignored, which of course sides with abusers. Top-level executives most often support higher level managers in the name of preserving their team to work in the direction of their company goals and preventing liability by admitting fault.
But in choosing to support abusers and leave targets unprotected, employers actually work against their own self-interests. When they fail to hold abusers accountable, employers create an increasingly toxic culture, emboldening abusers and sending their top performers to their competitors.
Sadly, many employers protect abusers by either ignoring complaints or conducting sham investigations, having no interest in correcting a problem that doesn't serve them in the long-term.
Take Your Dignity Back
If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life,...
Often jealous of their high-performing targets, abusers gaslight them, aka treat them like they're crazy to gain more power over them. Targets feel traumatized when their expectations of fairness are met with complete unfairness and smearing of their character. Then others come to believe the target is the problem, compounding the harm, through these methods:
When targets aren’t believed
Studies show it’s honesty and integrity that often put a bullseye on a targets’ backs. Yet in this victim-shaming culture,...
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