Philadelphia Employment Law News

Handling Difficult People is Key to Surviving a Toxic Workplace

Many job-related problems could be avoided if we knew how to manage difficult people. If we could nip the problem in the bud, then we wouldn't have the need to go to a lawsuit.

And even if an employment lawsuit is inevitable, there are still ways to arm yourself gracefully, while gathering the evidence needed for your lawsuit. The truth is that the grounds for a wrongful dismissal lawsuit start well in advance. For instance, maybe you have a difficult boss and that boss starts making your life a living hell.

But sometimes, these bosses might be sexist or racist and those issues direct their work behavior. You may have grounds for a lawsuit. But if you butt heads, your lawsuit might not be as easy for you to build. After all, the boss could allege that you were fired for a real reason, such as the inability to work on a team.

That’s called pretext. The employer can say that you were fired for a reason other than the discriminatory reason that you may allege in your lawsuit. So why give your boss a chance to set up pretext?

The best solution: Learn to cope with a difficult boss or difficult co-workers.

An article was recently published in Psychology Today, talking about how to deal with problem people that you can’t distance yourself from, such as your boss. The key to surviving these encounters? Prepare yourself in advance. Essentially, brace yourself.

The article points out that it’s considerably harder to deal with difficult people at work, since it involves getting your work done and being strategic.

Take the bully boss, for example. The article mentions the need to confront the bully directly, in a calm and professional manner. This becomes imperative, from a legal standpoint as well. If called out on work that you think you performed competently, it’s very important to address your alleged “mistake” in a calm manner, preferably over email so that you can have a paper trail.

But the key is to remain calm and professional. Bad behavior will cost you in a lawsuit, even of you’re not the one in the wrong. Companies have means of protecting themselves in many cases.

Individuals aren’t always that well armed. So, arm yourself.

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