This reader note reminded me that just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re immune to a toxic work culture.
Before Covid-19 sent us to work from home, my boss had issues with creating a hostile work environment (i.e. complaints from multiple employees to HR). Also, my boss has had mandatory training and had to go to mandated counseling with another one of their direct reports. As a result, the company started to restructure the department, essentially stripping my manager of their supervisory duties.
There’s been a delay in the restructuring. The company is blaming it on Covid-19, which is understandable to an extent. However, my boss has continued their behaviors, including belittling workers. I leave our one-on-one Zoom meetings feeling like garbage.
Currently, we currently do not have a date to physically return to the workplace. What standing do we employees have against this bully? Any advice would be super helpful and appreciated as I am at my wits end.
I don’t want to dismiss the term “hostile work environment” here, but this reader note mentions bullying and toxic behavior more, so I’m going to initially assume that the boss is a big jerk. We’ve written before on HR Bartender about some things that employees might want to consider when working in a toxic work environment.
My Manager is Threatened by Me – An HR Bartender reader writes that they work for a manager who is threatened by them. We discuss how to deal with workplace issues.
How to Tell If Your Boss Is a Bully or Just Tough – We should not ignore bullying claims when a boss just says they are giving tough love. We need to make an objective and honest evaluation.
While there’s nothing wrong with expressing your concerns to HR (in fact, you should), some employees try to handle the situation on their own before getting others involved. Here are a couple of articles that might help.
How to Confront a Trash Talking Manager – What can an employee do when they hear their manager trash talking them behind their back? Our friends from the law firm of Foley & Lardner offer some advice.
Ethics: Taking Credit For Someone Else’s Ideas – Ethics in the workplace is important to employees. It builds trust and engagement. Here are some tips to create an ethical culture and hold others ethically accountable.
Even when an employee does all the right things, there are times when either 1) the situation escalates to harassment and a “hostile work environment” OR 2) it’s unbearable and others need to get involved. While I hope it doesn’t get to this point, employees might find these two articles helpful when taking next steps.
Reporting Workplace Bullying to HR – HR needs to know when bullying takes place in the workplace. So, when any employee knows about workplace bullying, they should report it directly to HR.
Employees: When Should You Lawyer Up – Employees may need a lawyer at some point in their career. To help understand why and when you may need a lawyer, these legal experts offer some guidelines.
I know there’s a lot to unpack here. These types of situations are always complex and have many unique nuances. The key to successfully navigating the situation is UNDERSTANDING what’s happening, DETERMINING what you want as a result, and COMMUNICATING the matter to the right people. And that applies whether you’re working in the office or at home.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Salt Lake City, UT14