No matter what career field you choose, it is likely that sooner or later you will have to deal with a co-worker who if nothing else, rubs you the wrong way. In most cases, these types of conflicts easily resolve themselves, even if it take a little added effort on your part. However, in less than civil instances of conflict, something more may need to be done in order to resolve the problem.
When to Report
If you aren’t sure that the conflict you may be having with a fellow employee or co-worker consitutes as a problem or if it might be a minor conflict than start by asking yourself a few basic questions.
1. Is the issue(s) causing you sleepless nights?
2. Are you concerned that the issue may become violent in nature?
3. Has there been threats made against you? (physical or otherwise)
4. Do you suspect drug use?
5. Have their been repeated unwanted sexual advances?
6. Have you ever felt that you were in danger around said employee(s)?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, than you have probable cause to immediately report said employee(s) to your immediate supervisor. This type of behavior is unnacceptable and in some cases, illegal. Of course, there is always the matter of proof and if you are unfortunate enough to not have any witnesses to verify your claims than it can come down to “He Said, She Said.”
It can seem hopeless when you think that nothing can be done aside from quitting your job and moving away. That is not the case though and here is where you can step up and take control of the situation, even if its not wholly apparant that you are doing so. There are a few resources available to help you make the situation clear to those who have the power to make it stop.
How to Report
1. Documentation- A simple e-mail sent to your boss at the time of an incident, stating date and time and the contents of said incident can begin to create a pattern of behavior for your boss to see. You can retain these e-mails for your own use should you need them later.
2. Recording Device – For a few dollars you can pick up a small recording device, capable of picking up conversation from inside a jacket pocket or purse. Nothing says it better than when it comes from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
3. Find a witness – Confrontation should always be avoided if possible, but if you find yourself once again at the recieving end of a rant by said employee, try to get the attention of fellow employees.
4. Speak up, Speak out – When you respond to a co-worker, do it respectfully; yet firmly. You can say a lot with few words simply by starting your sentence with “I don’t appreciate….” or “Please get back to me when…”
Finally, if you feel that you have exhausted your options, take what you have and walk it into your boss’s office. Explain the situation clearly and try not to allow your emotions to get in the way. The point is to sound professional and not like you have a childish agenda against someone you work with. If going to your boss does not resolve the issue, than you may need to file a grievance with the company. Of course, it is a last resort, but in a tight job market it is essential that you handle yourself in an appropriate manner.