We asked experts to discuss how to address a coworker who’s trying to sabotage her career.

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Here are their insights:


Damian Birkel

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CPA | President, Fong and also Partners, Inc.


I’m going to ar the adhering to advice right into 2 categories: Defensive Measures and also Offensive Measures.

Defensive Measures

Don’t complain to human being resources

I strongly advise that you don’t complain to your employer’s human being resources (“HR”) department, an especially if your harasser is in a place of affect or power within the company.

Although HR ostensibly exist to assistance employees, the reality is that when HR steps in to address a workplace harassment issue, its job is to defend the employer, no the employee. Therefore, if her harasser is a high-performing jerk the is valued by your employer, chances are your HR complaint will actually make things worse for you.

Because you’ve common your thoughts v them around the harassment, this information might be used versus you by your employer if they take it his side. Which bring me to my following suggestion…

Don’t phone call anyone what she thinking

When you’re handling harassment, execute not under any circumstances call anyone at work-related what you’re thinking. Don’t comment on your harassment case with any work colleagues and don’t make any comments about your harasser’s skilled competence or character.

Keeping a poker face when enduring harassment might be particularly difficult for civilization with small emotional control, however it’s necessary. If your harasser and your employee elicit one emotional solution from you, you might unintentionally disclose your intentions in taking care of the harassment. You want to save them turn off guard.

Employers room wary of being sued and also if castle clue in on her intentions (for example, acquisition legal action), lock will usage every measure against you come invalidate her accusations.

Review your employment record at HR

One obvious tactic an employer can use (or abuser, if he wake up to be her manager) is come tarnish your expert reputation. They have the right to refer to any an unfavorable performance evaluate in your HR record as a counter offense. Therefore, that prudent that you obtain a copy that your paper and review it thoroughly.

If you have an impeccable employed record, then great. If not, climate you have to anticipate that any type of blemishes in her record could be used against you.

Don’t usage the office to interact to the outside

Do not usage your company’s computer or telephone mechanism to interact to the outside. For example, if she scheduling a consultation meeting with an employment lawyer, execute it on her own personal smartphone or laptop (with your very own data arrangement – don’t use the company’s wi-fi).

This is crucial because, under most employment agreements, her employer has the appropriate to review any communications girlfriend made making use of their equipment. Secondly, her employer may be able to (legally) surveil her e-mail communications or phone call conversations.

Review your office communications & society media

Have you e-mailed any semi-offensive joke to her office colleagues in the past? were you involved in heated e-mail or phone call conversations v colleagues or customers throughout a poor day at the office? maybe you’ve exchanged part unflattering gossip around your superiors through your colleagues?

Maybe girlfriend posted part racy photos of you yourself on Instagram or Facebook and shared them with some job-related buddies? maybe you’ve tweeted part controversial political see on Twitter in the run-up to the last commonwealth election?

I think you gain the gist of what ns saying here: all these deserve to be used against you by her employer come besmirch your an individual character. Therefore, you need to review these completely in anticipation that they might be used versus you.

Offensive Measures

Watch the jerk’s every move

Watch your harasser’s every move — what that says, what that does and also whether he is harassing other employees. And also if the is, find out that they are — you might need their assistance further down the line. Once he’s harassing you, make a keep in mind of any type of witnesses come the harassment. Store a thorough journal of your observations.

So now you’ve reviewed your HR file (Defensive measure #3), reviewed her office e-mails and also social media (Defensive measure #5), and also made a newspaper of her abuser’s every relocate (Offensive measure up #1). Save all this information in a document and in a for sure place; it will certainly come in handy because that what come next.

Consult v an employed staff lawyer

Review your instance with an employed lawyer and also show the the info you’ve gathered in protective Measures #3 and also #5 and also Offensive measure #1. It’s likewise important the you have actually your lawyer evaluation your employment contract for any kind of restrictive covenants that might prevent girlfriend from expose the details of her abuse to any type of outside party.

If you have witnesses come the harassment or recorded evidence choose emails, texts, etc. And there is nothing that your employer deserve to use against you after ~ reviewing the details you gathered DM #3 and also #5, climate a lawyer might conclude the you have actually a strong case against your harasser and your employer. In the case, a lawyer will commonly recommend that you clear up with your employer under terms that will be favorable to you.

On the other hand, you may have done some points that you regret which may have been recorded in DM #3 and also #5. Your lawyer may suggest that these deserve to be used against you by your employer in settlement negotiations. And also if settlement negotiations fail and you decide to sue, they might be used versus you in the attendant legitimate proceedings.

In any kind of event, both you and your lawyer will have to weigh the risks of each option (i.e., settle or sue) and also the prices versus benefits of every option.

Go on payment leave

Being harassed or bullied deserve to be a psychologically scarring experience. As such, friend should think about meeting through a medical or psychological health experienced to assess her health. If her employer has a policy of paid leaving or short-term impairment policy, then, by every means, take full advantage of it.

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This will offer you an opportunity to take a rest from your harasser if you’re still acquiring paid. Moreover, it will certainly make the jerk look bad in the eyes of her employer because it need to be evident by currently that he was the reason of her health concerns which are currently costing the employee money and lost productivity.