Worker de­scribes toxic work en­vi­ron­ment

The Observer (Sarnia) - - LIFE - Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy AMY DICK­IN­SON

Dear Amy:

I work in a toxic en­vi­ron­ment, and my boss hates me. He talks about how he wanted some­one else in my po­si­tion, and is up­set that he didn’t get to pick the per­son he wanted for the job. He goes out of his way to cor­rect me when I speak, in­ter­rupts me and screams at me in front of my co-work­ers. He goes for days at a time with­out speak­ing to me. My boss walks in and greets ev­ery­one ex­cept me, and leaves with­out say­ing good night.

He never tells me when he is go­ing to be out of the of­fice. I am his as­sis­tant and have to han­dle his work when he is out. If I check to see if he is com­ing in, I am be­ing “nosy,” and my co-work­ers be­come se­cre­tive around me. He makes pas­siveag­gres­sive com­ments within earshot, and makes fun of me.

My co-work­ers and other man­agers join in and have started to also ig­nore me and be­come ob­nox­ious, like scream­ing while I am try­ing to work, in­ter­rupt­ing me or whis­per­ing while I am around. Some of them flat-out stop their con­ver­sa­tions when I pass them or laugh when I walk by.

The only feed­back I get is from a co-worker who made a com­ment about how a per­son has to “have a sense of hu­mour” in this en­vi­ron­ment.

It’s a re­ally hor­ri­ble en­vi­ron­ment — a good ol’ boys’ club — so the higher-ups don’t care, and HR is nonex­is­tent.

Is there any way to re­solve this, or should I just leave? — WOR­RIED WORKER Dear Wor­ried:

What you have de­scribed is the essence of a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the Equal Employment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion, the treat­ment you de­scribe is in vi­o­la­tion of Ti­tle VII of the Civil Rights Act, which makes it il­le­gal to dis­crim­i­nate against a per­son on the ba­sis of race, colour, re­li­gion, sex or na­tional origin. The law also pro­tects you from re­tal­i­a­tion if you com­plain about dis­crim­i­na­tion or par­tic­i­pate in an EEOC pro­ceed­ing (for ex­am­ple, a dis­crim­i­na­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion or law­suit).

You can re­search your rights on the EEOC web­site: (eeoc. gov), to see if you want to try to take ac­tion against your em­ployer. At the same time, you should un­der­take a job search. I hope you find a dif­fer­ent job in a more wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

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