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5 Things to Consider When Dealing with an Abusive Supervisor

PART I: Pre-Termination Counseling - Targeted AbuseTargeted Work AbuseEver get that feeling that you are being targeted at work, that your supervisor appears to be picking on you more than others, or that suddenly, nothing you do seems right?  Don’t ignore your instinct that something may be wrong.  You don’t have to fall in a protected category (age, race, gender, national origin etc.) to be suffering workplace harassment.  Just because your claims may not be actionable in court doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and protect yourself against an abusive employer.Here are 5 things to consider when dealing with an abusive supervisor:
  1. Stay calm; nothing fuels an already volatile situation more than getting upset.
  2. Ask for specifics and explanations of what the perceived deficiencies in your work are to better understand what your supervisor is upset about.  If that work product was a result of someone else’s work, explain that.
  3. Document your discussion with your supervisor with a confirming email explaining how the perceived deficiency was not your fault.
  4. If the situation continues to escalate, seek guidance and help from HR.  Document your discussions with your manager or HR either in an email, a journal or a memo made very soon after the conversation; make sure to date the document.
  5. For yourself, document instances where others in the department had the same or worse perceived deficiency and were not reprimanded by this supervisor, i.e. received some sort of preferential treatment while you continued to be treated badly.  Make sure you include details and dates and witnesses in your journaling.
 

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