Nobody likes to be treated unfairly, and how you're treated in the workplace is a critical element of your employment. It affects a number of things, including the following:
That list alone illustrates the importance of this topic. However, there are a couple of aspects regarding this issue that we must address.
First, as you may have noticed, the word "perceived" is included in the title of this blog post. We've included it for a reason: just because you perceive that somebody is treating you unfairly does not mean that is actually the case. Remember; reality is not reality. Perception is reality. We'll elaborate on this point later in the blog post.
Second, there is a difference between being treated unfairly and being harassed. Harassment is a more serious infraction, and depending upon the circumstances, should be reported to your superior and investigated by management. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, physical harassment, verbal abuse, and/or sexual harassment.
For the purposes of this blog post and clarification, though, the perception of unfair treatment is separate from the many forms of harassment.
Below are steps for combatting perceived unfair treatment in the workplace:
#1 - Make sure that the treatment IS unfair.
In some instances, because of miscommunication or a host of other reasons, people believe that they're being treated unfairly when that really is not the case. Gather as much information as possible and reflect upon whether or not the treatment is truly unfair.
#2 - Be calm about the situation.
Emotions can get the best of you, especially when you believe that you're being mistreated in some fashion. That's why it's important to keep a level head and calmly assess the situation as objectively as you can. Letting your emotions dictate your actions can have disastrous results, and you certainly don't want to make things worse than they already are.
#3 - Address the situation in a professional manner.
If you believe that somebody has wronged you or slighted you, approaching them directly is the best course. However, as we've already pointed out, you should be calm and professional in your approach. This is the best way to resolve the problem and ensure that you have a good working relationship with the person in the future.
#4 - Voice your concerns with management (if merited).
Of course, you might take all of these steps, only to discover that the treatment is, indeed, unfair and that the person is not sorry for their behavior, nor willing to change it. If this is the case, then you will have to take the next course of action, which is to speak with your manager or supervisor about what's been happening.
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