Believe it or not, victims of abuse and harassment often have a hard time telling whether they are, in fact, being abused.
It could be that most of them want to turn a blind eye to the sad and painful reality that they are currently experiencing, a.k.a. the “out of sight, out of mind” type of mindset. There are also those who cannot fathom the fact that abuse can happen to them, so they brush it off thinking it isn’t something serious. There are also those who simply believe in the good in people and try to justify their actions with rationalizations that they find easier to accept (read more).
But here’s the thing: There are bad people out there. There are people who wouldn’t think twice about hurting you, harassing you, or putting you at a clear disadvantage if it means that they can make themselves feel better (whatever that means for them). And even if these people didn’t start out this way and only became abusive because of how life treated them, it is not your responsibility to put up with their misbehavior and abuse. It’s also definitely not your responsibility to fix them.
Your responsibility is only towards yourself.
You need to make sure that you always come first no matter what the situation or who you are up against. You are responsible for keeping yourself safe – physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. However damaged or problematic someone is has nothing to do with you; it is none of your business. Your only concern should be on how to protect yourself from such people.
If you have a hunch that you are a victim of someone’s abuse in the workplace, we’re here to help you confirm it. Here are 5 signs you should go seek legal help.
You Are Being Verbally Or Physically Attacked
Physical and verbal abuse is never okay inside a workplace. Physical abuse is easy to detect and to provide evidence for as there is usually a physical trace of violence in the form of bruises, cuts, blunt force trauma, etc. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, is much more complicated but equally as damaging, if not more.
Verbal abuse is when a coworker, manager, or employer harasses you psychologically by using disrespectful language (profanity), making snide remarks, and/or putting you in situations where they can publicly shame you for acts that you may or may not have done inside the company. Both physical and verbal abuse can have long-term psychological effects so they have to be taken seriously. If you find yourself on the receiving end of such attacks, seek legal help.
You Are Receiving Unfair Treatment
In this case, “unfair” would mean being treated in a way unlike other people in the workplace that puts you at a clear disadvantage. An example would be not being allowed to go on paid leave even when it states in your contract that you are allowed to do so just because your manager doesn’t agree with your sexual orientation. Or, you are not considered for promotions or salary increases even when all your peers have advanced up the ladder just because you’re not Caucasian.
Unfair treatment or workplace discrimination may not always be apparent so further investigation will be required. However, if proven true, it can also be grounds for legal action under the anti-discrimination law.
You Are A Target Of Unwanted Sexual Advances
Sexual abuse is a very common type of harassment in the workplace. One would think that as professionals, people know better than acting like animals but sad to say that there are those who just can’t keep their hands to themselves. Receiving suggestive comments that are uncalled for, being touched in places when they absolutely have no business to and coercing you into going to unofficial meetings outside the office are all acts that can be considered sexual abuse.
If you think that one of your superiors or seniors at the job are using their influence or position to coerce you into accepting their unwanted sexual advances, know that this is a form of harassment and you should seek the help of a professional sexual harassment attorney.
You Are Made To Believe That They’re Not Doing Anything Wrong
Oh, and we’re not done with mind games yet. Another thing abusers tend to do is make you feel guilty for thinking that they’re doing anything to you so they twist their words and their actions so you also doubt whether the feelings you’ve had before or the words you thought you heard were all true. In other words, they’re also masters at gaslighting and making you question your recollection of the abusive event.
If they do something to harass you and make up for it afterwards by giving you a half-baked apology or compliment, you should recognize that as part of the abusive behavior. They are not completely oblivious to their own actions, and they also fear that you might get fed up at some point and report their behavior so they try to confuse you by giving you mixed signals. Don’t fall for it, especially if the abuse is recurring. If it happened twice, it’ll happen a third time – don’t just sit and wait for it.
You Are Being Threatened with Your Job Security
Lastly, if they can’t manipulate you into doing what they want or to put up with their harassment, they will try to hit you where it hurts the most. And when it comes to workplace abuse, what they usually threaten you with is your job security. This is especially true when your abuser has considerable influence over your job (i.e., they’re your manager, supervisor, or employer). Learn more about power abuse here: https://www.business.com/articles/psychology-of-power-abuse/.
Sure, the job market out there is congested, and finding work isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but you should never compromise your well-being and put up with workplace harassment just to keep your position. Don’t be afraid and take legal action. The law is kind to those who are in the right.