Career Advice

Overcoming Workplace Mistreatment: A Guide to Resilience

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Unfortunately, unfair treatment in the workplace is something that many of us will face at some point. We can be mistreated for a huge variety of reasons. You might be treated badly because of your gender, age, or level of experience. You may be given unfair treatment because of your sexuality, religion, or because of a disability. Sometimes, it’s just because someone higher up has decided that they don’t like us. This unfair treatment can be subtle. You might notice little comments, or wonder if you are missing out on work or promotions because of something that has nothing to do with your ability to do your job. On other occasions, it is more overt. 


  • Recognize the Mistreatment: Acknowledge the situation and understand that experiencing mistreatment at work is not a reflection of your professional worth or capabilities.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all incidents, including dates, times, and any witnesses, which can be crucial for any future actions you may take.
  • Seek Support: Reach out to trusted colleagues, friends, or a professional counselor for emotional support and guidance on how to handle the situation.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with workplace laws and your company’s policies on harassment and discrimination to understand your legal standing.
  • Address the Issue: If possible, communicate directly with the person involved or bring the issue to the attention of HR or management in a professional manner.
  • Focus on Self-Care: Prioritize your mental and physical health through activities like exercise, meditation, or hobbies that help relieve stress.
  • Build Your Network: Strengthen your professional network as a support system and to explore potential opportunities outside your current workplace.
  • Consider External Help: If internal resolution isn’t possible, look into options like speaking with an employment lawyer or contacting relevant authorities.
  • Plan Your Next Steps: Whether it’s seeking a new job or finding ways to improve your current work environment, create a plan for moving forward.
  • Learn and Grow: Use this experience as a learning opportunity to build resilience and develop strategies for handling similar situations in the future.

While unfair treatment in the workplace is horrible and not something that anyone should have to face, fortunately, more is being done to highlight it than ever before, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is there to offer help and support. 

But, unfair treatment, whether it’s sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination or bullying, sticks with us. Even once the matter has been dealt with, it’s hard just to carry on. You may doubt yourself or your skills. You may even blame yourself. Here are some tips to help you bounce back. 

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Get the Help and Support That You Need

There are support groups and forums to help with any feelings or worries that you may have. You should also seek support from colleagues and the HR department or representative if you have one. Outside of work, speak with your friends and family, and even consider counseling if you think that it will help you to move forward. 

Don’t Accept Blame

Blame is hard to shrug off, but fairly easy to attribute. Workplaces are terrible for gossip and rumors, but try to ignore them when you can. You’ve been treated unfairly; it’s not your fault. 

Consider Making Some Changes

You certainly don’t have to leave your job because of unfair treatment, and no one in the workplace should be suggesting it. But, in some instances, you may decide that a fresh start is for the best. Don’t think of this as running away, think of it as moving forward. 

Be The Bigger Person

It can be hard to be the bigger person, and all too easy to shout and rage. But, sinking to their level is a mistake that won’t make you feel better in the long term. Get on your moral high horse, and stay there, go through the appropriate channels to report unfair treatment.

Look for Positives

Has anything good come out of your situation? Have you learned that you are stronger than you thought? Have you developed new friendships in the workplace, with people who have supported you? Are you proud of how you dealt with it? Look for the positives and hold on to them when you are feeling down. 

Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Don’t assume that everyone is out to mistreat you, or that other people doubt you. Don’t think that this will happen again. Avoid these kinds of conclusions and keep an open mind about your future. 

Even with these tips, and all of the support that you may receive, you must give yourself time to process. Don’t expect things to go back to normal, straight away. Give it time.

Employment and Employee Rights
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