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Part: IV People Who Ask Too Much > When Nothing Seems to Work, It's Time to Go ...

Chapter 23. When Nothing Seems to Work, It's Time to Go Legal

Sometimes things simply don't work out. You've done everything you can to solve a workplace problem as an employee, co-worker, or boss. As an employee, you've repeatedly tried to explain, open up channels of communication, apologize for perceived wrongs, clarify what your boss wants, or otherwise improve relationships. As a co-worker, you've tried to meet another employee more than halfway, but still he or she disrupts your work and screams at you. As a boss, you've tried to be extra diplomatic in telling the employee what he or she did wrong and what you expect, and you've tried to be understanding in listening to problems, but the excuses continue. Thus, nothing seems to be working, no matter how many conflict resolution or problem solving strategies you try and you are facing a workplace that might be considered a hostile working environment or one that borders on harassment. So what then?

Unfortunately, there are times when you can't work out problems through non-legal methods. Ideally, first do everything you can to reach an amicable solution, taking into account your concerns and those of the other party in the present situation. But after repeated failures, if you think the situation is hopeless and feel it's time to give up, it may be time to go legal—and that means getting strategic and tough. As they say, "choose your battles" so you don't end up fighting too much, particularly in hard to win situations. But once you decide to engage in a battle, do so to WIN—using the best strategy you can, whether you go it alone, turn to a union or trade association rep, or hire an attorney.


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