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Dealing With Toxic Co-Workers

Updated on May 27, 2016

Having a toxic co-worker can take a toll on you, physically and emotionally...

You are not alone! Toxic co-workers are like a noxious weeds, and just like noxious weeds there are ways to combat them before they completely take over. -- The best part? You can succeed without compromising yourself, any further than you have already been compromised! So before you pack-up, admit that you have been defeated, before you pack-up and move on, know there are other options for you to try!

If you open up a conversation about co-worker troubles and you will soon hear other stories from those around you. Harassing and bullying co-workers are all around us... They are a problem in society near and far, but they don't have to be!

If you are having to endure someone who is acting negatively in the work place there are things that you can do about it. Just don't, what ever you do, let them have the upper hand in this situation, they don't deserve it!

It would be easy if we could snap out fingers and have the problem resolved. The would would be a much easier place, but it isn't -- so we need to know how to deal with different and often difficult situations.

Gather your information and get the upper hand...


Where to turn for help

If it is a co-worker you are dealing with -- your boss is the place to go

If it is a contractor who is being the challenge -- request that your employer speak directly with his/her boss to address the issue(s)

If it is your employer -- go to your board or a business partner, if there is no one to turn to, you will have to contact your local labor board

If there was unwanted physical or sexual contact, or an illegal act -- RCMP are a must to contact -- sooner than later... If they are doing this to you, they are likely doing it to others too, you can be part of the solution to deal with the problem

If you are not sure where to go... Drop a line into the Google search engine and see if you can locate a forum... The advice of others can be valuable to help you figure out that next step. Remember, we all have our parts, or our roles that we partake in in every relationship that we have in our lives... Make your part count for the better by taking the appropriate action... If it isn't you it will be someone else. Odds are that there was someone before you who was suffering at the hands, mouth, or actions of the co-worker that you are now facing... If the person who was enduring your toxic co-worker before you stood up and took action, you wouldn't be where you are now. Lets make a difference for the better, for ourselves and for the people who will come after us!

Documenting issues at work

If you are going to take a journal or diary with you to work (which is very smart)

- Make sure that it locks... This can prevent someone from getting a peek at what you have documented...

TIP: Bathroom breaks are great for pulling out your journal and getting the 'incidents' down while it is still fresh...

Keep a journal - It is very likely you will have to attempt to recall dates, times and other details of the interactions... A small journal will be easy to carr


1. Keep a record of all of your grievances in a journal or day planner (aka a 'documenting book')

2. Update your 'documenting book' as soon as possible - the fresher the data being entered, the better detailed it will likely be to use at a later date

TIP: If you are bringing your 'documenting book to work' -- take a bathroom break and get the info documented asap

TIP: If you know you will not be able to get the information into your 'documenting book' write it on a piece of paper to enter it later

TIP: remember to write the date, time and any witnesses to the incident

3. When you have documented a minimum of five negative interactions, or covered a two week period go through with a highlighter and high-light the ones that stand out the most.

4. After highlighting, use a computer and do a very brief intro letter

ie: Feb 15/00

Attention: Mr. Employer

In Regards to: Ms. Jerk's inappropriate interactions

I hereby request that you deal with Ms/Mr. Jerk's inappropriate workplace practices, listed below are (# of) incidents of his harassment over the course of (time period).

((Use your own words that best describe what you need to relay -- this example is simply that, an example))

5. Now in a very brief, very pointed form, that is void of all emotion, lay out the highlighted entries from your 'documenting book' ~ Jan 22/00 @ 11:01 -- Ms. Jerk walked into a room and said 'don't you have somewhere better to be??' to me. (Ms. Sweet Lady was in the hall just outside the door and may have been witness to this)

6. Once you are done your point form list is now the time to let it all out. In a maximum of five or six sentences tell your employer the tole that 'Ms. Jerk's' bullying has had on you...

ie. Over the last year I have been being harassed, bullied and belittled by Ms/Mr. Jerk. While I am at work, i now feel as if I am walking on eggshells and try to avoid being in her/his presence -- to save myself any further degrading incidents. With the extreme stress that I have endured, am now suffering with sleep disturbances, anxiety and carry a high level of stress with me at work, always wondering when the next attack will be. I trust in you to resolve this issue, as I know that you do not tolerate behavior like what Ms/Mr. Jerk is displaying.

And sign off...

7. Now print two copies the letter (try a professional paper that will be hard to get lost in a pile), take one and seal it in an envelope and deliver it to your employer (or if your employer is the issue - to another authority) and keep the other for your records.

Tip #1

It there is more than one co-worker use a separate book for each


Is the person

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Tip #2

If you are bringing your 'documenting book' to work make sure it can lock


Who is the person at work giving you trouble

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Tip #3

Document the good too -- try using the right side of the book for you 'good' notes and the left side for the 'bad'... Also write down your response (good or bad) - you may need the info, and know, this book is just for you, no one else has to see it


Who has been there longer

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Is there a pattern to the Toxic people we face at work?

Please participate in the poles... We can use this knowledge in the future to make the most successful choices for our futures in determining where we might not want to be employed...

Finding the best voice you can

When you can find a voice with-in yourself to help resolve the issues you will be empowered! It can take a lot of work, and I mean A LOT of work to put your best foot forward... The rewards that can follow will be worth it!

How to Quit Your Job the Right Way
How to Quit Your Job the Right Way

Do it right and leave with a proud exit


Take this job and...


Quitting your job in an unprofessional manor can come back and bite you on the you know what!

If it comes down to the bottom line, and that bottom line is that you are out of options and it is time to pack your bags and move on -- try your best to bite your lip and stop your lips from speaking... You may need a reference from the employer that your are leaving and you will need your dignity!

Have faith that things will work out...

Keep the light burning -- It's hard to see in the dark
Keep the light burning -- It's hard to see in the dark | Source


Did you find this lens useful?

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Please share... - How did you deal with wo-worker trouble? What are you dealing with now? Any tips to share? No one is alone... We can put our heads together an

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I love how you explained dealing with co-worker issues at work. Mr. or Mrs. Jerk is such a cute way to put it across. Humor is a wonderful way to get the point across.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      I moved on to other employment. The local community being such as it is, the backbiting and undermining gossip is common place even outside of the workplace. When it's also the supervisor involved and they are not curbing or squelching the vicious talk that goes on behind people's back, I recognize the need to move on is necessary. Great lens. I've been doing some research into bullying recently.


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