In your eagerness to be liked at a new job, you’ll likely find every possible coworker on Facebook and befriend them. At first, you’ll learn a lot from each coworker’s profile - viewing their photos, browsing their past posts and reviewing their overall online demeanors. With most coworkers, your online relationships will likely remain civil, even subdued, with each silently stalking the updates of the other.
However, if your in-office relationship with a coworker takes a negative turn, you may begin feeling the effects online. Often, coworkers view online conversations as outside the workplace realm and, as such, begin posting harassing comments towards those they don’t like in the office.
Here are four ways to deal with the situation if you’ve recently been targeted by a coworker’s harassing comments on Facebook or other social networks.
The first harassing online comment you receive from a coworker will likely be followed by uncertainty, worry and anger. Whether a coworker makes an inappropriate comment on your social network photos or posts a harassing message directly on your wall, don’t delete it. Rather, quickly take a screenshot as evidence in case the coworker later decides to take down the post. Even if you aren’t quite certain of the comment’s context or if it was meant as harassment, take a screenshot.
By taking screenshots of each comment, you’ll have solid evidence to back your harassment claims when reporting the problem to management.
The first instinct many people feel when harassed online is to fire back with equally as damaging comments. While you may see a response to harassment as standing up for yourself and of setting the record straight, management likely won’t view the response in the same manner. Rather, if possible, don’t respond to any type of online harassment by coworkers.
If you must respond to a comment, only do so in an upbeat tone. This will prevent the situation from spiraling downward and will prevent the guilty finger from being pointed in your direction.
File a Complaint
If a coworker’s online comments are making you uncomfortable, are affecting your workplace productivity or are blatant harassment, a complaint with management should be filed. Most companies now have social media policies that are designed to protect their workers from online harassment by coworkers. Again, by taking screenshots of the harassing comments and by not indulging the offender with back and forth online harassment, you should have a solid case for the complaint.
Unfriend the Coworker
Rather than continuing to put up with online harassment from coworkers, unfriend them. You may even need to go so far as blocking a coworker’s profile, depending on the situation’s severity. Any form of online harassment or bullying can carry through to your workplace productivity and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Online harassment among coworkers is a growing problem and is far more common than many realize. Whether an in-office feud carries through to the online realm or a coworker makes inappropriate comments on your online photos, document the case and take action if necessary. Also, wait to befriend new coworkers online at least until your in-office relationships are established. This alone can prevent major future issues.
Author Bio: Shayla Ebsen is a full-time freelance writer and graphic designer with more than seven years combined experience from her time in the corporate world and through her freelance work. Shayla’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in News/Editorial Journalism from South Dakota State University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication from the University of South Dakota. Learn more about Shayla and her services at shaylaebsen.com.