Subjects of Disrespectful Behavior

What to do if you feel you are being subjected to disrespectful behavior

Do not ignore it

  • Do not feel that it is your fault or that you have to tolerate it
  • Many people ignore disrespectful behavior for fear of being labeled a troublemaker, but it is unlikely that the conduct will stop if you ignore it
  • The individual is often engaging in this behavior to try to exert control, so silence may be interpreted as acceptance

Insist that the person stop

  • In some circumstances, you might be able to ask the perpetrator to stop
  • If you wish, take a co-worker, friend, HR professional, or the University Ombuds with you to prevent the person claiming that you did not complain personally, leading them to believe that you did not object
  • You can do this in writing by outlining as clearly as possible what behavior you find offensive and the effect it has on you
  • If you feel unable to directly approach the person concerned, this does not imply that you consent to the behavior or prejudice any complaint you may wish to bring

Get support and try to resolve the problem informally

  • Talk about the problem with your supervisor, department management, HR professional, Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) consultant, or the University Ombuds
  • Contact someone, even when an incident occurs only once, and they may be able to suggest ways of resolving the problem

Collect evidence of the behavior

  • Keep a note of all relevant incidents, including dates, times, and places (it will be invaluable in proving your case if you make a complaint)
  • Get witnesses to provide factual evidence
  • If there are no witnesses, tell a colleague, your supervisor, department management, an HR professional, FEAP consultant, or the University Ombuds, and make a note
  • Keep copies of relevant documents, such as emails and other electronic information

Find out if the same person is disrespecting anyone else

  • Often, the individual will have a history of such behavior
  • You will gain confidence from discovering you are not alone
  • This can be very effective in demonstrating that there are wider issues that need to be addressed and will make your claims more difficult to dispute

Make a formal complaint

  • If you cannot resolve the problem by asking the person to stop or reporting it to a supervisor, then you should make a formal complaint for investigation
  • Use the Respect@UVA Complaint System

Get a resolution

  • After bringing the situation to the attention of Human Resources or management, a consultant will contact you to follow up on your complaint
  • Due to the confidential nature of disciplinary action, all of the details may not be shared
  • The focus is on changing your situation and stopping the disrespectful behavior