As you become comfortable with being deemed an ‘essential employee’ in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re likely riding an emotional roller coaster, while trying to navigate the new normal and adapt to evolving mandates. You’ve overcome the initial surprise and have changed your daily habits to protect your safety as well as the safety of consumers and patients. It’s not an easy space to settle into as a cannabis employee, or a manager.
You’re probably feeling the effects of increased anxiety and pressure from having to come face-to-face with hundreds of strangers any given day, let alone pressure from management. You’ve probably even been challenged, mistreated or harassed at least once during these unprecedented times.
While there is no excuse for poor behavior from customers, peers, or superiors, there are ways to approach conflict in the workplace to ensure your success and wellness during this difficult time.
Try to resolve the issue
At the core of many conflicts is the lack of communication. Although discussing the issue at hand with your peer or manager may be uncomfortable, this is a necessary step to finding a solution and moving forward. Here are guidelines to consider when approaching the problem:
- Write down your concerns after the incident and how it made you feel.
- Request to speak to the other person in private when both of you can dedicate the attention needed to resolve the issue.
- Be clear and respectful in explaining what happened and how you’d prefer to be treated.
- Ensure the other person has listened to your issue by asking questions such as, “Do you understand why this made me feel this way?” or “Can we agree that this was not the appropriate way to address me?”
By bringing awareness to the issue through conversation, you can help bring light to how this person made you feel and will likely see immediate change. This is a highly recommended step in resolving the conflict if you feel safe approaching the person.
Understand your options
If after discussing the issue with the person and you feel there was no resolution provided or you’re still experiencing mistreatment, you can consider taking further steps.
First, assess the situation to understand the context and to define the formality of the issue. This will help you answer the question, “How would I like to see this resolved?” Then, go ahead and answer that question so you are prepared to relay your expectations if you choose to file an official report.
Next, request to review the Employee Handbook or access it directly, if available. Included will be the company’s policies toward harassment as well as instructions on how to file a report citing mistreatment. It’s important to understand what resources are available to you and how to move forward.
When you decide to proceed with filing an official report to upper management, it is important to do this right away. If you wait, it becomes more difficult for management to investigate the issue and provide proper solutions.
Documenting the issue in detail is very important. Include who was involved, what exactly was said or done, when it happened, and where the incident occurred in the facility. Be specific in your account of the incident.
HR or management will then take necessary steps to investigate the situation and understand all perspectives. This is an opportunity for the employer to help resolve the issue and provide support to all parties involved. Managers cannot retaliate against an employee for bringing forward a complaint.
If you have followed the guidelines above and feel that you are still being harassed or mistreated, call an employee hotline, if available (often referenced in your benefits offerings). Also, understand your employee rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.
There are resources at the state level to investigate allegations of harassment. The organization will investigate the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.
This is a difficult time for all and certainly a situation that requires compassion, emotional awareness and positive communication. You are working to provide medicine to those that need it most, and for that, we appreciate you!
“Just as any gem is polished by friction, I am certain to become more valuable through this day’s adversities.” – Og Mandino
This post originally appeared on Würk’s website titled “Employee: Tips for Conflict Resolution“
Note that the contents of this guide are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. Contact the Cannabis Workers Coalition for employee-side employment attorney referrals.