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Are You Being Used in the Workplace?

By Sonya Buck, Australia


You know the feeling.  It seems the more work you do, the more work that is given to you, and sometimes it’s obvious that your colleagues are not making the same contribution.


Here are some scenarios and tips should you feel you are in this situation:


If you feel you are not being paid the correct salary, check salary web sites or your industrial award, but ensure you take into account the rate of pay (for non award jobs) may be lower if you are located in a regional location.


Overworked and no holidays
You are not having the appropriate breaks, you work back constantly or have had your annual leave request denied time after time.  Talk to your boss, but firstly think about solutions to put forward to improve this situation like sharing work and better work processes.  Become familiar with your rights in regard to your leave entitlements.


Preferential treatment
We can all can recognise when bosses have a ‘favourite’ or your colleagues are receiving better treatment than you and this can be extremely frustrating.  This happens all the time in the workplace, but still you must ensure you are receiving the correct entitlements and depending on how serious the situation is, you may consider taking it further.


If you are going to discuss preferential treatment with your boss don’t say “Sarah always gets this…..” you are better off saying “I feel I am missing out on ……..opportunities” etc.


Boss dislikes you
Sometimes for no fault of your own the boss will dislike you.  If you know you are doing a good job, there could be a million reasons for this, all of them THEIR problem.  When this turns into unfair actions by your boss, then it will cause you problems.  Depending on how this is playing out (such as unfair performance reviews and unfair treatment), you may need to take this further with either your bosses boss, or your Human Resources department.


Know your rights
I can’t emphasise enough you must be familiar with your rights.  Whether it’s your employment contract, position description, company human resources policies, or industry award, you need be armed with this information before you discuss the situation with the boss or HR.


Use resources like Fair Work Australia and The Human Rights Commission if you are unsure or just need advice.  The Human Rights commission will also assist if you feel you are suffering any form of discrimination.


Speak with your boss
With all conservations, pick the right time to speak to your boss.  They aren’t going to be receptive if you pick their busiest day or when they are having a bad day.  Even better, make a time to speak to them and prepare what you are going to say.


Use ‘I’ statements when you talk to the boss such as “I feel………..” instead of making accusations, “You are being unfair about …….”


When you feel your job may be insecure particularly in tough employment times, you are particularly susceptible to falling into the trap of taking on too much work or tolerate and working environment you do not like.  At this time you may not feel that you can approach your boss to discuss this situation.


Remember, you do have rights and you can’t let your work affect your happiness and mental and physical health.  If the situation can’t be resolved, leave, a great employer is just around the corner.