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What to Do If You’re Being Blackmailed at Work

Silence Gesture by young woman, What to Do If You’re Being Blackmailed at Work

There are many ways that someone can blackmail you at the workplace. Maybe you made a mistake at work that someone promised to help you cover up. Or it can be a secret of a personal nature that is being used against you. Whatever error you made, you don’t deserve to pay for it over and over again. You don’t have to live in fear. You can take steps to fix the situation.

Talk to someone you trust. Is there a co-worker you are certain you can confide in? Better yet, is there is someone in a position of authority, a manager or a member of HR, you feel you can talk to? If not, consider talking to someone outside of work. Getting advice from a third-party can make a big difference. Sometimes you’re not seeing the situation as clearly as you think you are.

Get some perspective. What are the consequences if this secret comes out? Be honest with yourself. Everyone makes mistakes at work every now and then. It may be better to just come clean about whatever it is than to consider the blackmailers requests.

Don’t make things worse. It can be tempting to want to take action against the person who is blackmailing you. This is not a good idea. In the end, it can harm you just as much, if not more, than the other person. Stay calm. Don’t make any rash decisions.

Keep a record. After the initial request, make a note of what was said and when it happened. This can be valuable for making your case later. Don’t trust your memory. Get it down on paper.

Talk to your union rep. If you belong to a union, this is a valuable resource. They may be able to help you protect your interests and take action against your blackmailer.

Go to HR. It may seem like what the blackmailer is asking you to do or not do is better than the alternative, but remember, they can come back and blackmail you again. Don’t get in a cycle that you can’t get out of. Get help. Of course, if the situation is very serious, you may want to seek help elsewhere.

Go to the police. Blackmail is illegal. If you are being threatened with physical harm or being extorted for money or anything else of value, you can likely bring a legal case against your blackmailer. Not sure? Consider talking to a lawyer about your situation.

Dealing with blackmail is never easy. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid putting yourself or your company in a compromising position.
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Tags: office-culture, relationships-at-work, at-work, work-discrimination, tips, advice, career-advice, in-the-workplace
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