10 Ways to Cope with Unfairness at Work


While we all know that life is not fair, most of us expect to be treated equally while we are at work. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as many employers show preferential treatment to some employees while ignoring others.

Dealing with these issues can be challenging, but if you are experiencing work unfairness, there are several strategies that can help you cope.

1. Document

If you are being mistreated at work, documenting the incidents can be extremely helpful. Keep a record of your treatment, as this will help you to feel more in control of the situation. Should you need to take further action with HR, this information can be useful to have.

2. Speak up

If you’re being treated unfairly at work, speak up, but be sure to do it in a diplomatic manner. Do not ambush your supervisor. Instead, script what you will say to him or her, and practice so that you come off calm, clear, and concise. Rather than discussing the favoritism directly, ask for opportunities to grow and help out.

3. Focus on doing your job well

You can’t always control how other people treat you at work, but you can control your work performance. Continue to be professional and a team player. Do not allow unfairness or unhealthy favoritism to affect your professionalism or the quality you put into your work.

4. Maintain a good relationship with your coworkers

If you are being treated unfairly, it may be hard to work with your coworkers who are receiving better treatment. However, it is important to keep good relationships with your fellow employees.

It usually is not the fault of the favored employee that he is receiving special treatment, so try to maintain normal and professional relationships with all of your coworkers.

5. Know the law

Researching the employment laws of your state can also be important in coping with workplace unfairness. In some cases, the unfairness you experience could turn into bullying or harassment. In these severe cases, consulting with an attorney who specializes in employment law may be a good option.

6. Stop obsessive thoughts

Dwelling on the unfairness of your workplace will not do anything to change the situation. In actuality, it will affect your ability to make any changes since your energy will be wasted on focusing on the problem. Recognize that obsessive thoughts about the unfairness that you are experiencing are not helpful, and find more productive approaches to changing your situation.

7. Stay positive

If you are being treated unfairly at work, do your best to remain positive and proactive. Allowing favoritism to affect your morale will create a downward spiral.

Do not talk poorly about your boss to coworkers, as this will only make you look bad. Instead, keep a positive outlook and avoid bringing up the issue with your peers.

8. Be patient

In many cases, issues of workplace unfairness resolve themselves, so try to be patient. Your boss may realize that it is in his best interest to utilize the talents of the rest of his team, including you. Make sure that you’re ready to step in when your boss stops playing favorites.

9. Leave work stress at the office

Working in an unfair environment can be stressful, but it is important to keep that stress from spilling over into your personal life. Go to work, do your job well, and then leave work at the door when you punch out for the night. By keeping work stress at the office, you can allow yourself time to recharge while you are at home with your family.

10. Talk to HR

If you have exhausted all of your resources and options while trying to deal with workplace unfairness on your own, it may be time to call in Human Resources.

While it is not fun to be the tattletale, if you are still in a miserable work environment where nothing changes, your Human Resources representative will be a good resource to explain your options.

Workplace inequality and unfairness can make it difficult to go into work every day, but it is important to not let these feelings get to you. By taking a proactive approach and implementing some strategies, you can learn to cope with the unfairness that you are experiencing at work.