Tuesday, August 23, 2022

“Gaslighting” in the workplace

“That’s not how I told you to complete that project. Why did you do it that way? It’s all wrong.”

“Why didn’t you show up to the meeting? Of course I invited you.”

“Harassment complaint? You never made any harassment complaint.”

These are all examples of gaslighting in the workplace.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group denies another person's reality and causes that person to question himself or herself and his or her perceptions." It most typically happens when someone manipulates another into thinking their version of events didn't happen the way they believe they happened.

It’s psychologically damaging, as those who experience gaslighting may feel confused, anxious, or as though they cannot trust themselves. Its long-term effects include anxiety, depression, trauma, and low self-esteem.

Gaslighting is also bullying, and, if done because an employee belongs to protected class, it would also constitute evidence of an unlawful hostile work environment.

Like any other form of abuse, gaslighting has no place in any workplace. It should be part of your anti-harassment and respectful workplace training so your employees know how to recognize it and understand that it won’t be tolerated. If you become aware of gaslighting in your workplace, treat it as you would treat any other bullying, harassment, or other similar misconduct or mistreatment — investigate and take appropriate and reasonable corrective action.