ABA Journal


ABA Journal Podcast

Jerks at Work: How to Deal with Difficult Colleagues

Apr 2, 2012, 01:30 pm CDT


So the ABA email said, "Justifiable Homicides Rise; How to Deal with Jerks at Work; . . ." as if dealing with jerks at work involved justifiable homicide.

I hope that was just an unfortunate juxtaposition of subjects covered.

By Paul the Magyar on 2012 04 02, 5:52 pm CDT

Call em out, settle it old school.

By John on 2012 04 06, 10:10 am CDT

It is important for employers, including law firms, to ensure they enforce their own rules and prevent any one department from deteriorating into anarchy due to a few characters who believe they are entitled to behave like hooligans. Lit tech, IT, or document review centers can develop an atmosphere of class warfare where a few hooligans may fail to respect the values, interests, and professionalism of others, speak openly of their disdain for partner/lawyers, and believe they can impose their idea of culture on the department and bully those who don't wish to go along with them.

There is nothing wrong with professionals and HR taking action to ensure that (to use an old cliche) the inmates are not running the asylum and the policies they have established to ensure compliance with local and state law are in force.

By Anonymous on 2012 04 06, 2:43 pm CDT

I wish I had read this two years ago. I'm finally leaving a really toxic environment, one in which our boss takes retribution against us if one of his bosses compliments us. My boss has even place false and negative information in my departmental portfolio. And when I took proof of this to the top dog, he gave it to my boss...during one of their poker games. After two women in our office had heart attacks within the same year, I decided that I should leave before I was next. My job ends in another month. But, now the same boss has decided to do a last minute performance review of me so that he can put more bad and false info in my folder. There's nothing I can do but hope that potential employers talk to my prior bosses. I have a 20 year record of integrity, success and achievements. Hopefully, potential employers will believe them and not him.

By Phillis Dent on 2012 04 07, 8:44 pm CDT

Crude, direct, but surprisingly effective. These were mny remarks to an overbearing partner at a law fiorm were I worked in the 80's. He was a first class bully, other associates were simply terrified of him, and he was the subject of constant complaints. I was a 7th year asspciate, up for partner, and I refused to back down from him when he attempted to bully me into staying late on a Friday nite when my fiancee's parents were visiting in town ( this was clearly known to him!). I told him directly when he actually tried to get in my face (!) by coming around my desk. And he didn't even have the guts to applogize afterwards for his overbearing and confrontational behavior.
By the way, I made partner, and in a year, HE was gone!

By I Told Him To F*** Off, Or Else! on 2012 04 12, 3:10 am CDT

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