As a family, it’s important to work with your teens to help give them the best foundation for success. This means supporting them as they navigate their first jobs, and working with them to help them understand how a healthy workplace functions. Unfortunately, not every place that your teen may work will end up having a great culture, and sometimes they may even find themselves struggling with a bad coworker that makes their shifts difficult or stressful.
To help you understand how you can best help your teen in situations like this, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.
1. Focus on Communication
If your teen is struggling with a bad coworker, ask them about the encounters and what is occurring. Some teens may find it hard to speak up for themselves or advocate for themselves in new workplaces. Teach them that they are entitled to a safe workspace and work with them to brainstorm ways of how they can communicate the problem to their managers.
You may also work with them to determine if there is a way they can stand up to the bad coworker, by communicating in a firm but professional way. Depending on what the coworker is doing, this may be effective. However, discretion should be used.
2. File a Report
If a bad coworker is making lewd unwanted advances or making uncomfortable comments towards your teen, the first step should be speaking to a superior to see if the situation can be resolved. Many workplaces have a zero-tolerance policy towards this type of harassment and this may help solve the issue.
However, while sexual harassment isn’t a criminal charge in states like Pennsylvania, if the situation isn’t resolved by a superior, a civil claim or lawsuit can still be brought against the coworker.
You should always communicate to your teens that advances or comments like this are not to be tolerated and they should always tell you if anything like this is going on so you can work together to fix it.
3. Staying Safe at Work
Whether or not the bad coworker is making lewd advances, it’s still important to avoid being alone with them if your teen feels uncomfortable around them. Many retail stores have elevators and escalators in them, and over 17 million are in operation across the globe. Emphasize that your teen should try to avoid closed spaces like elevators if more open options, such as an escalator, exist.
This can help prevent them from finding themselves in a situation where they might be alone with their bad coworker.
4. Help Them Find Another Job
If your teen has tried talking to management and nothing has been done about the situation, work with your teen to help them find another job. While many job listings are posted online, 80% of job openings are not. Consider taking a day to drive around with your teen to give out resumes to local shops, cafes, and other businesses to help increase their chances of finding different employment.
Although you may not want to teach your child to quit a job before they have another one secured, if the bad coworker is perpetuating harmful harassment, it may be worth considering for your teen’s wellbeing and mental health.
Working Together as a Family
Everyone deserves to be able to work in a space where they feel comfortable. If your teen is being bothered by a bad coworker, work with them to come up with a solution that benefits them. Doing this can help teach them how to handle themselves in the workforce, and it can help them build their confidence when it comes to communication and advocating for their rights.