Hostile Work Environment and Attention Deficit Disorder: How to Cope


You have had to learn to adjust all your life, finding ways to handle your attention deficit disorder. You have had challenging times feeling bad about yourself and faced the possibility of failing a class because you found it difficult to manage deadlines, paperwork and keeping up with books, notebooks and notes. And now you’ve found a job you’re excited about because it allows you to use your strong points, even though you have to deal with activities you’ve struggled with in the past.

But you have a supervisor or a co-worker making things more difficult for you. Dealing with attention deficit disorder and hostile work environment makes your job even harder.

First, the law is on your side. Federal regulations require organizations to deal with a hostile work environment when they learn about it. Your case can be taken up so long as you have a reasonable belief that, to keep your job, you must endure the harassment from your supervisor or co-workers.

You can learn to cope with the harassment you are experiencing.

The Law

Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because you have attention deficit disorder. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers ADD to be a disability and requires employers to meet your needs, if you have discussed your condition with them.

Some of these accommodations could include assigning an intern or an assistant to work with you and taking care of the areas of your job that you find difficult. Ask for a coach or a mentor to help you stay on task and get organized.

Coping With Harassment

Document every incident of harassment, bullying or intimidation. Once you can prove a pattern of discriminatory harassment, seek consultation with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you reveal the pattern of harassment and discrimination to higher management, helping to stop the abuse being directed against you, according to Tim’s Law. As someone dealing with attention deficit disorder and hostile working environment, you have more than enough to be handling.

If you prefer to handle your situation on your own, speak to a manager who is one or two levels above your own supervisor, if your supervisor is the one creating the hostile work environment.

If you have complained and the hostile work environment continues, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you are able to prove your harassment is related to your ADD, the EEOC will accept your complaint and begin an investigation. Try not to quit your job because this could affect any claim or complaint you file.

Your ADD symptoms cause enough stress for you — do not allow the hostile work environment-related stress make your situation any worse. Admit that you are stressed and seek counseling to help you handle your feelings. You can cope with a hostile work environment, even if you have attention deficit disorder.

Managing Your ADD

Recognize what challenges ADD puts in your way — if you have difficulty with repetitive, routine tasks, find ways of coping with them when they need to be done. For instance, take care of them first thing in the morning, when you are the freshest.

Build spontaneity into your work day. After you have completed routine paperwork schedule time to check voice mail messages and emails. Check these only once or twice during the day so you don’t get distracted when working on another task.

Work on only one task at a time; set a timer to remind you when it’s time to move to another task, then begin that task when the timer goes off.

You are under an extraordinary level of stress, so don’t forget to give yourself a small reward for finishing a project or task. Spend a few minutes feeling good about yourself, because experiencing attention deficit disorder and hostile work environment can make you feel even worse about yourself than you normally do.