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Employers may try to gaslight you. Don’t be fooled.

The interests of a business often run somewhat contrary to the interests of the people who operate the company. Workers require medical accommodations, safety training and fair pay. Employers often just want to keep their costs as low as possible, which is one reason why there are so many employment rights established at the federal level. For example, employers must post information about certain rights in a space accessible by employees. Rules about minimum wage and other workplace protections are important for workers to understand if they intend to make use of their rights.

Although workers, in theory, have the right to information and also to assert their workplace protections without fear of retaliation, that often isn’t what happens in workplaces. Companies may try to confuse and manipulate the workers who report misconduct or try to assert their rights in Indiana.

Employers often lie to their workers

Businesses can potentially profit off of their employees accepting lies and half-truths. For example, they might claim that their workers are independent contractors and that they have no rights when truly they are employees who should receive overtime and other workplace protections. Other times, they might try claiming that they have the authority to make employees do off-the-clock labor or to deny them unpaid leave when the workers should qualify based on the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Employers may actively gaslight workers if they can, especially if workers complain about issues like a hostile work environment, which may seem subjective. Workers need to protect themselves from such manipulation by learning to expect it.

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a pop-psychological term that references a classic movie. It refers to the practice of repeatedly lying to someone until that individual starts to question their own knowledge and experiences or even their sanity. The goal is to control and manipulate the other party.

Employers may gaslight workers by lying to them about the legal status of different company policies or about the rights of the workers. Others will tell workers they imagined harassment or misinterpreted someone else’s actions. There are some managers who believe that if they repeat a lie enough times, their workers will eventually believe it. Employees should therefore do their best to learn about their rights, especially when they believe that their employer has violated them.

Having actual knowledge about one’s workplace rights may be the most effective means of fighting back against employer misconduct and attempts to gaslight or manipulate the workers at a company. Seeking legal guidance in a confidential capacity is generally a good idea when a worker has questions about their rights.