Episode 125: How To Handle Health Discrimination and Harassment with Meredith Holley

“Taking action and being clear about what we expect does not have to be disrespectful.” – Meredith Holley

It’s very common for people with invisible disabilities like fibromyalgia to experience workplace conflict and discrimination because of it. From snide remarks to outright harassment, it can feel so isolating and even make your symptoms worse.

Despite that, most people don’t want to file a lawsuit. While it sounds so noble to have civil rights litigation, it’s a stressful process that often damages everyone involved. People want the tools and support to create a healthy workplace culture where issues are resolved so people can keep their jobs and receive the medical care they need.

In this episode, Tami is joined by attorney Meredith Holley to talk about speaking up for your needs and handling harassment and discrimination respectfully, whether it’s happening at work or at your doctor’s office. They discuss Meredith’s journey into workplace conflict mediation and communication coaching, her experience with sexual harassment in the workplace, arming yourself with tools to empower yourself at work, how workplace conflict can worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms, the three pillars of empowered communication and how you can use them to handle workplace harassment and discrimination, acknowledging the impact of harassment and our tendency to minimize its effects, the weight of experiences that our cultural values label as “little”, the concept of internalizing blame and responsibility for others’ actions, the importance of setting boundaries, the emotional impact of carrying labels and experiences related to disability, recognizing the choice to embrace or limit yourself in response to your health situation or workplace experiences, the initial steps of noticing and acknowledging harassment, the three steps for bystander intervention, strategies for handling harassment and discrimination with respect and self-focus, listening to your body and taking actions to ensure personal safety in challenging situations, the value of understanding the best ways to communicate with your healthcare providers, navigating challenges with requesting workplace accommodations, embracing open-mindedness and flexibility and a focus on desired outcomes, navigating the balance between self-advocacy and collaborative decision-making with healthcare providers, using professional expertise as a tool, resources you can access, Meredith’s message for you, and more.

If you’re experiencing workplace conflict, know you are not alone and did nothing to deserve it. There are steps we can take to ease the pain and energy drain. This is a problem that’s worth solving.

Note: This episode is not meant to be medical advice. Every person and every situation is unique. The information you learn in this episode should be shared and discussed with your own healthcare providers.

About Meredith Holley

Meredith Holley is a workplace conflict mediator, communication coach, attorney, and the founder of Eris Conflict Resolution. Meredith co-hosts the Empowered Communication Podcast, where she shares insight and communication structures she has seen resolve toxic workplace conflict. Meredith is the author of the bestselling books Career Defense 101: How to Stop Sexual Harassment Without Quitting Your Job and The Inclusive Leader’s Guide to Healthy Workplace Culture. Meredith helps resolve toxic workplace conflict so that courageous professionals can feel empowered and supported in work that makes a difference.

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