I've been getting pranked by coworkers for some time now. In the beginning I participated but it came to a halt when it got out of control for everyone. All pranks stopped for several months but they have started again and I feel like I receive the brunt of it for refusing to join in. The pranks have included dumping glitter everywhere in my work truck, powdered creamer everywhere in/on my desk, placing my work boots under a leak in the ceiling, hiding food in my desk drawers to rot, hiding my work uniforms, etc. I have taken pictures and reported it to my direct supervisor and the office manager but neither has made a big effort to stop the nonsense. We don't have HR on-site since we are a large corporation but I feel if my direct mangers are unwilling to stop this harassment, I may have to ostracize myself and go above them.
If you are not that close with them, and judging by the way you feel I guess that you are not really close, report to HR. Provide evidence of the pranks and state how you feel about it. You should probably mention how this affects your performance at work as they might pay more attention to that.
If nothing comes of it, leave. That kind of toxic environment will wreak havoc on your mental health. Depending on your financial situation, you might want to secure a new job before leaving this one but if you feel the situation is taking a toll on you leave immediately. Your health comes before everything else!
"I have taken pictures and reported it to my direct supervisor and the office manager but neither has made a big effort to stop the nonsense."
Did you work get done? Then why would they care? Now, if it takes you two hours to clean your desk, three hours to find your boots, and your work suffers, now they will care. "Task X could not be finished on time. I was busy drying out my boots that someone placed under a leak in the ceiling. These behaviors are very disruptive to producing good and timely output for this awesome company."
Just because you participated in the beginning, it does not forfeit your right to disengage from it in the future.
Consent is like Tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8
Unfortunately, in the eyes of management, you've created your own problem. I'm not saying their judgement is acceptable, I'm merely observing the situation.
If you read your company's harassment policy then it should clearly state the order or reporting. Usually something like:
- If it's physically non-threatening, try talking to the harassers
- If that doesn't work, report to supervisor
- If that doesn't work, report directly to HR
- If that doesn't work, report to the owners/C-level people
- If that doesn't work, consider getting a lawyer involved because they would be very interested to know of an employer who allows harassment to continue
Overall, it sounds like you're at step #3 but if you didn't give step #1 a fair try then read below.
So, how do you proceed amicably?
You need to express consistent disapproval whenever something happens to you. If you see someone else not enjoying the hazing then stick up for them as well. You need the non-enjoyers to outnumber the a$$holes.
In the beginning I participated
There's your problem.
You showed you were open to this particular workplace culture but now had a change of heart. It's going to be difficult to navigate this and not look like you never wanted to be a part of it.
Your options aren't going to be great. People accepted you as one of them, now you want to threaten their livelihoods by taking them to HR for something you admittedly participated in. HR is not your friend. Going to HR (or equivalent) will cause nothing but a big mess for everyone.
This workplace doesn't seem to be the right cultural fit for you.
Ultimately your coworkers are bullying/harassing you. If you have already confronted your coworkers and it continues, you are within your rights to escalate the issue to your supervisor and office manager if you really want them to do anything about it.
But here's the thing:
we work to live, do not live to work
Even if you used to participate in these shenanigans, right now the values and culture of the workplace no longer align with you. Their inactions have already demonstrated that they are unwilling to change, is it even reasonable for you to ask for all of them to change their behaviour?
Do you really enjoy working there that much? If these people were nice, decent humans, they would respect your requests. If they were outstanding professionals, this type of behaviours wouldn't be happening at all.
I was brought up that with bullies you have two options, fight or flight. Be the bigger person and get out of there!
Do not leave yourself in an environment where your supervisor or managers do not have your back 100%. You need to be able to trust and respect your coworkers or you will burn out from all the stress and uncertainty.
If you really want to be there, then absolutely stand up for yourself and escalate this either up the chain of command or get them back so epically that they won't come back at you... Knowing full well that the most likely outcome of both these scenarios is that your coworkers will not want to work with you anymore, that will actually escalate their antics as they try to get rid of you...
- Are you sure things have not already escalated to this level?
This is not a culture that you want to be a part of, you have made that clear to us and them, so start looking elsewhere. If it was worth putting up with all that, then you wouldn't have even posted on this forum in the first place.