Even The Odds In Your Fight For Employee Rights
Photo of American flag for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labour Day

3 warning signs of a hostile work environment

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Hostile Work Environment

male employee yelling at male coworker

Workplace harassment comes in many different forms. When referring to sexual harassment, for example, there is quid pro quo harassment. This form of sexual harassment entails someone promising career rewards or threatening job-related punishments depending on how someone responds to sexual or romantic advances.

Other times, the harassment that someone experiences on the job isn’t quite so direct but still makes every day at work miserable. A hostile work environment, for example, can affect someone’s mental health and the trajectory of their career. It may deprive them of advancement opportunities and make them loathe getting ready for their shift every day.

Hostile work environments can be difficult to succinctly define, so people need to recognize warning signs because of how many different forms a hostile work environment can take. The following are some indications that an employee may be suffering due to a hostile work environment.

Their coworkers exclude them

There are many ways for teammates and co-workers to target an individual and make them feel uncomfortable on the job. They might rearrange the seats in the lunchroom so that one person can’t sit with the rest of the group. They might make secret arrangements to go out for lunch with everyone else in the department, excluding one individual routinely. Both behavior that occurs on the job and off-the-clock social activities can contribute to someone’s sense of alienation in the workplace and possibly contribute to challenges advancing within the company in the future.

There is unwelcome humor or conduct

What some people will refer to as a company’s culture is often just an excuse to abuse new employees or people from different groups. For example, supervisors might ignore complaints from workers about the jokes being made at their expense. Whether co-workers call them old or talk about their sexual predilections, joking about an individual or engaging in unwelcome social interactions with them can also make the workplace hostile.

Active bullying

Sometimes, when members of a team have decided to target a specific individual, that process might include unsafe or humiliating practical jokes. From placing condiment packets near warehouse machinery so that someone will roll over them to jump scares scenarios, there are countless ways in which co-workers may target and bully one individual or multiple members of a specific group.

Those who believe they have endured a hostile work environment because of a protected characteristic such as their age, race, sex or medical condition may have reason to take legal action if their employer has not sufficiently addressed the issue. Being able to identify a hostile work environment is key to successfully fighting back against one.