Fostering a healthy and productive work environment should be employers’ top priority. This is because a hostile working environment can be detrimental to both employees and businesses.
Unfortunately, hostile working environments are numerous. Are you enduring a hostile working environment?
What is a hostile working environment?
A hostile working environment, also known as a hostile workplace, is a professional setting in which employees face unwelcome harassment or discrimination that likely interferes with their ability to perform effectively. This harassment can be based on protected characteristics such as:
- Sexual orientation
Identifying a hostile working environment can be challenging, as it is not always obvious. However, a common sign to look for is being persistently subjected to harassment, which can manifest as offensive comments, insults or intimidation. Additionally, suppose employees are treated unfairly or differently based on their protected characteristics, such as gender or ethnicity. In that case, your organization has not yet responded appropriately to a hostile working environment.
You should also note that if individuals who report harassment or discrimination face retaliation or negative consequences in return, your organization reinforces a hostile working environment.
The impact of a hostile working environment
A hostile working environment can take a toll on employees’ physical and mental health. Moreover, it can hamper productivity as employees may be distracted or disengaged due to the mistreatment they’re either suffering or witnessing.
In fact, employees often leave their jobs to escape a hostile environment, leading to high turnover rates. Not to mention that word about a hostile work environment can damage a company’s reputation, affecting its ability to attract and retain talent.
Understanding hostile working environments is vital for employees who suspect they may be working in a situation that violates their rights. By recognizing the signs, you can potentially take proactive measures to help protect your career, rights and well-being whenever necessary.