While everyone can experience burnout from time to time, if you go into work feeling scared, nervous, or uncomfortable, it may be time to reevaluate the company culture of your job. No one should ever have to feel unsafe where they work, but with how often success is associated with burnout and exhaustion, it can be hard to set the right boundaries and recognize when things have gone too far. To help you protect your mental, emotional, and even your physical health, this article will review the top signs you’re in a hostile work environment.
Often, hostile and toxic work environments get confused. The main difference between the two is that in a hostile work environment, some form of workplace discrimination is at play, or the environment violates some standard of the law. In a toxic work environment, legal issues are not at play, but rather the company culture is negative and oppressive. While both can be damaging, you likely won’t have a legal case against a toxic work environment.
As mentioned previously, workplace discrimination is the main sign of a hostile work environment. Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee of a protected class is being treated less favorably. As of 2020, the protected classes can protect people for the following reasons: age, race, religion, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy status, and physical or mental ability. Discrimination is illegal and the most important indication of a hostile work environment.
Another indication of a hostile work environment is a very high turnover rate. If many people are coming and going from the company, that’s an indication that people are not happy working there, especially if those leaving are not far from their onboard date. You may also notice a lack of seasoned workers and little experienced leadership. This likely occurs because no one is working there long enough.
This is where most people get hostile and toxic work environments confused because both often have employees with an overall negative attitude. This can include pessimism, verbal abuse, gossip, and much more. However, remember that an illegal act must take place in order for it to be considered hostile environment. Either way, if someone’s behavior makes you uncomfortable, regardless of their intention, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes unnecessary punitive action against an employee for participating in legally protected actions such as requesting time off, refusing to participate in illegal activities, filing a valid complaint, and much more. This is also illegal and should be taken very seriously. If you notice this happening to an employee, or you fear it may happen to you, this is a sure sign that you’re working in a hostile work environment.
Being aware of the signs of a hostile work environment can save you a lot of heartache and unnecessary suffering. If you feel that you’ve been a victim, you’re entitled to take legal action and get the compensation you deserve. No one should have to work in unsafe and unfair conditions. That’s why hostile work environment attorney, Tamara N Holder, will represent you and help you win your case.