A hostile work environment is undeniably toxic, but a toxic workplace is not always hostile. But the word toxic is thrown around a lot these days.
So, if you dread work every morning and spend a lot of your time searching for alternative employment, you might wonder if you work in a hostile environment. If this is the case, hostility at work needs to be dealt with. But a toxic work environment isn’t necessarily hostile. It’s more than an uptight, rude boss or having to work with colleagues who are full of snide remarks.
If any of these red flags are chronically present at your place of work, the best course of action is to consult an employment lawyer for guidance.
Suppose you feel unsafe at work because a colleague, or even your employer, is harassing you. Whether they are harassing you because of your race, gender, or age, harassment in the workplace infringes on several laws. Moreover, harassment behaviours are not secluded to the office; even remote employees can experience workplace harassment from a virtual perspective.
Another common sign of workplace hostility is discrimination. It is against federal laws to deny career growth opportunities, assign lower pay or excessive hours, or harass employees based on protected characteristics like race, gender, age, religion, pregnancy, and disability.
When employees are treated differently or are not included in certain situations due to non-inclusivity, this is a major red flag that the company culture is highly toxic.
Workplace competition is important for motivation and productivity. However, excessive competition and employers or managers playing favourites are signs of a hostile workplace. While inspiring competition can be beneficial, too much competition creates an unhealthy environment for employees.
Lack Of Fair Layoff Practices
It can be devastating for any employee to find themselves let go from their position with immediate effect and no form of a severance package. Unfortunately, these instances are typically common in hostile work environments.
So, if you have noticed that your colleagues are often fired unfairly and offered no severance, the workplace is chronically toxic.
Unsafe Or Unfair Working Conditions
While infringing on health and safety standards in a workplace has devastating results for an employer, unfair working conditions often exploit employees. While health and safety standards are well-known, not all professionals are aware that their employer cannot force them to work overtime without fair compensation. Moreover, employees can also refuse to work additional hours without negative implications.
Federal laws dictate fair overtime compensation while protecting professionals from burnout with maximum overtime restrictions that aim to consider work-life balance.
While there are several laws in place to abolish hostile work environments, many workplaces remain chronically toxic because employees are not fully aware of their rights. With this, taking a stance against workplace hostility is fundamental to ending toxic work cultures. So, if you note any of the red flags listed above, consult an experienced employment lawyer in your area for guidance and representation. Meanwhile, it’s wise to look for alternative employment with companies that are thriving.