Employers have a duty to ensure that their workplace isn’t hostile to employees. There are several things that can constitute a hostile workplace. One of the keys to claiming that a workplace is hostile is that the conditions at your job make it impossible for you to do your duties.
There are many things that can occur that would make a workplace hostile. Discrimination and harassment top the list. The possibility of a hostile workplace is one reason why employers should have clear guidelines about what’s acceptable in the workplace.
Are managers always to blame for a hostile workplace?
Yes and no. Harassment and hostility don’t have to come from management, but management should take active steps to prevent it from happening when they see it. It’s also possible that a coworker could be your harasser. Either way, it’s ultimately management’s responsibility to eliminate the problem once they’re aware of it — and a bad manager can set the tone for the workplace that makes such harassment and hostility commonplace.
What makes a workplace “hostile”?
A hostile work environment isn’t a one-time-only event. It’s something that has to occur over time. In most cases, the issue has to be serious enough that it interferes with your ability to work or pursue a career. Employers should ensure that they look into all complaints about things like harassment or discrimination.
What can employees do about a hostile workplace?
Employees who are being subjected to a hostile workplace should file a complaint with the company. The employer should ensure that they are investigating these matters and taking corrective action.
If you file a complaint and the employer doesn’t do anything about the problem, you might need to take more legal action. It’s imperative that you work closely with an attorney who’s familiar with these matters.