4 Signs of a Hostile Workplace | Shegerian & Associates

Working can be rewarding when you love what you do and work with people you like. However, a hostile workplace can turn the best job into a nightmare. While some signs of a hostile workplace are obvious, some are more subtle. If you want to protect yourself at work, check out these four signs of a hostile workplace.

1. Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace includes treating employees or potential employees differently because of their age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, race, etc., which is illegal. This may include: refusing to hire someone based on their sexuality, refusing to give raises to women, and much more.

If you notice any discrimination in the workplace, even if it is not directed at you, you may be working in a hostile workplace. This can make the affected employee or employees less motivated, causing them to miss deadlines and provide sloppy work, which impacts the entire company, including you.

2. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is another sign you are working in a hostile workplace, but depending on the harassment, you may wonder if you really have been harassed. Some harassment is obvious, such as promising you a raise for a sexual favor. However, other types of sexual harassment are less obvious, such as discussing sexual relations with you or giving unwanted touching. It may be hard to determine if they are harassing you or just being overly friendly.

Regardless, tell them to stop the behavior, and if they don’t, report them to your HR department. Some employees may not report sexual harassment because the claim involves someone in upper management. They fear getting fired over the report, but this is known as retaliation, and it is also illegal. They still may fire you, but you can counter with a wrongful termination lawsuit.

3. Poor Communication

A less-obvious sign of a hostile workplace is poor communication amongst everyone in the company. Poor communication can lead to silence as employees just stop talking to each other to prevent further problems and aggression. In many cases, the division caused by the hostility can make employees incapable of actively listening to each other when they do talk.

Poor communication then worsens the issue because no one has a conversation about the hostile work environment. Instead of improving, everything slowly gets worse and worse until employees just start quitting or stop working as hard as they can.

4. Shame Culture

It’s good to have healthy competition in the workplace, but you shouldn’t shame each other. Shame culture creates cliques within the company. These cliques may shame other cliques because they didn’t get as much work done or for any reason they feel is valid. Instead of fostering healthy competition, this fosters hate, judgment, and depression.

Similarly, instead of shaming you, other employees may blame you for a missed quota. When this happens, it only segregates you, making you less likely to speak out if you are experiencing harassment or discrimination. If it’s just one employee causing the trouble, they may just be an office bully. Getting rid of them (if they can’t change their behavior) may be the best solution to eliminate hostility.

If you work in a hostile workplace, you may dread going to work, which makes it easy to quit when you don’t have a backup plan. If you are struggling in a hostile workplace, you don’t have to quit to find peace.

A skilled attorney can help you get the restitution you need. If you would like to know more about hostile work environments or you believe you have a wrongful termination claim, contact us at Shegerian & Associates today.

Manuela Varela

Relations Manager

Manuela Varela has been with Shegerian & Associates since August 2022. She is responsible for outreach and marketing on behalf of the firm and manages relationships between firms and referring attorneys. She is also responsible for developing business opportunities and affiliations. Manuela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Economics and Political Science.