4 Steps to Take if You Experience a Hostile Work Environment

While no one expects their workplace to be the most exciting place in the world, that doesn’t mean
that you should dread going to work each day.

Sadly, though, that is the case for many employees across the world. And while many things could
lead to someone hating their job, one of the main reasons is often a hostile work environment.

Harassment cases, which encompass hostile work environment claims, make up about 10 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC, and in FY2019 according to a report in Forbes and that was immediately post-pandemic. These cases, which was around 26,000, resulted in nearly $140 million in awards/settlements reached by the EEOC. Sexual harassment claims are the most common type of complaint in this area but there are many others involving ‘hostile’ behaviour, based on religion, race and personal or other factors which lead to an unpleasant situation for the complainant.

If you find yourself in a hostile work environment, you may be wondering what you can do about it.
Luckily, this post is here to help.

Consider taking legal action

Taking legal action over something like a hostile work environment may seem drastic, but the truth
is that a hostile work environment can often lead to other issues.

Employees may feel threatened or overworked, and in some cases, the hostile work environment can start to impact their personal lives or even their mental health.

If you feel that your employer has crossed a line, or if you’ve tried to resolve things internally to no
avail, taking legal action may be your best solution. After all, it will certainly be the most effective
method for something like handling unjust aggressive behavior at work.

Try to mediate the issue

Sometimes, your employer may be unaware of how they are making you feel, and all you need is to
sit down and try to mediate the issue or practice some conflict resolution.

Mediation in civil cases has been shown to be effective, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t help
you in your work dilemma as well. And if you don’t feel ready to take legal action yet, you may be
able to have an internal mediation session with the company’s human resources department.

Try to find a new job

Ideally, you’d be able to work out the issue or take legal action, but sometimes, things don’t go the
way we hoped. If you’ve tried to resolve the issue but you haven’t had success, you may want to
consider looking for a new job.

We know that this can be difficult. It can feel like you’re giving up, or like you’re letting the other
party win. But in the end, if you have no other option, you need to decide whether it’s worth it to
keep working in a hostile work environment or whether it would be best for you to look for a new
job where you may feel happier.

Do some internal reflection

Finally, before you take any drastic steps, we would encourage you to take a step back and do some
reflection to see whether your work environment truly is hostile.

Of course, some things are definitely indicators of a hostile work environment, but it can also be the
case that people feel victimized when they aren’t.

For example, if your employer has given you some feedback that you aren’t happy with, that doesn’t mean that they are creating a hostile work environment. Instead, if you feel upset by this, it could be a sign that you need to work on taking criticism at work.

Source: HKM Employment Attorneys, Cincinnati

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