Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

Apr 10, 2018
By Peter Friedmann

There are general warning signs that a workplace has or will become hostile—most likely creating a culture that encourages conflict and hostility among coworkers and employees. Supervisors and staff may facilitate, participate in, and even encourage workplace hostility.

In hostile workplaces, there is a high turnover of employees or employees will call in sick more often than is good for business. Talent and superior performance are not rewarded, and the rules for getting ahead—or merely surviving—are never made clear. When violations of explicit rules do occur, the sureness and severity of consequences depend on the identity of the rulebreaker. That is, women, people of color, those with disabilities, religious minorities, and older workers can get punished. What Are My Legal Options if I’m in a Hostile Work Environment in Ohio?

Being a terrible place to work does not make an office, store, or plant a hostile workplace, however. For that, convincing evidence is needed that discriminatory, offensive, intimidating, or abusive speech and behavior is so severe and pervasive that it interferes with the victim’s ability to keep or perform his or her job.

Speaking with an Ohio hostile work environment attorney will help you determine if you just got yourself into a bad job situation or if you have grounds for taking legal action. To know whether it makes sense to call an employee rights lawyer, ask yourself if you or other co-workers regularly hear, see, or experience the following:

Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

  • Insults based on your race, sex, age, religion, or nationality;
  • Cruel or offensive nicknames;
  • Pornographic or threatening images;
  • Sabotage;
  • Threats;
  • Physical or verbal assaults;
  • Unwanted physical contact, or
  • Pressure to date or have sex.

A significant sign that you are in a hostile work environment is that nothing changes when you report these problems to managers, supervisors, or human resources representatives. Federal and state laws require employers to investigate and resolve discrimination and mistreatment once made aware of it. Since the work environment tends to conform to the actions and attitudes of the people in charge, hostility festers when management participates in, condones, or intentionally ignores harassment and abuse. What behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment?

Meeting with a Columbus hostile work environment lawyer will help you learn how to document the occurrence and prevalence of hostile work environments. The lawyer can then help you prepare an official complaint for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Typically, receiving the EEOC’s acknowledgement that nothing was done to reduce hostility in the workplace and that hostility harmed an employee clears the path to filing an employment lawsuit.

Employment lawyers with The Friedmann Firm offer free and confidential consultations to workers across Ohio. To schedule an appointment, call 614.610.9755 or fill out this online contact firm.