When does a toxic work culture become a hostile environment?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2022 | Employment Law |

If you have seen an abnormal number of “help wanted” signs recently, your mind certainly is not playing tricks on you. After all, employees in all sectors are quitting their jobs because of low pay and unhealthy work schedules. Each of these can make work culture toxic.

According to reporting from CNBC, toxic work culture is the primary reason today’s employees are leaving their jobs. While you try to do your best when working in a toxic workplace, you should never have to put up with a hostile environment. When does toxic become hostile, though?

The characteristics of a hostile work environment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a hostile work environment has three characteristics:

  • Unwelcome conduct due to age, disability, race, sex, national origin or another protected reason
  • Harassment that lasts for a long period of time
  • Unacceptable conduct that causes the workplace to become offensive, intimidating or abusive

Your legal rights

If you work in a toxic place, you also may be a victim of harassment or discrimination. Luckily, both federal and state law likely give you some legal recourse for these. If your workplace is a hostile environment, you also have certain legal rights. Specifically, you can report the hostile environment to your employer and expect a prompt and thorough investigation.

Employers that allow hostile work environments to form and thrive often do not take employee complaints seriously. Inaction, of course, makes hostile work environments even worse. If your employer refuses to intervene, you have the option of filing an official charge.

Ultimately, if you can prove you are a victim of a hostile work environment, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation.