The American Psychological Association reported about 19% of U.S. workers feel their work environment is hostile. A hostile work environment can impact employees’ well-being and job satisfaction.
One of the key points of a hostile workplace is the need for the conditions to be continuous.
Must be commonplace
Isolated incidents are typically not the basis for a hostile environment. Unless the situation is extreme, something that happens one time cannot create the ongoing hostility required under the law. Unwelcome behaviors need to be pervasive and routine. They must contribute to a toxic atmosphere that becomes commonplace. The repeated nature of these actions reinforces a sense of distress and discomfort among employees.
Create a sense of powerlessness
The longevity of negative conditions contributes to a sense of powerlessness among employees. The continued inappropriate behaviors can leave employees feeling helpless. Employees may be hesitant to speak up due to a fear of retaliation since those around them seem to be accepting of the situation.
Continued negative conditions also undermine trust within the workplace. A lack of trust among coworkers and between employees and management creates a divisive and unhealthy work culture. It can contribute to emotional and psychological strain on employees.
Continuous conditions are a hallmark of a hostile work environment. It creates a situation from which employees cannot escape. For this reason, employers must address the negative conditions right away to maintain a positive and inclusive workplace culture. By intervening decisively, organizations can prevent the escalation of hostile work environments.