What Is Considered a Hostile Workplace?

by Vickie Ferguson - Updated September 26, 2017
Business colleagues talking

A hostile workplace environment is created when an employee, whether a full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal worker, management personnel, contractor or non-employee doing business at the job site, creates a hostile environment through discriminatory remarks or actions.

Types

Discrimination toward an individual is based on one person using age (over 40), religion, sex, disability, national origin, color and race as a means to harass another individual. Harassment can be in the form of verbal remarks or by physical contact.

Misconceptions

An individual does not have to be the direct target of discrimination to be considered harassed. Individuals witnessing harassment of others, whether the actions were made through derogatory remarks or suggestive motions and who feel powerless, threatened and intimidated are victims of a hostile workplace environment.

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Effects

A hostile workplace creates an offensive and negative environment that directly impacts an employee's productivity along with the ability to work efficiently and effectively. Victims and witnesses working in a hostile environment are subject to fear of repercussions and retaliation that could result in job loss.

Considerations

Follow the protocol the company has in place for anti-harassment issues. Bring any instance of harassment to the attention of a department supervisor or manager for resolution.

Prevention/Solution

Employees and former employees can file a complaint of harassment directly to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 45 days of the incident through a local area office.

About the Author

Ferguson began freelancing in 1998 and hasn't put the pen down since. Her editorial stints have included working as a reviewer, managing editor and senior managing editor. She writes for several websites and covers a range of topics, including travel guides, gardening, home decor, crafts, pets and wildlife. Ferguson specializes in flower craft articles and has worked in the flower craft business for some time.

Photo Credits

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