The Problems With a Hostile Work Environment

Working under hostile conditions due to bad management practices can undermine the confidence of employees. For business bosses, failure to take note of the situation will result in a high level of staff turnover. This is costly to the company and easily fixed. Quality control of staffing goes hand in hand with product quality control. Those who impose strict targets and goal setting for their employees should expect this to have a knock-on effect on your employee’s mental health. Are you creating a hostile working environment without even realizing?

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

A hostile work environment is the term that describes when the bricks & mortar building your business operates in has a hostile environment. In the business world, the idea of having a hostile environment in the office or building is subject to the law. We asked professional employment legal experts HKM in Houston Texas what the signs of a hostile workspaces might be. They advised that any hostile space could have the following features:

  • Employees may feel real fear either in going to work or in approaching supervisors.
  • Employees might feel intimidated, or scared, due to poor management.
  • Words or actions of supervising staff could negatively or severely impact an employee’s ability to perform their duties. 
  • Schoolyard bullies in the office
  • Discrimination or sexual harassment
  • And even employer retaliation when staff fail to meet targets. 

In order to prove that they are working in a hostile environment, an employee may well start evidence gathering. This might involve recording conversations, taking photographs, and taking statements from fellow employees. Every employee has the right to a safe working environment. While they are working for you, you have a duty of care to keep them safe on your premises. A hostile working environment creates the opposite of a safe working environment, therefore opening employers up to legal questions. 

What Problems does a Hostile Work Environment Present to Employers?

Any employee in the building could be behind your employee’s fear, it does not just have to be the cause of bad managers. There could be an office bully or thief. There could be discrimination which you as an employer doesn’t know about. Wherever the source of that discrimination, bullying, or sexual harassment might be, you may be breaking the law by failing to act upon it.

Find the culprit and get to the source of the problem before your employees have the chance to raise a case against you. It would not hurt to prepare by hiring an employment lawyer in preparation. Tighten up your discrimination policies and root out the culprit. Treating all discrimination with an iron fist is the best way to stay free of 

Building Better Office Culture

After you ditch the hostility, the next best thing you can do is return to the grassroots office culture like what fledgling startups might have. For example, you may encourage healthy eating in the snack room, bring coffee or donuts or lunch for everyone, have a Taco Tuesday, and build better teams through cultivating a workplace focused on kindness. Start a swear jar, go on teambuilding events, and realize that your office culture could descend and regress if you fail to keep on top of the situation.

Moving forward, cultivate office friendships, feedback, and a positive workspace to stay on the right side of employment law.

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