Combat instilling fear and intimidation in the workplace
Workplace hostility is not something that anyone wants to deal with. It can quickly break down a happy and content employee and make it difficult for them to come to work every day and do the job that they were hired to do. Sadly, workplace hostility is more common than you might imagine. There are thousands of workplaces out there that are hostile and unforgiving and that make it so difficult for employees to work together.
What is Workplace Hostility?
The definition of workplace hostility can vary depending on who you ask and on which side of the hostility you are looking at. In most widely accepted cases however workplace hostility refers to any negative work environment in which one or more employees feels that that they are being unfairly treated and therefore cannot perform the job that they were hired to do. This can be someone that is calling names, singling out people, cliques that make it hard to get work done, not making a workplace inviting, not making a workplace suitable to those that might have disabilities intentionally and more.
Even very small actions that you might not even notice can create a hostile environment for one or all of your employees. What does a hostile workplace entail? It can be a long-term event that is ongoing and that does not have a resolution, or it can be a one-time event that just leaves someone unsettled. Workplace hostility is often something that does happen between employees and in many cases, it can be settled by the human resources department of your workplace and can help you to resolve the issue and make sure that all of your employees are happy and able to do what they were hired to do.
How to Identify Workplace Hostility?
There are plenty of ways that you can identify hostility in the workplace, even if your employees have not come directly to you or directly to your human resources department. Watching the interactions between employees is very telling and can often let you know how they feel about one another, body language can show you how they are acting, and you can also see how they handle conflict by watching your employees.
Of course, if your employees are coming to you and saying that they feel that the workplace is hostile this is certainly an indication that there may be something wrong and that you do need to take the time to resolve these issues. It is the responsibility of the employer and the person in charge to keep tabs on what is going on in the office and to make sure that the workplace is inviting for all employees. Sometimes people may refer to a hostile workplace as a “office politics” but that does not mean that it is alright in any measure to make any employee feel as if they are being treated in a hostile manner.
Combat Instilling Fear and Intimidation in the Workplace
Though you might think that a hostile environment is one where everyone is being mean or hateful to one another, it can even be things like unwanted sexual advances, unwanted or unsolicited comments, and even the way that people speak or defer to one another. If you are an employer and it has been brought to your attention that something is wrong, you do have a responsibility to take the time to do something to correct it. The first step to making sure that your workplace is not hostile is to make sure that there is a reporting method and that there is a human resources department in place.
Not only does a human resources department allow for your employees a place to air their grievances, it also allows for a method of keeping track of issues as they arise to that they can be dealt with and if there is another step that needs to be taken, there is evidence to support it. In cases where further action does need to be taken, a human resources department is going to be able to handle the issue in a very ethical, ambivalent and non-partisan way. This means that each party is going to be given the chance to stat their case and to really let their bosses know what happened and what is going on.
Human resources departments are also a great option when it comes to mediating issues and making sure that if there is a simple method for resolving the issue, that it is done. Employees should be able to work and feel comfortable and safe at work without having to worry about the way that other people are going treat them and what they might have to go through in the workplace.
When to Take Legal Action
For those struggling with a hostile workplace, there are times when you can take legal action and can move forward with lawsuits. In cases where you feel unsafe, where you simply cannot do your job because of the workplace or because of events that have transpired, or if you have lost wages or time at work due to something that happened, you can certainly take legal action. It is such a terrible thing when events happen at your workplace and you no longer feel that you can do your job and you no longer feel that you can keep going to work.
In regards to things like workplace hostility suits, sexual harassment suits or just plain harassment suits, it is always best to have as much information and as much evidence as possible. This is where the human resources department in your workplace can certainly come in handy. In cases where you have gone to the HR department to make a report and nothing has been done, you can take those reports to help make your case in court and to make sure that your case is fully supported.
If you are thinking of taking out a lawsuit or going forward with a lawsuit against your employer or against one person in particular it is always best to find a lawyer that specializes in that type of lawsuit. A good harassment lawyer is going to know what information to collect, what you need to do to make the case sound and strong, and how to progress to get the best overall outcome. If you feel that your workplace is simply not workable, you feel that you are being unfairly or unjustly treated or that you are being harassed, legal action may be the best path to follow for you.