What Constitutes as a Toxic Work Environment? | Mann & Elias
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What Constitutes as a Toxic Work Environment?


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently reported that for every five Americans, a person quit a job within the last five years because of unfavorable company culture. A toxic workplace is one of the most significant issues that affect employees in different organizations. Let’s discuss factors suggesting that you are in a toxic work environment or your employees suffer from a bad workplace culture.

Poor Communication

If you frequently feel that important information does not reach you, but you’re required to act according to this information, consider that a significant red flag. In severe cases, a lack of communication can amount to discrimination. A pervasive lack of effective communication tends to monopolize information since only a selected number of people are aware of any changes.

If you receive little to no performance feedback, you should worry about your professional development. In a toxic workplace, feedback is usually negative and harsh rather than constructive. Poor communication also includes your supervisor taking credit for your achievements because there is no clear communication channel to help make your efforts recognized.

Everyone Around You has a Bad Attitude

If anytime you walk into work you find everyone looking unhappy, it’s a serious red flag that you shouldn’t ignore. In unhappy workplaces, you will rarely hear anybody talking positively about the company. Besides, if you realize there is no enthusiasm among your colleagues and bosses, something is severely wrong in that workplace.

Bad attitude at the workplace is also characterized by rudeness, laziness and rumor mongering. You may realize that every time you talk to a person, you’re getting a rude response or employees are always arguing confrontationally with their supervisors. These are signs that there is no respect, and employees are not scared of losing their jobs because working is no longer enjoyable.

Dysfunctional Reigns

A toxic workplace is characterized by employees perceiving meetings as time wastage . Most of these meetings culminate in disorganized conflicts with nothing achieved. There is a general feeling that supervisors and managers are oppressive and that whatever they speak even in a formal meeting is oppressive.

Dysfunctional reigns also include disjointed and failing company operations. In a toxic workplace, confusion is inevitable, deadlines are arbitrary and there is a general lack of focus. Company projects usually fail because nobody is motivated to make significant accomplishments.

Workplace Violence

The United States Department of Labor defines workplace violence as any act or threat that amounts to physical aggravation, harassment and intimidation that occurs at the workplace. Many workers are subjected to various forms of workplace violence and harassment. Types of harassment include physical harassment, psychological harassment and sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, including requesting sexual favors and other sexualized physical/verbal actions. Sexual harassment is undoubtedly one of the most significant workplace problems employees face.

Harassers can be supervisors, co-workers or customers/clients. Victims and harassers can be men or women. Besides, the harasser and the victim can be the same gender. 

Sexual harassment is not only prohibited in organizational policies but also state and federal statutes. Whenever you experience any form of sexual harassment, you should consult an employment attorney in Los Angeles to advise you on your next step. An attorney will help you weigh available options, including the possibility of winning a court case against your perpetrator and the organization for failing to guarantee your well-being.

Physical Harassment

Physical harassment signifies an act or threat of physical assault meted against any person at the workplace. Pushing, slapping or punching a person at the workplace are some of the ways in which physical harassment is perpetrated. Damaging a person’s property, such as a car, may also amount to physical abuse.

Psychological Harassment

This form of harassment manifests itself as verbal comments, gestures, conduct or actions that are hostile, unwanted, repetitive, affect a person’s dignity or lead to a dangerous workplace. Any action that is intended to lower a person’s self-esteem may amount to psychological harassment.

Actions You Should Take When in a Toxic Workplace

High levels of workplace toxicity in the U.S. mean that most people are at risk. Hence, you need to understand the actions you should take after realizing you are in a toxic workplace or abused at the workplace. The following are some important steps.

Take Workplace Violence Seriously

Never underestimate any form of workplace violence. If the abuser is a co-worker, reporting to your supervisor may lead to punitive measures on the perpetrator for less severe cases. However, if you feel the incident is severe, it is important to schedule a legal consultation with a trusted law firm.

Find People with the Same Feeling

It is important to develop friendships with people who experience the same toxicity. The idea is to have each other’s back as you find a way out.

Learn How to Handle Potentially Retaliatory Employers

Incidents where an employee is retaliated against by an employer at work are significantly common after the employee reports an abusive employer. This is where you need employer retaliation attorneys in Los Angeles to strategize a legal plan. They will help you weigh the potential risks in such cases and find an effective way of dealing with such employers.

Learn Signs of Retaliation

Retaliation may either be blatant or subtle. In both cases, retaliation has adverse material effects that may discourage employees from reporting a toxic workplace. Examples of retaliatory actions include:

  • Demotion
  • Wage decrease
  • Termination
  • Transfers to hardship areas
  • Disciplinary measures

Start an Exit Strategy

It would make sense to stay if things improve at your workplace, but it makes more sense to play your exit if you do not see positive changes. Start searching for another job as you watch the developments.

If you feel you are being retaliated against by an employer at work in Los Angeles, contact Mann & Elias as soon as possible for an experienced attorney.


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