Everyone has days when they don’t enjoy going to work. Most people have co-workers they don’t really get along with. Many have conflicts with supervisors.
But does that mean you’re in a hostile work environment? Probably not. It’s important to know what this really looks like if you fear it is happening to you.
Is it impossible to do your job under the current conditions?
One loose guideline for a hostile work environment is when things are so bad that you cannot do your job because of the conditions. It’s not just that you find your coworkers obnoxious or that you wish you had better hours. You’re facing conditions that are below what a reasonable person would expect.
Additionally, these conditions are often related to discrimination and harassment in regards to a protected class. It’s hostile because you feel targeted or alienated based on things about yourself that you cannot change.
For instance, you have a coworker who is always telling crude jokes and stories. You’ve expressed that you don’t appreciate it, but that just made them do it more. They’re not targeting you, per se, but they’re clearly doing it to make you uncomfortable. Perhaps you’re a female worker surrounded by many male coworkers, and these jokes and stories make you feel alienated and objectified. You dread going to work and find it impossible to work with the people who contribute to this company culture.
What can you do about a hostile workplace?
No employee deserves this type of workplace. If you’ve been forced to endure something like this, be sure you know what legal steps you can take to assert your rights, protect your future and preserve your career.