What Is A Hostile Work Environment? 10 Signs Your Workplace Is Not Good For You
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on October 9, 2018
In an ideal world, everyone would love their job and going to work Monday through Friday. In a normal world, everyone should enjoy going to their job most of the time. However, that isn’t always the case. Some people dread their job because of their employer or, more often, a hostile work environment. But what is a hostile work environment? And how do you know if that is what is affecting your mood or if you simply need to find a new line of work?
It’s normal to have a bad day at your job every now and then. Some days are more stressful than others and that can lead to a bad mood and frustrated feelings. While that is true, there are some signs that will show the problem is a hostile work environment. According to Legal Dictionary, a hostile work environment is “unwelcome or offensive behavior in the workplace, which causes one or more employees to feel uncomfortable, scared, or intimidated in their place of employment.” This may not be easy to identify, so we’ve outlined 10 signs that your workplace is a hostile work environment and not good for you. Follow along to learn more about what constitutes as a hostile work environment and how to take charge of your future employment.
10 Signs Your Workplace Is Not Good For You
Your Work/Life Balance Isn’t Evenly Distributed
Some jobs are more demanding than others and working after hours one day a week is normal in a lot of work environments. If you find that you’re working 40-hour weeks and 20 hours of overtime every week then you may be in a hostile work environment. It is crucial to have a healthy balance between your time at work and your personal time. Most employees who find themselves in a hostile work environment do not have that balance.
Personal Life is Suffering
While this may seem like it piggybacks off the first point, a sign of a hostile work environment is when your personal life is suffering and you’re not working overtime. For some, coming home from a usual 8-hour day can drain them to the point that they aren’t motivated to keep up personal relationships and they then suffer. If you feel like you have no motivation to spend time outside of work enhancing your personal life, you may be working in a hostile work environment.
Friends & Family Notice a Change in Your Demeanor
This is a big indicator of a hostile work environment not only because family and friends know you so well, but because the change in demeanor is usually too subtle to notice yourself. Hostile work environments can turn normally upbeat people cynical and normally outspoken people into introverts. If your family and friends are coming to you with concerns about your demeanor, or personality, it may be time to look for a new job.
Boss’ Leadership Skills are Poor
A work environment is completely determined by the boss. As the leader of the company, they set the tone of the office, the pace of work, and the attitude of the employees. Bosses who have poor leadership skills cannot resolve conflicts or solve problems. Often, poor leaders encourage unhealthy competition within the office and end up contributing to a hostile work environment when they should be resolving it.
Your Time Off Doesn’t Feel Like Time Off
If you find yourself on vacation and unable to leave your email unattended or go out without your phone, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Time off is just as important to good mental health as the weekends are. When time off doesn’t feel like time off and you feel you can’t turn off your work mindset, it may be because of a hostile environment that doesn’t allow relaxation when out of the office.
Red Flags at Work are More Common
Noticing a red flag in the office on occasion is acceptable. Sometimes a new hire isn’t going to work out and it is clear from the beginning. Other times, it’s clear someone who has been there for a while is getting fed up and slacking off. These are normal red flags that may occur once in a while. If you’re seeing multiple red flags every week in the office, this could be a bad sign. More often than not if you’re in a hostile work environment, you’re not the only one feeling it. This can cause others to send up red flags which you are more aware of because you’re feeling that way too. If red flags at work are more common, it may be time to consider your other feelings about your job and the next steps to make towards future employment.
You Fear Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays…
The Sunday Blues is a common expression that refers to the feeling of dread you have on Sundays when the weekend is ending and the work week is about to begin. While the Sunday Blues truly capture how most people feel on Sundays, if you’re feeling that way through the week, you may have a problem. Focusing on the week ahead should be your goal at work. If you’re only focused on the upcoming weekend and dread going to your job, it may be because you’re working in a hostile work environment.
Overall Happiness is Suffering
Happiness shouldn’t be compromised for any reason. No relationship, friendship, or job should keep you from being happy. If you are finding it hard to be happy and cannot find a reason behind that other than your work, you should consider another job. A hostile work environment can make the smallest issues seem huge and affect your happiness at work and home.
You’re Getting Sick More and More Often
If you notice that you’re getting sick more often than normal, it may be stress instead of illness and work may be the cause. Do you feel well on the weekends, but down during the weeks? Are you feeling ill when normally you feel very healthy? If the answer is yes to either of those questions, your body may be reacting to the stress of a hostile work environment.
You’re Subconscious Is Telling You to Get Out
This is so important. A lot of people think, “well, it’s a job and jobs aren’t supposed to be fun.” This may be true for some lines of work, like sanitation, coal mining, and other jobs that require manual labor. But if you’re subconscious is telling you to get out, and has been for sometime, it may be time to listen to it. Sometimes our bodies and minds know before our hearts do that the situation we find ourselves in is not good for us. If you fear you’re in a hostile work environment and your gut is telling you to leave, listen to it.
These ten signs that you may be in a hostile work environment are only some red flags to look out for. Others include having a boss who is unsupportive when you voice complaints or concerns and working with unprofessional colleagues. If you’re questioning your own worth or feel like you aren’t being heard, you may be in an unhealthy work situation. Being aware of the signs is the first step to identifying a hostile work environment. The second step is getting out and you may need legal assistance to do so without being left unemployed and unsure of your future.
At Cooper and Friedman Law Office in Louisville, KY, we have over 50 years of combined experience working with workers’ compensation. This includes getting compensation for people who have removed themselves from a hostile work environment without employment lined up or a backup plan in place. If you are in a hostile work environment and want help getting out or have recently left your job and are interested in seeing what can be done legally to get compensation, contact us today. We can be reached through our Contact Us page or by calling 502-459-7555.