Work atmosphere plays a crucial role for the good performance of an employee. A good work environment helps you to achieve success at work whereas a poor one may actually be a threat to your job. One of the most common and disturbing causes for a poor work atmosphere is hostility at work. A hostile work environment may even jeopardize your career. It also affects your well being tremendously. So, it is important to have a clear understanding of hostile work environment and the steps that you can take against it.
Any work atmosphere which is harassing, abusive, offensive, harsh, threatening or unfair and which affects your work directly and adversely, so much so that working becomes difficult in such atmosphere, can be said a hostile work environment.
The harasser can be your employer or your colleague and you may be harassed for a number of reasons and by various means. You may have to face such treatment if you go against your senior or the management in any way like complaining or reporting of any safety violation at work, unfair treatment by your senior, violation of any work policy etc. Company or your senior may take the help of several techniques to make your work atmosphere so bad that it becomes impossible for you to continue working. They may make things difficult for you by handing you more work than you can handle or reducing your salary or making you take up the blame or responsibility for any mistake that you didn’t commit. The main motto of the company or your senior, in such case, would be to make you quit your job.
Hostile work environment may also be caused by your co-workers. You may receive comments for your race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability etc. Hostile work environment can also involve sexual harassment or danger of any physical harm to you.
Hence, if you face any such situation at work then act immediately. Speak up against the harassment and point out to the harasser of the incorrect attitude asking him to stop it immediately. Inform the management of the hostility through a formal letter and if the management fails to act effectively on the issue then you can also sue the company. You can also take the help of government agencies which work for this cause and help employees facing hostility at work.