Signs of a Toxic Work Environment
A toxic work environment is any work setting where the environment negatively impacts employees and causes disruption to their career growth. Signs of a toxic work environment include:
- Discriminatory Behavior
- Harassment & Bullying
- Lack of Work-Life Balance
- Extreme Deadlines
- Lack of Communication & Support
It is essential for workers to identify toxic environments early so that they can take proper steps to alleviate any damage caused to their mental health and work performance. Here are five signs that you work in a toxic environment.
#1: Discriminatory Behavior
Discriminatory behavior creates a toxic atmosphere for every worker, especially for employees receiving discriminatory remarks. If your supervisor or fellow coworker is treating you unfairly because of a protected classification, such as your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, you may have more than a toxic work environment – you likely have a discrimination case.
State and federal laws prohibit employers to fire, deny employment, benefits, or promotions because of a worker’s unique characteristics. When an employer engages in or condones discriminatory behavior, they create a hostile work environment that is uncomfortable for every worker.
#2: Harassment & Bullying
In the workplace, harassment and bullying can take many forms that don’t always look how it’s usually portrayed. Harassment can include verbal or physical abuse and it can be psychological. Racial slurs and personal insults, derogatory language, remarks about someone's perceived sexual orientation, or expressions of intolerance toward a particular race are all a form of harassment.
#3: Lack of Work-Life Balance
A healthy work-life balance is important for workers to maintain great work performance. When employees don’t feel like their employer is providing them with a healthy work-life balance, it can create a toxic work environment. Workers should also be allowed to take their meal and rest breaks to allow them to regain their energy for the remainder of their workday.
#4: Extreme Deadlines
A toxic work environment often consists of extreme or unrealistic deadlines. Employers should show consideration towards their employees’ personal time. However, all too often employers set extremely high standards and demands for workers – pressuring them to work long hours. This can result in unpaid wages since workers may not receive compensation for their overtime.
#5: Lack of Communication & Support
Employees should feel comfortable residing in their employer when issues arise – especially serious issues such as sexual harassment or unlawful practices. Unfortunately, many employers retaliate against employees when they present a claim against an employer or a coworker. Common forms of retaliation include termination, demotion, refusing to hire, unfair evaluation, and more.
What Should I Do If I Work in a Toxic Workplace?
The first thing you should do if you work in a toxic workplace is determined if you have an employment law case. Although extreme gossip may result in an uncomfortable and toxic environment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a valid claim. For example, if you believe you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, it must be against a protected classification, such as age, race, religion, disability, etc. You must also prove that the behavior is pervasive, long-lasting, and was reported to Human Resources.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
Since every worker’s situation may be different, it is best to speak with an experienced employment law attorney to determine if you have a case. Whether you are experiencing discrimination, sexual harassment, unpaid wages, or retaliation, an experienced employment law attorney can help you determine if you have a valid claim.
Birmingham Employment Law Attorneys
Our retaliation lawyers at Michel | King make themselves available to give legal counsel whenever you need it. We have more than 40 years of combined experience helping workers throughout Birmingham. Our team is committed to passionately defending our clients against any unfair treatment by employers
Contact our attorneys at (205) 265-1880 for a free case evaluation!