3 common factors in a hostile working environment

The workplace can be demanding at the best of times. Often, employees are expected to work to high standards as well as meeting tight deadlines.

However, certain conditions can make a working environment hostile. These are unrelated to the typical stresses that you may expect in everyday working life. Sometimes, workers are subjected to harassment and inappropriate conduct that has no place at work. Under these circumstances, an employee may have legal recourse. Consequently, it is important to try and identify the common signs of a hostile working environment.


With harassment and hostile working environments, every example tends to be different. However, there are some common trends among these situations. Frequently, there can be a presence of bullying.

Bullying may be verbal, physical or even related to an online setting. However, victims will typically feel abused emotionally and verbally (and sometimes physically), leading to an inability to perform their work duties. Often, bullied employees will feel so unsafe that they no longer feel that they can attend their jobs.


Discrimination in the workplace can take on various forms. Frequently, it is behavior that amounts to abusive actions related to your age, race, religion, disability, immigration status and other protected characteristics.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is another form of behavior that can result in a hostile working environment. Sexual harassment can display itself in a variety of different ways. Commonly, victims are subjected to unwelcome and repeated comments about their appearance. In other cases, employees may be stared at or even touched in a manner that is inappropriate.

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employees are protected from behavior that causes hostile working environments. If you have faced harassment or discrimination at work, it is important to understand that you have legal rights.

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