5 signs of a toxic workplace

Every employee has the right to work in a good environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. But there may be circumstances where some workers are subjected to offensive actions and pervasive insulting that often make the entire workplace unwelcoming and hostile. This could result in a toxic or poisoned workplace. If there are any signs of any form of workplace abuse, consult with an employment lawyer.

Here are the things that indicate a toxic workplace.

1. Rampant verbal abuse 

Generally, abuse comes in different forms, and not all forms of abuse are physical. In a workplace, verbal abuse occurs when a worker is subjected to verbal attacks repeatedly from their employers or coworkers. Such issues are red flags, particularly if you get humiliated and insulted in your workplace. Other forms of verbal abuse include being screamed or yelled at for no apparent reason.

2. Degrading comments & insults based on personal attributes

According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, every Canadian has the right to equal treatment with respect to work and employment. No one should be discriminated against because of their place of origin, race, age, gender expression, ethnic origin, ancestry, creed, citizenship, sexual orientation, disability, family status, marital status, or record of the offense. 

Suppose your employer or coworkers often make insulting or unwelcome comments based on the mentioned personal characteristics. In that case, this could amount to harassment in the workplace and hence a toxic work environment.

3. Conduct that humiliates or intimidates an employee

Actions or conduct that humiliate or intimidate an employee into accepting violation of their rights and poor treatment constitute another form of harassment in the workplace. Even if there is no violence, these individual behaviors could impose fear of harm on the victims. This kind of bullying could also lead to a highly toxic workplace.

4. Unwelcome sexual conduct or remarks

Gender-based and sexual harassment occurs in different forms. These include but are not limited to unnecessary leering, inappropriate physical contact, inappropriate staring, display of sexual pictures, the spread of sexually related rumors, and sexually suggestive remarks. These unwelcome sexual-related behaviors can create a highly hostile work environment, particularly for the victims. This is the main reason such issues should be addressed as early as possible.

5. Targeting an employee with impossible goals or unjustified criticism

Generally, targeted behavior at a specific worker that consists of overly harsh criticism, unmanageable goals, and excessive monitoring constitutes some form of bullying in the workplace. Such tendencies have manifested on the employer’s side, and this could create a poisoned work environment for the workers.

What you can do

Suppose you are an employee and feel that you are experiencing a poisoned workplace. In that case, you should report any instances of humiliating and harassment tendencies to your superior. Every employer has an obligation to investigate and address such issues in the workplace. If your employer fails to address the issue, you have the right to claim a constructive dismissal, where your employer will make a unilateral and fundamental change to the terms of your employment.

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