What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Employees should feel safe in the workplace. This ensures that they are in top condition to be productive. It can be said that both employers and employees should make the effort in making the workplace as safe as possible.

But workplace safety is not just always about accidents and injuries. Sometimes, it is about hostile work environments and negative emotional and psychological effects.

But what is a hostile work environment? A workplace can be considered to have a hostile environment if an employee is exposed to discrimination or harassment. It doesn’t matter whether he is the direct recipient, a participant, or just a random person in the workplace. As long as there is discrimination or harassment, the workplace can be considered hostile.


An employee is discriminated against if his natal features and preferences have put him in an unnecessary disadvantage. The natal features that are commonly discriminated are age, color, ethnic background, race, and sex. The preferences that are commonly discriminated are gender and religion.

Usually, the discrimination manifests in hiring processes, disciplinary actions, promotion opportunities, and terminations. For example, if an applicant has been rejected just because of his age, if an employee has received biased disciplinary measures just because of his color, if an employee has not been promoted just because of his religion, and if an employee has been terminated just because of his gender preference, it can be argued that he has experienced discrimination.


Harassment occurs when an employee is experiencing aggressive pressure or intimidation in the workplace. The causal factors of harassment are almost the same as the factors in discrimination. The difference is that harassment is usually an act or a continuous act that can physically, emotionally, or psychologically harm the employee.

For example, if an employee has been mocked because of his features such as his age or disability, has received unwanted sexual advances, or has experienced harm or threat of harm from others in the workplace, he may be said to experience harassment.

What to Do

According to the website www.leichteremploymentlaw.com, employees who have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace may take their cases to court.

But to avoid getting too legal about it and experiencing the hassles of attorneys and courts, it is better to avoid these practices. Employers and employees should be responsible for workplace safety, by implementing strict rules against discrimination and harassment and just being generally nice to each other to create an environment that is both friendly and productive.

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