Various Signs of a Toxic Work Environment

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A toxic work environment is difficult to determine because the very problems that make it toxic may not always be universal. We will cover both general and somewhat personal signs of a toxic workplace next, as well as providing practical suggestions regarding probable solutions.

Discrimination with and without Validation: Know the Difference
Coworkers getting promoted or being paid higher may or may not be fair, but employers are entitled to noticing and rewarding their best performing employees. This may at times feel discriminatory but that’s a false assumption, provided that the privilege (pay boost, promotion, etc.) can indeed be validated by the specific employee’s work performance.

On the other hand, if management cannot validate their preference towards someone, or a specific group by factors related to work, that does qualify as discriminatory behavior. More often than not, a toxic work culture stems from discriminatory practices such as sexism, racism, bullying, and religious intolerance among others. If you feel like you are being treated differently because of any reason other than your own office conduct and/or work performance, understand that it’s completely illegal for any company in the United States to do so. Seek legal counsel and get to know about responding to workplace discrimination and retaliation with immediate positive effects.

One-Way Communication
If orders coming down from a chain of command is the only channel of communication, then make sure you are working for the armed forces! There are executives and company leaders who still believe in leading a company like the army, but that does not work in corporate culture anymore. In order to boost productivity, improve morale, and grow as a business, employees should also be able to communicate with the higher ups, regarding the problems they are facing at work. Without two-way communication, abuse of power is imminent.

Lack of Safety
Workplace safety is a vast topic that involves several different aspects which vary further, depending on the type of work, the specific situation, and the concerned worker(s). That being said, providing workplace safety to their employees is a legal responsibility that every employer must bear. Seek legal counsel if you feel:
– Physically or verbally threatened and/or intimidated
– Harassed (sexually or otherwise) and/or bullied
– Unsafe due to office/work conditions and/or instructions
– Unsafe due to lack of essential safety equipment
– Unsafe due to active/passive aggression by a coworker
– Unsafe while complaining to HR

Feeling Underappreciated
Often seen as a personal reason, underappreciation is a serious cause for depression among employees. If you feel that you are not being appreciated for your exemplary work, then consider changing company. This can also be a result of discrimination, but you should be able to tell the difference between general indifference and specific trivialization.

In case you are currently working at a place that truly qualifies as being toxic, that fact should be evident by now. It is a result of several factors rather than just one, and this isn’t a comprehensive list of signs. Nevertheless, the information provided should be sufficient to help you recognize a bad work environment and how to act accordingly.