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Working in a Toxic Workplace? What Do You Do?

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

Toxic workplaces

The workplace may be enjoyable and other times it is grueling. Unfortunately, there are some employers where the environment goes beyond grueling and it becomes a toxic workplace or toxic work environment or what is legally defined as a hostile work environment. When this happens, the employee may be able to take legal action against their employer.

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In this article, we shall explore signs of a toxic workplace culture, what you can do to deal with toxic people, and address effective ways dealing with a toxic workplace, such as hiring an effective and experienced employment law attorney in order to investigate toxic workplace culture and get you compensation for toxic workplace behaviors.

Signs of a Toxic Workplace

The definition of a toxic workplace or a hostile work environment is the unwelcome or offensive behavior in the workplace, which causes one or more employees to feel uncomfortable, scared, or intimidated in their place of employment.

Although not all toxic workplaces and toxic workplace behaviors are illegal, there are some practices which violate the law and go beyond just working in an uncomfortable work environment. When determining the signs of a toxic workplace culture, the toxic workplace checklist includes where:

  1. There is discrimination based on gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, parental status, or disability;
  2. Employees are sexually harassed; or
  3. The company fails to heed and address allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment, thereby creating a toxic attitude in the workplace.

A prime example of the above is toxic femininity in the workplace where toxic female workplace and toxic femininity occurs. Imagine if Jill signed an employment contract, and then began being subjected to derogatory remarks made by Jack, a coworker and very toxic person. Jack conveyed sexually suggestive remarks to Jill, and when Jill ignored him, his comments quickly turned into accusations of Jill’s inability to perform her job because she’s a woman.

Jill told Jack to stop making these comments and to leave her alone. However, his offensive behavior persisted as he continued to engage in workplace bullying. Jill began dreading work each morning, eventually even developing physical symptoms. As a result, Jill went to human resources (“HR”) to make a complaint about Jack’s daily behavior, and the HR manager assured Jill they would take care of the problem.

However, the harassment continued, and after another month, Jill was stressed past her limit. Jill was afraid to complain to HR again because Jack had been with the company for nearly eight years, and she was afraid she would be fired for complaining.

Accordingly, Jill may now have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against both Jack and the company, which did not take adequate action to stop Jack from harassing her. Moreover, by hiring an effective and experienced employment law attorney who is familiar with toxic femininity and is familiar with the elements in proving a toxic work environment.

How to Deal With Toxic People

In many cases, a hostile work environment is created by an employer, supervisor, or business owner. In such cases, the employer is automatically accountable for the harassing actions that result in an adverse employment action, such as termination of employment. Such actions also include failing to hire or promote an individual, or reducing an employee’s wages or benefits for reasons that are discriminatory, or retaliative in nature.

If a supervisor’s actions create a hostile work environment for any employee, the employer will be held responsible unless it can prove the following:

  1. The employer promptly made a reasonable attempt to correct the harassing behavior; and
  2. The supervisor’s superior made a reasonable attempt to prevent or correct the harassing behavior, or that the employee failed to take advantage of corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

If the issues you’re facing in the workplace meet any of these standards above, document in detail what you have experienced and bring the issues to the attention of your supervisor or the HR department. Reports these instances of negative work environments right away. If the company fails to address the issue and does not make a prompt and reasonable attempt to correct the problem, you should then contact an experienced employment law attorney, who will help you file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

An experienced employment law attorney will be able to analyze your unique set of facts and determine just how strong a case you have against your employer and managers and coworkers.

Recovering from a Toxic Workplace

How to recover after leaving a toxic workplace? If you do experience a toxic workplace or toxic work environment, you need to acknowledge the pain that you suffered and do your best to move on with your life. First, you need to remind yourself of your value and that it is not your fault that this happened to you. No longer deal with toxic people and definitely stay away from negative people. Also, try seeking toxic workplace quotes, such as, “Until you let go of all the toxic people in your life, you will never be able to grow into your fullest potential.”

Second, when rising above a toxic workplace, you need to remain in contact with your coworkers and colleagues. If you leave your place of employment, completely ignoring the events of what had happened is unhealthy. You should remain in contact with all of your friends and contacts that you made.

Third, talk about what happened to you. Bottling up inside all of your pain and grief is unhealthy. You need to be able to open up and express your feelings, and if possible, find somebody who went through a similar experience, and seek their advice and counsel.

Fourth, take action! You need to seek effective and experienced legal counsel who specializes in employment law to ensure that nothing like this happens again to somebody else or another coworker. A licensed and experienced employment attorney will help guide you through the often complicated process of pursuing a claim with the EEOC or your local state agency. Furthermore, a toxic workplace lawyer will be able to help you gather evidence for your case and represent you in front of a court of law, should you decide to proceed with the lawsuit against your employer.

Doing all four of these actions will allow you the opportunity to heal and resume a normal work life.

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

At the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, P.C., we represent various employees in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York. If you have questions about your toxic workplace culture and are tired of toxic people in the workplace, please Law Offices of Yuriy Moshes us for a free consultation.

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