Achilles Group + Mark

Recognizing A Hostile Work Environment

When it comes to the workplace, it’s not always easy to recognize the difference between occasional inappropriate behavior versus a hostile work environment. As we discussed last week, not every incident of disrespect is considered unlawful.

A recent example of a hostile work environment would be the case involving Matt Lauer, who was the host of news channel NBC’s The Today Show. Lauer’s employment with NBC was terminated after several allegations from current and former co-workers arose, accusing him of sexual harassment. The behavior described by Matt Lauer’s accusers identified a string of harassment incidents that, over time, created a hostile work environment for women and anyone who was opposed to and aware of how Mr. Lauer was treating women in the workplace.  The fact that the network ignored or allowed this type of behavior to continue is the exact thing we at Achilles Group coach against.  The lack of action by NBC officials allowed a hostile work environment to develop.

Think you might be working in a hostile environment? If you find the examples below to be offensive, intimidating or abusive to the point of making your work environment unacceptable, or if it interferes with your ability to do your job,

  • -Racist jokes told by a number of coworkers almost daily within earshot of all unit employees.
  • -“Sexy” or suggestive photos, calendars, or screen savers in a number of offices and cubicles where you and other staff gather formally and informally to talk.
  • -Insulting ethnic and religious jokes told frequently at formal and informal employee gatherings.
  • -Open discussions of fellow employees’ sex lives and frequent overheard phone calls with sexual overtones.
  • -Almost all of your coworkers mock and make fun of the disabled clients your office serves.

To learn more about the conditions that create a hostile work environment, and find out what your organization can do about it, contact us to set up a Discovery Meeting.

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