Hostile Work Environment

Definition - What does Hostile Work Environment mean?

A hostile work environment is an atmosphere within a workplace that is not conducive for a person to feel comfortable. That is to say, a hostile work environment causes a person to feel that they are being intimidated, harassed, or exploited by someone they work with such as a coworker or a boss. There are many different types of incidents that fall under this umbrella. Some situations may be hostile for a particular individual, but not everyone would feel the same way under the same circumstances. Regardless, these incidents are still as valid as ones that affect everyone. The term is often used in employment law and within employment tribunals.

Justipedia explains Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment is a common reason cited in hostile work environment situations. However, a situation does not have to be sexually motivated. Being forced to work long hours or reach quotas that are higher than what are normally possible are also forms of hostile work environments. Additionally, being physically or mentally abused by coworkers or managers classifies a workplace as hostile. When companies do not comply with legal requirements within their industry and knowingly expose employees to unsafe environments, the result is considered to be a hostile work environment.

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