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Hostile Work Environment

What is a Hostile Work Environment? 

A hostile work environment refers to a workplace where the behavior, actions, or communication of colleagues, supervisors, or employers create an intimidating, offensive, or abusive atmosphere thus making it difficult for the employee to complete their work.

Hostile Work Environment Requirements

There are certain criteria set by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that define a whether an organization is hostile or not: 

  • Harassment based on race, religion, national origin or disability
  • The harassment is persistent and ongoing
  • The conduct is so severe that it makes the workplace feel threatening, insulting, or hostile

Examples Of Hostile Behavior In The Workplace:

  • Verbal abuse 

We've often heard that words matter and especially when you're working with others, their encouragement and discouragement can effect you in multiple ways. If your employer is verbally abusing you, it will not only destroy your confidence but you will never be able to perform well under such leadership.

  • Offensive jokes

In workplaces, people often associate certain jokes with people thinking that they are not creating any hindrances for the other person by such jokes. But, these kind of jokes can be hurtful for the other ultimately making them depressed and demotivated.

  • Intimidation

Only those organizations thrive where there is a culture of teamwork and respecting opinions of others. If your employee is scared or feared to discuss in a constructive discussion with you, then there's definitely something wrong with the organization.

  • Discriminatory actions based on race, gender, or religion

This is one of the common behaviors that has unfortunately become a norm in many organizations. People discriminate others based on the color, gender or religion, making it difficult for them to grow in an organization.

  • Persistent bullying

An organization where there's a culture of bullying and pulling others down, it can become extremely toxic for the employees to work there.

Tips for creating a positive work environment

Employers are responsible for implementing policies, providing training, and taking action to prevent and address instances of a hostile work environment. A healthy work environment could be created through the following:

  • Value your employees

You should make the employees comfortable by assuring them that they have a space where their voices and ideas are heard. If you an employer, consider having one-to-ones with your employees. You can motivate them by giving feedbacks and ask them about yourself as well.

  • Open and clear communication

Communication is the key to success, we've often heard this but not all organizations act upon it. While making decisions, it should be an employer's responsibility to allow their employees to share their opinions. They should not have to worry about speaking to you.

  • Building a trust environment

When organizations are build upon trust and empathy, positive energy can be seen through each employee. This could only be achieved when you have a clear communication and you're not keeping your thoughts to yourself only. You should give them a room for bringing new innovative ideas without the fear of being humiliated.

In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, labor laws emphasize the importance of providing a safe and respectful work environment. Instances of a hostile work environment can lead to legal consequences for employers, making it imperative for companies to take proactive measures to prevent and address such issues.

In conclusion, understanding what constitutes a hostile work environment and knowing how to address it is crucial for both employees and employers.

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