Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

What can cause hostility in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2021 | Retaliation

If you work in an environment where you feel unsafe, belittled or unfairly treated, you may wonder whether or not to report your experiences. You should never have to deal with unethical treatment at work, especially if it interferes with your safety and productivity.

Knowing how to identify a hostile work environment may bring clarity to your situation. With a better understanding, you can confidently report your concerns to the appropriate authorities.

Poor communication

Communication can make a lot of difference in the treatment you receive at work. In fact, according to, effective communication is the foundation of a positive workplace. Lapses or discrepancies in communication can happen in various ways including the following:

  • Disagreements over vague company policies
  • Unclear expectations
  • Poor record-keeping practices
  • Informal contract agreements

Ineffective communication can also happen if your employer does not establish transparency, trust and integrity within its culture. If your employer is not approachable when you feel uncomfortable or have a concern, you may refrain from voicing your opinion which may only worsen your situation. On the flip side, working in an environment where communication is a valued priority, you may find the confidence and encouragement to speak up against unethical conduct and participate in identifying solutions.

Lack of discipline

Another cause of hostility in the workplace is a lack of discipline. If you report concerning behavior, you can ask your employer what their plan is. If you do not notice any changes and you continue to witness or experience unethical behavior, you may need to take your concerns to the next level. However, if your employer enforces discipline in a timely manner and implements boundaries to prevent future problems, you may immediately feel more comfortable and valued.

Your employer should have a clearly written discipline policy. Within this policy, they can disclose their methods for handling non-compliant employees. This can serve as a reference for everyone if a situation results in disciplinary action.

If you feel unsafe at work or are the victim of discriminatory or unfair treatment, you have the right to report your situation. Working with an attorney may help you identify your next steps in getting justice so you can go to work without experiencing threats to your safety or your career success.