Preventing a Hostile Work Environment : National and local laws include workplace laws to ensure the protection of employees. In addition, all workplaces include a Human Resources manager, who ensures proper workplace conduct and makes the employees feel comfortable and safe.
What is hostile work environment? A hostile work environment is created when employees are discriminated against and are subjected to negative behavior. With extra effort and consideration, especially on the part of the HR department, a hostile work environment can be effectively prevented.
The first and foremost duty of the HR department is to analyze the reported cases of misconduct by employees and try to identify what type of hostile behavior is being perpetrated within the workplace. An Employment lawyer can also be contacted during this process.
In a hostile work environment, employees tend to feel uncomfortable and intimidated by inappropriate verbal or physical conduct by managers, clients, bosses, or colleagues. Usually, hostile behavior is based on employees’ gender, age, physical characteristics, sexual orientation, race, gender, or nationality.
According to DhillonLaw.com, a hostile work environment is often categorized by sexual harassment, discrimination, and even violence. Moreover, unwanted verbal remarks such as inappropriate jokes that make an employee uncomfortable are also a form of hostile behavior.
A hostile work environment is not only detrimental for the employee, but it can also affect the overall performance of the office. Such hostile behavior has a negative impact on the mental health and self-esteem of employees, and it can affect their productivity.
Measures to Avoid a Hostile Work Environment
The following measures can be taken to prevent the development of a hostile work environment:
Adopting a No-Tolerance Policy
An office worker may get away with inappropriate behavior in the form of an offensive joke by claiming it is ‘just a joke and not a big deal.’ However, such a joke may seriously hurt or offend other employees.
Thus, if the office implements a no-tolerance policy, it will greatly reduce the chances of such office misconduct. The policy must comprehensively describe what sort of behavior or actions are categorized as hostile behavior. Moreover, the policy must also inform employees of the consequences in case an office worker goes against the terms and conditions.
It is best to include the no-tolerance policy in an employee workplace conduct handbook that extensively discusses the dos and don’ts of office conduct. This will eliminate the chances of anyone in the workplace getting away with inappropriate behavior.
Regular Employee Training Sessions
The office must hold regular training sessions to educate employees about proper workplace conduct and discipline. Professional speakers can be invited to the office annually to talk about workplace harassment.
This will help employees identify between what is right and wrong behavior and avoid misconduct in the future. Similarly, managers must also receive special training on this topic that not only educates them on proper workplace conduct but also equips them with management skills to identify hostile behavior within the workplace.
It is essential to take timely action when an employee reports a harassment incident. Most of the time, the HR department spends so much time investigating the matter that punishing the abuser or properly resolving the case is forgotten in the process.
It is important for the managers to quickly respond and record each harassment case and take action in time.
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