How do you know if you’re stuck in a toxic workplace? The warning signs may not be immediately apparent, and some companies brush them aside as normal elements of the working world. However, unhealthy workplace cultures are a top reason why employees quit and move on—sometimes even more important than pay. These traits can suggest that your work environment is toxic.
Lack of Inclusivity
Some workplaces purport to be inclusive of all different types of folks—but a closer look betrays that they treat some employees with less respect. If your workplace is unkind to people based on factors like race, disability status, or sexual orientation, it’s time to move on. Being on the receiving end of that unkindness can take a toll on your mental health.
Do you work in construction under a foreman who doesn’t care about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance? Are you a restaurant employee who’s witnessed health code violations in the kitchen? Regulatory bodies exist for a reason, and if management doesn’t care about rules and regulations, they’re playing fast and loose with your safety. Time to look for something new.
Your co-workers should be collaborators, not competitors. If you’re in a workplace that pits employees against one another, your stress levels may skyrocket and make you dread clocking in. Look for a position that discourages backstabbing instead of rewarding it.
Lack of Respect
No matter where you stand on the corporate ladder, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If you’re an entry-level employee, that doesn’t give your superiors the right to treat you like a nobody. Spend too many years in a disrespectful workplace, and you may find your self-esteem suffering for it.
You should not have to put up with hostility or bullying in any workplace situation. If your supervisor is hostile or abusive to you, they may be violating your rights as an employee to work in a place free of harassment. That’s right—it is against the law for your boss to purposefully humiliate or harass you. You should not tolerate that type of behavior from anyone, let alone your superior.
If you’re wondering if you are in a toxic workplace, step back and analyze how you feel at work. Do any of the above warning signs apply to your situation? If so, it’s time to update your resume and start scheduling interviews elsewhere.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist who appears weekly in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper and can be reached at email@example.com.