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A hostile work environment can go unnoticed for a long time. Some people don’t realize they work for a hostile company until they’ve completely burnt out. If you feel unsafe, unwelcome, or intimidated at your job, that is not normal. A poor work atmosphere can affect your livelihood, mood, income, and, most of all, your mental health.

Workers cannot function and live up to their full potential if their mental health declines, especially if the source of all that hurt is their job. Here’s how to identify a hostile work environment so that you can protect yourself and your mental health.

Does It Discriminate?

In our current day, discrimination isn’t as obvious as it used to be. It’s hard to find or prove that someone is accepting or rejecting clients and workers based on age, race, gender, or sexuality. However, this does not mean it doesn’t happen.

Discrimination can show up as offensive and discriminatory comments or jokes that someone may pass off as teasing. If you find yourself repeatedly hearing or being on the receiving end of hurtful comments, this is a major sign of a hostile work environment.

Is It Pervasive?

If harmful comments or actions of any nature continue, it may be a problem with the work environment rather than just a single employee. If you bring it to the attention of higher-ups and the issue continues, this is a sign of a larger problem.

Most often, this kind of issue can show up as sexual harassment and cannot simply be brushed under the rug with sensitivity training. You must learn the signs of sexual harassment. If there is a pervasive systemic issue, it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing you as an individual can do to fix that kind of problem.

Is It Oppressive?

If your work environment is causing you stress to the point where it impacts your quality and will to work, then your work environment might be oppressive. Oppressive situations often look like supervisors or bosses threatening workers verbally or physically.

An oppressive environment doesn’t have to be based on age, race, gender, or sexuality. Any kind of threat or intimidation is wrong and unprofessional, no matter who tries to downplay it.

The best way to identify a hostile work environment is to ask yourself whether you feel welcome, safe, comfortable, and valued. If you don’t, a job change may be the best move. Remember, you deserve to be treated kindly and fairly. No one deserves to feel threatened or uncomfortable where they work, no matter who they are.

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