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What Are Your Options When You're Stuck in a Hostile Work Environment?

Everyone has lived or worked in an environment that is less than pleasant. A hostile work environment is all too real for many people. Hostile coworkers are guaranteed to damper your work output and self confidence. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this hostility. Here are five options that you can take if you are stuck in a hostile work environment.

Know Your Rights

There are hostile work environment laws at the federal level that protect you from harassment in the work place. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 all have provisions that protect you from workplace harassment and discrimination. If you think you might be stuck in a hostile environment, read about your rights under these laws before confronting the issues.

Discuss the Issue

Speak to your coworker about the problem because it could have nothing to do with you. This person could be misdirecting anger at innocent people. Sometimes the best solution is to talk over the issue in an attempt to show understanding. When you show care for your co-worker, that person should become less aggressive toward you.

Ignore Hostile Workers

When you ignore angry and aggressive people, they are likely to go somewhere else and leave you alone. Many hostile people are just seeking attention, so deprive them of this privilege. Keep your nose in work and maintain a positive attitude that allows you to ignore irritating people.

Record the Incidences

Keep proper documentation of your encounters with hostile co-workers. Take notes of all comments or actions that are considered to be inappropriate. If your problems become too much to handle, provide a thorough report to your supervisor. Then, your supervisor will take up the matter from there and suggests better solutions.

Keep Working No Matter What

Under no circumstances should you retaliate or become negative. The best way to avoid becoming hostile yourself is to stay focused on work. Do not let other people’s ignorance or aggression affect your work schedule. However, if the hostility becomes too much, ask to receive an immediate transfer.

File a Complaint

Filing a complaint should be your last option because you do not know if anyone could retaliate. If all other options have not worked, file a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Include all of the details that pertain to any harassment or discrimination that you have experienced. You can make complaints if you have ever been treated unfairly because of your race, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

Last Updated: April 15, 2015