Unknown to many and ignored by an even greater number of people, psychologically toxic office environments can lead to mental health issues. It’s not
Unknown to many and ignored by an even greater number of people, psychologically toxic office environments can lead to mental health issues. It’s not just about the stress either, although that too can be cause for serious psychological and physical problems. As we take a brief look through the various aspects which often leave employees with no other choice than to contact employment solicitors for addressing them, things should begin to make more sense.
Bullying is the Biggest Factor Other than Stress Which Leads to Mental Health Issues in Employees
Bullies are not exclusive to schools and thanks to social media, there’s also cyberbullying to contend with these days. Bullying in the office can originate from the employee’s personality, gender, disabilities, looks, affiliations, religion, past, and even ethnicity. It’s completely illegal and does not need to be tolerated by any employee. This is more than just an HR issue, so anyone who is being bullied in any form at the office, be it by someone specific, or by an entire group, should not hesitate to seek professional advice.
If you are in this unfortunate position, check out this list of the top employment law solicitors on Qredible, where you can search for employment solicitors and find one who practices closest to your specific location in the UK. They also have a direct video call option on the site for harassed and bullied employees to immediately get into a virtual meeting with the employment law solicitors of their choice.
What are the Various Types of Office Bullying?
Office bullying can originate from factors that were already mentioned, but there are usually a few types in which the actual actions can be categorised. As will be evident next, they are all directly or indirectly related to specific targeting of an employee, or a whole group of them.
Irrespective of one’s gender, attempts towards sexual implications and coercions, be it from the manager or another colleague, create grounds for sexual harassment lawsuits. Even if the indirect or direct implications come from someone very high up the corporate ladder, there is no reason for an employee to not call upon employment solicitors for guidance and help.
There is a difference between office humour and humiliation, especially if lines are being crossed regularly, with the humiliation attempts seeming to be targeted specifically towards just a few or even one particular employee. If an employee feels that they are being made the focal centre for ridicule and humiliation on purpose, seeking legal aid is highly advised, as this can lead to loss of confidence and self-belief, anxiety, depression, and a general sense of work dissatisfaction.
The humiliations themselves can come in multiple forms as stated next:
- Ridicule and teasing
- Berating in front of the entire office
- Verbal abuse, be it in public or private
- Berating someone personally, be it in private or in public
- Rumours and gossips
- Constant criticism, often done in public
- Intentionally ignoring someone’s professional opinions, statements, questions, and even courteous greetings
- Targeting a specific employee, or a group of employees with over the line office pranks incessantly
Intimidation in a work environment can be categorised along the following lines, based on how they are usually implemented by the bully/bullies:
- Threats of violence
- Threats of public humiliation
- Threats of exposing embarrassing personal knowledge about a specific employee
- Verbal abuse with coercive intentions
- Threats of termination
- Blackmailing with sexual/non-sexual coercive intentions
When an employee is being intimidated to do something that they do not want to do, nor should they have to do as part of the job description, that qualifies for a lawsuit against the offender in their workplace, irrespective of their position in that company.
Denial of Opportunities/Positions
This qualifies as humiliation in an indirect manner as well, since the targeted employee will be forced to bear the following, without due professional cause to support the decision:
- Denial to grant access or intentionally withholding information that would have been crucial to the success of that specific employee
- Limiting qualified and experienced workers in roles that are beneath their job description, intentionally
- Not granting promotions or positions that an employee has earned professionally
- Ignoring the opinions, ideas, and instructions of a management employee, even after they have been put in charge of that specific operation
- Intentionally/unintentionally setting workloads and/or targets within deadlines that cannot be completed or met
- Using connections with the higher-ups to delay or deny facilities/promotions/awards/rewards, etc. which an employee should be entitled to
As bullying over a long period of time can and will almost assuredly lead to a number of mental health issues and changes in personality through depression, anxiety, stress, anger, resentment, loss of confidence, etc. it is both the duty of the management and the bullied employee himself/herself to act fast.
A toxic office environment is one where the employee doesn’t feel comfortable or safe, even if the danger is not physical in nature. Now, it may or may not be one of the reasons we just mentioned, but as long as an employee is feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in their workplace due to the actions of a colleague, a group, the management, or some aspect of the in-house environment, it can be termed as a toxic office environment.
Rather than trying to simply weather something that’s clearly causing you to lose your mental peace, take the help of employment law experts and figure out a viable solution. This isn’t just about the immediate effects of having a lawyer on one’s side, but also about getting back our sense of control, which goes a long way towards boosting the individual’s lost confidence and overall productivity as well.
Employers should and often do take active steps to curb office bullying, but just in case, they are not enough, it is once again advisory to contact employment law solicitors and get it all to stop immediately. It is possible that the employee might also be entitled to a big compensation, on account of the trauma that they have had to deal with for so many years.