Examples of a Hostile Work Environment

businesswoman getting angry at a coworkerMost businesses are committed to maintaining a positive and professional environment where employees can thrive and perform to their fullest capacity. However, not all businesses uphold these values. When a work environment becomes hostile, it may put an employee or the company at risk of legal action for allowing bullying, harassment, or illegal management practices. This article will provide hostile work environments examples and the potential risks they cause.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

A hostile work environment is an abusive, offensive and intimidating work environment. A supervisor or coworker can create it. The victim of a hostile work environment may have been subjected to discriminatory treatment because of their race, gender, age, or disability.

At SOLV HR, we know that workplace harassment can be a serious problem in any company, and we want to ensure that you have the resources you need to deal with it. Visit our site to learn more about our HR services Las Vegas office and how we can help you create a safe environment for your employees.

Sexual Harassment

One form of hostile work environment is sexual harassment. It includes verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature that is not requested or expected.

Harassment of a sexual nature can happen between people of the same or different sexes. The harasser can be anyone who has power over the victim and takes advantage of that power to force unwanted sexual attention on the victim.

  • Sexual harassment can take many forms:
  • Verbal comments about your body or appearance
  • Verbal or physical sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
  • Offensive jokes about gender

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is a type of hostile work environment that occurs when an individual is treated differently based on his or her race. This can happen in various ways, but it often involves derogatory comments, unfair treatment, or unwarranted discipline.

Racial harassment includes verbal and physical conduct that offends or insults an employee because of their race. This can include making racist jokes, calling someone names based on their race, or threatening violence against someone because of their skin color.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is a form of hostile work environment often overlooked but can be just as damaging as physical violence. Verbal abuse can take the form of name-calling, belittling a person’s skills or appearance, and other forms of verbal demeaning.

Because of the stigma associated with reporting workplace harassment, victims of verbal abuse may fail to recognize that they are being subjected to a hostile work environment. However, this behavior can lead to a hostile work environment that leads to serious problems for the employee and the organization.

Personal Attacks

Personal attacks are a form of bullying, and they can occur in the workplace. This can be an emotional attack, verbal abuse, or physical threats. The goal of personal attacks is to cause harm to one’s work performance or make one feel unsafe at work.

Many different types of personal attacks can occur in the workplace. Some examples include:

  • Using derogatory names, slurs, jokes about race, gender, sexuality
  • Threatening violence against employees or their families
  • Unwelcome touching or sexual advances
  • Yelling at employees in public places


Intimidation is a form of verbal or physical threat that makes the recipient feel intimidated. It can be intentional or unintentional, though it is often intended to cause fear, anxiety, or stress. It can include threats of termination, loss of promotion opportunities, or other punishment if the recipient does not change their behavior.

Intimidation can take many forms and may include:

  • Threats of physical violence
  • Threats of job loss or demotion
  • Threats of revealing private information about an individual


A hostile work environment can be difficult to understand and even harder to prove. The first step in protecting yourself from this behavior is recognizing when it’s happening. If you’re unsure whether or not something qualifies as a hostile work environment, SOLV HR can help.

SOLV HR is a consulting and training company that offers services for businesses ranging from HR consultants to training courses for employees.

We have helped hundreds of companies establish their employee handbooks, train their employees on the rules of the workplace, and prevent potential issues before they arise. Give us a call to learn how our HR service in Las Vegas can help you create a safe and productive workspace for all your employees!

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