Worker describes toxic work environment
I work in a toxic environment, and my boss hates me. He talks about how he wanted someone else in my position, and is upset that he didn’t get to pick the person he wanted for the job. He goes out of his way to correct me when I speak, interrupts me and screams at me in front of my co-workers. He goes for days at a time without speaking to me. My boss walks in and greets everyone except me, and leaves without saying good night.
He never tells me when he is going to be out of the office. I am his assistant and have to handle his work when he is out. If I check to see if he is coming in, I am being “nosy,” and my co-workers become secretive around me. He makes passiveaggressive comments within earshot, and makes fun of me.
My co-workers and other managers join in and have started to also ignore me and become obnoxious, like screaming while I am trying to work, interrupting me or whispering while I am around. Some of them flat-out stop their conversations when I pass them or laugh when I walk by.
The only feedback I get is from a co-worker who made a comment about how a person has to “have a sense of humour” in this environment.
It’s a really horrible environment — a good ol’ boys’ club — so the higher-ups don’t care, and HR is nonexistent.
Is there any way to resolve this, or should I just leave? — WORRIED WORKER Dear Worried:
What you have described is the essence of a hostile work environment.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the treatment you describe is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex or national origin. The law also protects you from retaliation if you complain about discrimination or participate in an EEOC proceeding (for example, a discrimination investigation or lawsuit).
You can research your rights on the EEOC website: (eeoc. gov), to see if you want to try to take action against your employer. At the same time, you should undertake a job search. I hope you find a different job in a more welcoming environment.