Some employees believe that a bad boss, an unpleasant work environment, a rude co-worker, or the lack of perks, privileges, benefits, and recognition can create a hostile work environment. But, the reality is that for a workplace to be hostile, certain legal criteria must be met. Additionally, the behaviour, actions or communication must be discriminatory in nature.
So, a co-worker who talks loudly, snaps her gum, and leans over your desk when she talks with you, is demonstrating inappropriate, rude, obnoxious behaviour, but it does not create a hostile work environment. On the other hand, a co-worker who tells sexually explicit jokes and sends around images of nude people, is guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
A boss who verbally berates you about your age, your religion, your gender, or your race may be guilty of creating a hostile work environment. This is especially true if you asked the individual to stop and the behaviour continues.
You can read some of our tips for creating a positive working environment over here. For anyone who may need help dealing with a difficult situation regarding behaviour in the workplace, visit reachout.com for advice.