As anyone in California can attest, working with unhappy or abusive people can be a miserable experience. However, the long-term health effects of working in a toxic environment may include mental and physical issues that impact both a person’s work performance and personal life.
A “toxic work environment” refers to the emotional atmosphere of being around managers, coworkers or clients who are consistently negative or abusive. According to Forbes, workplace toxicity can include a variety of unpleasant and unprofessional behaviors, from yelling bosses to gossiping coworkers to customers who are allowed to insult and demean employees. Often, those in a position of authority control their employees by making them feel afraid to speak out or to make suggestions. They may demand absolute obedience or they might put down employees, rather than build them up and encourage them. Coworkers might engage in bullying or teasing others to make themselves look better or to “fit in” with stronger personalities.
Working with toxic people can cause long-term stress, depression and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic explains that chronic stress can take a physical toll on the body, resulting in such health issues as obesity, high blood pressure, headaches, joint pain and heart disease.
An ongoing negative emotional situation at work can cause workplace injuries that take the form of mental health issues, physical pain and even life-threatening conditions. Nobody should have to work under conditions that threaten their emotional and physical wellbeing. It may be necessary for those in toxic workplaces to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.