Poisonous Environments at Work

Do you work in a poisonous environment?

Think about the phrase “poisonous workplace”. What does it make you think of? Do cynical, unfulfilled, contemptuous people come to mind? People exploiting their ‘power’ within an organization? Maybe an atmosphere laced with bullying and intimidation, and most predictably, harassment.

Does the word “harassment” make you feel uneasy because of the confusing connotations, suspicious intentions and political correctness attached to it? Or perhaps you feel a pit in your stomach because “harassment” reminds you of a dreaded colleague, and thinking about the word brings you to the brink of finally admitting something to yourself.

In Canada you have a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace. It’s realistic to expect some conflict within the workplace, like a personality clash or a disagreement over different styles of work, but if you believe you are being targeted by someone for no reason, or a reason for which you have no control, then the word might have special meaning for you.

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Joan Sharpe