People often throw around the phrase “hostile work environment” to describe workplaces that are tense, unpleasant, or stressful. In truth, few workplaces are unpleasant enough to overcome the high hurdle of what qualifies as a hostile work environment under the law. However, even bad employee behavior that does not meet the legal definition of a hostile work environment can still have enormous effects on those involved and the workplace as a whole. Much of this disruptive behavior is more akin to what experts call “workplace bullying.”
Although the concept of workplace bullying is not new, many companies don’t address it in their employment policies or handbooks. We at ILG and other investigators have noticed recently that more and more of the issues we are asked to investigate involve employee behavior that is closer to workplace bullying than illegal hostile work environment harassment. So, I thought it would be a good time to talk about workplace bullying and how it differs from hostile work environment. To read more about Hostile Work Environment vs. Workplace Bullying, please click here.