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How Toxic is Your Workplace?

How Toxic is Your Workplace?

Larry Buhl | for HotJobs

Nobody loves going to work all the time—but there’s a difference between routine workplace hassles and a working environment that stresses you out to the point of illness, according to Linnda Durre, the author of “Surviving the Toxic Workplace.”

Durre suggests that hostile working environments typically have one or more types of dysfunction—how many symptoms does yours have?


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You do the work of two or three people and receive little or no appreciation.
Coworkers steal your ideas and take credit.
Some workers get away with things that others don’t.
Bosses or team members deflect responsibility or project blame for failures onto others.

Immoral and illegal activities

Coworkers ask you to cover or lie for them.
You are asked to falsify data, reports, or documents.
A coworker uses sexual favors to get ahead at work.
Someone is having an affair and asks you to lie for him or her.

Abusive bosses and poisonous coworkers

You or others suffer sexual harassment.
Coworkers miss deadlines and affect your productivity.
A coworker or boss routinely tells lewd, racist, or sexist jokes.
Bosses and peers rely on fear and intimidation.

Physical danger

You or others are at risk because of unsafe conditions.
You or others have ever been threatened or assaulted.

Just plain annoying

Coworkers interrupt your work, invade your space, and help themselves to your files.
Constant gossip, political games, or spying.

Any one of these issues indicates a toxic environment and should not be tolerated, according to Durre. And if you’ve got check marks next to items in more than one category, your workplace may be dangerously poisonous. Unfortunately, employees often believe that these problems are the cost of doing business and must be endured. “Many workers believe they are helpless to change the situation and suffer devastating physical problems from the stress and anger,” Durre says.

Next: Detoxifying Your Workplace >>

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