Signs of Mistreatment at Work

A toxic work environment is one of the leading causes of stress, especially when there are signs that you’re mistreated. Some workplaces are simply troublesome to be in and take a level of patience to handle, while others have employees who seemingly go out of their way to mistreat you. It can be hard to tell the difference between targeted harassment at your workplace and if it’s something that happens to everyone. Here are a few occurrences to watch out for and how to address them.


If you work in an environment that thrives on teamwork and collective endeavors, you might find it insulting if you are not asked to give your input or join a group. Although some workers know that their contributions would be minimal and stick to what they know, others feel that they have a lot to give – but they’re denied.

You might be excluded on account of your race or gender, or you might be believed to not have any good ideas.

To fix it, you can always go to your boss and bring it up with one of the team members who appear to have the most authority. If you show up and put in your work, and it turns out to be a favorable or successful project, you’re more likely to get accepted and erase the exclusion.


It’s not uncommon to ask for overtime, promotions, added benefits, a raise, a transfer, and other perks at your company, but if your boss continually denies you in favor of people who have been there a short time or who have not completed the same amount of work as you, you are likely being mistreated and targeted by your boss.

Often, bosses won’t come out and say what they don’t like about you. Some will even go so far as to make your work life miserable so you’ll quit – that way, he won’t have to fire you and pay any severance.

You can go to your Human Resources department if you believe your boss is targeting you and not giving you the benefits you deserve, especially if you have signed a contract or agreement detailing pay rises and vacation days.


It’s important to establish what you can do at your job. If your co-workers and boss take advantage of you by forcing you to take tasks that are below your capabilities or well beyond them, you may feel stressed and mistreated.

You can explain to your boss that your job description and duties do not include the tasks you’re getting assigned. If he doesn’t listen and continues to assign you these responsibilities, it might be a good idea to approach Human Resources.


The workplace is not a schoolyard or playground, and taunting and harassment is a serious incident. It can lead to tension at work and may even escalate to assault if it gets out of hand. You may very well be racially or religiously targeted – and the sentiments might be shared by other co-workers, even if they are not vocal about them. They might not want to speak up because they are afraid of being complicit, but they also won’t stand up for you.

To resolve this issue, the best task is to go to your Human Resources department and the ACLU or EEOC. “Legal action in these circumstances is usually the only way to right them, and businesses have to comply with tolerance laws,” says Daniel Azizi, founder of the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group.

Employees are meant to be protected and if there are any epithets, slurs, and potentially harmful situations at work, especially if they are carried out by other workers, you could very well take up the legal issue with your company.