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  • Writer's pictureC.G. Perry

Is "TOXIC" Acceptable At Work?

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Original photo by Ilayza Macayan on Unsplash

Today, the story of business resembles less like a tale of “rags to riches” and more like a “dystopian social science fiction”. According to a 2018 report, published by the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, employees feel pressured to “bend the rules” for the sake of job security. Former news editor and award-winning editorial writer, Jan Lee (2018) reported, “Employees are not just feeling more pressure to compromise their ethics but are observing more ethics violations.” These ethical violations include misuse of confidential information, bribes, sexual harassment, and conflicts of interest - such as gifts to employees and nepotism. Even more concerning is the rate by which such behavior is becoming the new professional norm. Lee continues, “Sixty-three percent see such practices rewarded, fueling the likelihood that violations will appear.”

There are greater concerns regarding the efficacy of the reporting procedures employers offer to address such violations. Employees may endure the weight of a third-party obligation by even considering whistleblowing. Coming forward does not preclude whistleblowers from reprisal by fellow employees, management, the media, or the observant public, because even in the workplace, snitches tend to recieve stitches.

United Airlines: At It Again

Leon Kaye, writer and Executive Editor of TriplePundit, reported United Airlines fired thirteen flight attendants for insubordination because they refused to fly aboard a 747 with suspicious images depicted on the tail of the aircraft. Kaye considers the firing of the thirteen flight attendants – each with eighteen years of experience - excessive and may be indicative of the implicit incivility in the airline industry among workers and management.

Uncivil, Unethical, and Liable

Kirsty Matthewson wrote employees who feel disrespected, belittled, or undermined are victims of uncivil treatment. “Though the toll is sometimes hidden, the costs of incivility is tremendous.” Of the employees who experience or witness uncivilized (unethical) conduct at work, 66% reported their performance declined, while 78% admitted committing less to the organization. Such bad behavior stems from or will lead to the workplace being a toxic environment rife with stress and a decline in overall productivity.

Corporate culture counts, and the toxicity of the workplace shows on a company’s balance sheet. Employees perform and feel better when they feel respected at work, but fostering an ethically fair and inclusive workspace can be incentive enough for great employees to stay. Are you in a toxic workplace? Are your coworkers more concerned about who they are working with than the job itself? How will your work situation get better? Here are a few steps you can take now:

1) Search for “Toxic Work Environment Solutions'',

2) Locate the text(s) that fit to your situation(s) the best.

3) Copy and paste that text into a MS Word document.

4) Print that Word document and discreetly leave it plain view for your supervisor(s) to find and read.

Alternatively, you may contact your Human Resource Manager (or equivalent position) and provide them with your personal insights on the matters they may be oblivious to. Your HR Manager might have been already aware of your concerns and hearing you voice them can be the validation they need to take action. If those options still seem too risky, then consider suggesting to your manager that it is about time for another department-level anonymous survey. By doing so, you are indirectly indicating to management to pay their employees some attention.

This article was inspired by and promotes the great work and journalism done by the folks over at For over a decade, TriplePundit has reported on the intersection of people, planet and profit; believing business can be a force for good. They make the business case for corporate responsibility and sustainability, and the private sector's leadership to secure social justice and fair economic opportunities for all. The bottom line: TriplePundit reports on the business of doing better.

TriplePundit provides conceptual context for a readership of CSR and sustainability professionals, C-suite executives, the corporate workforce, journalists, academics, activists, NGOs, and concerned citizens. A staff of expert writers contributes analysis, insights, and opinion on issues at the top of today's business agenda. Those issues include climate change, diversity and inclusion, socially responsible investment, employee engagement, corporate governance, and responsible supply chain management.

About the Author

Born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Chris Perry travels the world as he writes for and manages the Grey Point of View. His hobbies include mastering the art of web design, navigating global news, and studying weapons of mass destruction. is an independent blog on ethics, politics, Euro-life and more. Written by expats, global citizens and other interesting sapiens. If you are interested in writing with us, send us your post for review. We look forward to hearing from you.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect this site's official policy or position. To learn more about our policies visit

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