Dealing with a Toxic Work Environment


Improving a Toxic WorkEnvironment

In order to heal a toxic work environment, you need to be ready and well-equipped. Employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) to have a policy in place that deals with workplace conflicts. This policy should be accessible to all employees, as well as a training to discuss the implementation of the policy. Having this policy in place allows for complete understanding from all members within your organization of the kind of behaviour that will not be tolerated.

If a toxic or hostile workplace is an ongoing issue, bringing in a third party is your best course of action. Professional mediation can be brought in at any point during a conflict, as long as everyone involved has agreed to this next step. Global Mindful Solutions offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to workplace resolution. Whether it be investigation or mediation, we handle all sensitive situations with care, thoughtfulness, and discretion. If your workplace has developed toxic or hostile behaviours, contact us today about our mediation services in Ottawa.

A boss standing over two stressed employees

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs of a toxic work environment?

There are several signs to look for if you think you may be a part of a toxic work environment. Common signs of a toxic work environment include but are not limited too:

    • A high turnover rate
    • Management not valuing input from employees
    • Workplace gossip and bullying
    • No Work-Life Balance
    • Low workplace morale
    • Unrealistic deadlines and workloads
    • No clear vision

To learn more about toxic work environments or what to do if you are in a toxic work environment, contact Global Mindful Solutions today.

How should I handle a toxic work environment?

Here are a few key steps to help you handle a toxic work environment, these steps include:

    • Knowing your boundaries & sticking to them
    • Knowing when to contact HR
    • Taking up a new activity outside of work to help relieve stress
    • Recording any inappropriate behaviour
    • Planning an exit strategy
    • Knowing when to get outside help

If you believe that you are being bullied, harassed or assaulted in the workplace try to keep a detailed record of the events and contact HR. Unsure if you are a victim of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace? Contact Global Mindful Solutions today to learn more.

How do I report a toxic coworker?

If you believe that you are working with a toxic coworker and would like to report them you should speak with the HR department within your company and they will direct you on how to properly file a complaint.

If the company you are working for retaliates, you should immediately report the incident to local law enforcement. It is illegal for a company to retaliate filing an HR report.

If your HR department is unresponsive to a workplace complaint you should bring in local law enforcement and notify them of the situation. If they remain unresponsive, you should consider taking legal action.

To learn more about properly handling a toxic work environment, contact Global Mindful Solutions today.

How does HR address a toxic work environment?

HR has a number of policies and procedures to handle a toxic work environment. These policies and procedures include:

    • Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS): Employees are required to have a policy in place that deals with workplace conflicts, this policy must be accessible to all employees.
    • Workplace Investigations: third party workplace investigations can provide professional advice on whether or not a workplace is toxic or hostile.
    • Third Party Meditation: bringing in an unbiased third-party for professional mediation can often benefit all employees if they agree to this step.

To learn more about our professional workplace mediation and resolution services, contact Global Mindful Solutions today.

What causes a toxic work environment?

There are several factors that can lead to a toxic work environment. These factors can include but are not limited to:

    • Resistance to change
    • Employees are not the right fit for the organization
    • Entitled employees
    • Managers disagree with a company decision
    • Managers do not demonstrate the values of the organization
    • Managers provide irregular feedback
    • Not paying attention to the needs and drives of others within the organization

There are many effective ways to resolve and restore a toxic work environment to create a healthy and productive workplace. To get help dealing with a toxic workplace, contact Global Mindful Solutions today.

Two coworkers wearing masks separated by a plexiglass barrier

Signs Of A Toxic Work Environment

Toxic workplaces can lead to stress, burnout and high turnover rate within companies. It’s important to understand whether your work environment is toxic or not and determine what the cause may be. As an employer, it is your responsibility to manage conflicts that arise in the workplace. If conflicts are not addresses in an adequate manner, this can lead to a toxic work environment.

Examples of behaviours that can create a toxic or hostile environment are:

  • Offensive jokes
  • Insults, slurs and name-calling
  • Touching, physical assaults, and threats
  • Intimidation, ridicule, and mockery
  • Use of sexual language
  • Sexually suggestive objects or pictures
  • Interference with work performance

Such behaviours are in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In many cases, an employer may not even be aware of the behaviours that are causing a toxic workplace. Global Mindful Solutions offers investigation services that aim to address the root of workplace dysfunctions in Ottawa. Proper investigation can help protect employers and employees from a toxic work environment.

Our Related Services

Global Mindful Solutions offers services that aim to provide workplaces in Ottawa with understanding
where issues may come from, how to solve them and how to move forward as a team.


Protect your workplace from potential conflict, liabilities and other consequences. Learn more about Global Mindful Solutions’ workplace
investigation services.

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Communicate in a respectful, honest, and confidential environment to work through workplace conflicts. Learn more about Global Mindful Solutions’ workplace mediation services.

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Take the necessary steps to heal and establish a healthier workplace with communication skills training. Learn more about Global Mindful Solutions’ workplace restoration services.

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Potential Causes of a Toxic Workplace

Now that we know what signs to look for when spotting a toxic workplace, it is important to know what are some potential causes of a toxic workplace in order to get to the root of the issue.

There are many reasons why a workplace may become toxic. Examples of reasons why a workplace may be toxic include:

  • Poor communication
  • Little work-life balance
  • Poor leadership
  • Unmotivated coworkers
  • Corrupt work culture
  • Stifled growth opportunities
  • Harmful employees
  • Rapid employee turnover

All hope is not lost if you are currently experiencing a toxic workplace. There are many measures that can be taken to build a strong and healthy work environment for leaders and employees. Coaching can be done with specific employees or as a team, clearer lines of responsibility can be drawn and classes or courses can be taken to better promote a healthy work environment.

To learn about ways to restore a toxic workplace, and improve your current workforce, contact Global Mindful Solutions today. Our team offers professional workplace investigation, restoration and mediation services to get your team on the right track!

Take Action Today for a Brighter Tomorrow

“If you want peace, stop fighting. If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thoughts.”

Peter McWilliams