When starting a new job, or when you’ve been at a workplace for a long period of time, many emotions and feelings may arise. The ideal work environment includes respect, communication, and positivity, however, there are some instances where a workplace can become extremely toxic. The good thing is there are many ways to handle this, and to spot it as well.

There will always be stressful times when it comes to a workplace, especially if it is a fast-paced job or busy environment. When it becomes too much to handle and there are many red flags, it is time to reflect and be aware of what is really taking place. Key components of what a toxic workplace may look like could include the following:

  • Bullying and harassment of any type. This can include harmful and offensive verbal comments, jokes, and physical abuse;
  • Being excluded or isolated;
  • Spreading rumours or gossip;
  • Inappropriate behaviour.

When in a toxic environment where bullying takes place, an individual may feel a range of emotions. It can lead to many unhealthy symptoms such as headaches, frustration, or even loss of appetite. If any of these symptoms occur, or you feel you are personally being bullied or harassed, there are steps you can take to make it better.

1. Record when incidents take place.

Be sure to include dates, times, and any information you can collect.

2. Reflect on how you feel and what is taking place.

Journaling is a great self-care habit that helps for many situations.

3. Communicate with someone you feel comfortable with.

You can speak to a family member, friends, a trusted colleagues, or a therapist.

4. Set boundaries with your colleagues and management.

Along with these steps, remember is that you are not alone. There are many individuals who are dealing with workplace harassment or bullying, and many who understand how it feels.

BullyingCanada discusses bullying and harassment, and ways to get help. Along with advice and support, the website also states that 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. This is a high percentage, but the good news is that taking these steps and being aware of what is taking place, can help put a halt to what is going on.

Alexandra Scivoletto, Registered Provisional Psychologist, shares that being aware of what is taking place, and following self-care habits such as eating healthy, drinking water, getting exercise, and exposure to sunlight can be ways to minimize the stress taking place. Putting oneself first is always the most important step in taking care of one’s body and mind.


Blog post by Jasmine Boyer, Client Relations Coordinator.


“Get Help.” BullyingCanada, https://www.bullyingcanada.ca/get-help/.

Government of Canada, C. C. for O. H. and S. (2021, September 12). Bullying in the workplace : Osh answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.