Serious Question: Has A Toxic Work Environment Ever Made You Sick?

September 23, 2016  |  

Toxic Work Environments

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Over the past couple of weeks, my best friend has been struggling to maintain a clear mental space when she goes to work. Every time she enters the doors of the non-profit, she begins to question if she belongs in the field because her supervisor (and coworkers) make her life a living hell.

Aside from referring to various ethnicities of color as “gross,” her coworkers taunt her to her face, ignore her when she has work-related questions, and after company events, her supervisor usually spends time cursing at the entire staff if something wasn’t done correctly.

Being exposed to this type of behavior has made my best friend develop a severe case of anxiety and has left her feeling exhausted. And while some friends tell her told her to look for new work because the vitality of her mental health is a priority, others have said it’s not the time to leave the company because it may affect the trajectory of her career. But what if your job’s Human Resources department has their own opinion about how your boss or coworkers treat you. Something along the lines of: “You just need to play the game, or else maybe you do not belong here.'”

That was Apple’s HR response to Hannah who was interviewed by MIC about Apple’s alleged hostile environment. Hannah filed a complaint with HR after a male employee sexually harassed her: “Hannah reported him to human resources and was told it had been addressed, but no one from HR would tell her what, specifically, they had done to resolve her issue,” MIC reports. “I felt like they were brushing me aside. They would ignore me if I saw them in the hallway. It was a very toxic environment,” Hannah shared. After submitting what she thought was an anonymous peer review on the male coworker, Hannah learned that he found out about her review and inevitably began to treat her more negatively. A few weeks after the peer review was submitted, Hannah’s harasser was promoted.

Other Apple employees complained about their mental and overall health being compromised once they began their careers at the tech cooperation.

Ben told MIC that he had a clean bill of mental health but after working at the company’s call center for over ten years, he now has a phobia of telephones. Ben even tried to commit suicide twice because of the work environment. “ Every time I’ve been in the hospital and mental ward, there has been another Apple employee with me. And I’ve been there three times,” he told MIC. Because of his multiple suicide attempts, his coworkers and even managers coined the term “Ben-ing out” to describe someone who appears to be suffering from mental health issues. Because of the banter surrounding such a serious issue, Ben told MIC that no one else would come forward with their own issues because it’s been stigmatized in the office. These issues haven’t been publicized in the press because Ben says Apple is held in the same high regard as the Disney franchise or even the Catholic Church.

Despite the recent press Apple and other tech companies have received for their toxic working environments, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an email to employees that he would not “stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain.” Some Apple employees argue this sentiment from Cook has yet to be applied in their own offices.

Has a work environment ever made you physically or mentally ill?

To receive mental health help, visit MentalHealth.Gov.

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