Majority of U.S. Workers Report Hostile Workplaces

Hilary Tuttle


October 2, 2017

workplace risk management

Whether to manage the risks of labor shortages or workplace conflict and litigation, businesses may need to take a hard look at their culture, according to the American Working Conditions Survey, conducted by researchers from the RAND Corporation, Harvard Medical School and UCLA.

More than half of U.S. workers report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, and nearly a fifth said they face a hostile or threatening social environment at work. Calling this a “disturbingly high” fraction, the researchers noted that younger and “prime-aged” women are most likely to experience unwanted sexual attention, while younger men are more likely to experience verbal abuse.

In addition, the survey found that a quarter of American workers feel they have too little time to do their jobs, approximately half of respondents said they work on their own time to meet the demands of their job, and despite widespread talk of the rise of telecommuting, 78% said they are required to be physically present in the workplace during business hours. Further compounding the struggle for work-life balance, only 54% of employees work the same number of hours day-to-day.

Hilary Tuttle is managing editor of Risk Management.