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Toxic Employees are Management’s Responsibility

  • Posted by: Ellen Kandell

My blood pressure went up when I read this article,  5 Signs of a Toxic Workplace That Should Be Stopped Immediately.   Instead of exhorting leaders and management to detoxify their workplaces. Marcel Schwantes declares that it is the employees’ responsibility to deal with other toxic employees.

I disagree completely. It rests with an organization’s management and leaders to quash toxic behavior in the workplace as soon as it happens.

Leaders must take action, immediately and firmly, against behavior that is damaging to the organization and employee morale:

  • Develop workplace code of conduct rules that clearly bar the offensive behavior
  • Meet with the alleged perpetrator as soon as possible and re-state company policy and your expectations for behavior
  • If the conduct falls within sexual harassment do an investigation
  • Separate the individuals involved
  • Conduct periodic training on workplace behavior expectations


Read more about my perspective on this topic in my review of the book The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton. It’s a cogent review on building a civilized workplace.

Since when are employees responsible for managing poor behavior of their colleagues?  It’s in the nature of fake news!


Ellen F. Kandell is a certified professional mediator and attorney with over 30 years of public and private sector experience.  An expert in dispute resolution and mediation, Ms. Kandell is certified by the International Mediation Institute. She has been a leader in the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution. She provides mediation services, group facilitation, neutral evaluation and training to diverse, national clients. Get in touch with her via emailLinkedInTwitter, or give her a call at 301-588-5390.

Author: Ellen Kandell

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