One-Fifth of Americans Find Workplace Hostile or Threatening

A new study by the Rand Corporation, Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles has found that many Americans feel their workplace is a threatening environment.

The study says nearly 20 percent of employed workers say their workplace is a hostile environment, with sexual harassment and bullying.

Other factors found include:

Nearly 55 percent say they face "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" conditions.

Nearly three quarters say they spend at least a fourth of their time on the job in "intense or repetitive physical" labor. "I was surprised at how physically demanding jobs were," says lead author Nicole Maestas, a Harvard Medical School economist.

Telecommuting is rare: 78 percent say they are required to be present in their workplace during working hours.

Only 38 percent say their jobs offer good prospects for advancement. And the older they get, the less optimistic they become.

About half say they work on their own time to meet the demands of their job.

Maestas says she wonders if there is a link between toxic working conditions and peoples' reluctance to joining the workforce.

The percentage of Americans who are working or looking for work hasn't returned to pre-recession levels and is well below its 2000 peak at 67.3 percent.

The unemployment rate is at 16 year low and many corporations say they can't fill positions.

Not everything is all bad though;

"Workers enjoy considerable autonomy: more than 80 percent say they get to solve problems and try out their own ideas. Moreover, 58 percent say their bosses are supportive, and 56 percent say they have good friends at work."

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