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7 Warning Signs of a Toxic Employee

7 warning signs of a toxic employee

There’s no doubt that working with a toxic employee can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing. But, if you’re not careful, they can also poison the workplace. So how do you know if you’re dealing with a toxic employee? Here are seven warning signs of a toxic employee to watch out for.

1. Always negative and complain about everything

There’s always one person at work who seems negative and complains about everything. They’re the ones who are quick to point out what’s wrong but never offer any solutions. Or maybe they’re just generally unhappy and make everyone around them feel the same way. If you have an employee who fits this description, it might be time to talk with them. After all, negativity can be contagious, and it can have a severe impact on morale.

2. Always late or take long breaks

Being late or taking long breaks can be signs of a toxic employee. When your employee constantly comes in late or leaves early, it sends the message that their job isn’t a priority. When employees frequently take long breaks, it deprives their coworkers of the chance to get their work done. In short, being late or taking long breaks makes them toxic employees because it disrupts the workflow and causes frustration for those around them.

3. Don’t seem to care about their work or the company

Being toxic in the workplace can come in many forms. For example, your employee might be the constantly underperforming person, or maybe they’re the one who is always complaining. Or, they might have a negative attitude that rubs everyone wrong. Whatever the case, they can be toxic if they don’t seem to care about their work or company. And unfortunately, being toxic can have serious consequences. It can damage morale, hinder productivity, and even lead to turnover.

4. Gossip or spread rumors

There’s always that one person at work who loves to gossip. You know the type – they’re always poking their nose into other people’s business and trying to stir up trouble. Unfortunately, all this gossiping can have a toxic effect on the workplace. Not only does it make it challenging to build trust and Cooperation among workers, but it can also lead to false rumors and misunderstandings.

5. Constantly arguing with others

If your employee constantly argues with their coworkers, it might be a sign that they’re a toxic employee. Toxic employees create a poisonous environment at work, and their negativity can quickly spread to other team members. If they’re constantly arguing with others, it’s likely that they’re not working towards the common goal and that they’re more interested in winning the argument than in finding a resolution. Toxic employees often deflect blame, resist constructive feedback, and are quick to criticize others.

6. Always on their phones or checking social media

Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that it can be difficult to imagine life without it. For many people, their phone is the first and last thing they look at daily. While this dependence on technology is not necessarily harmful, it can have negative consequences. When workers are constantly on their phones or checking social media, it can create a sense of disconnection and isolation. In addition, this constant distraction can lead to decreased productivity and quality of work. If you notice that your employees spend more time on their phones than they are working, it may be time to discuss appropriate workplace behavior. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a toxic work environment.

7. Take credit for other people’s work

Toxic employees often take credit for other people’s work. They might do this by claiming they did all the work themselves or by taking credit for ideas that were not their own. This behavior is not only dishonest, but it can also lead to conflict and resentment among team members.

What is the best course of action to deal with a toxic worker?

If you have a toxic employee in your workplace, it’s crucial to take action. Ignoring the problem will not make it disappear – it will likely only worsen the situation. The best course of action is to address the issue head-on. Schedule a meeting with the employee and give them specific examples of their toxic behavior. Be clear about their actions’ consequences and give them a chance to change their behavior. If they’re unwilling or unable to change, you may need to consider taking disciplinary action, including termination.

It’s critical to handle a toxic employee as soon as possible, regardless of the circumstances. Allowing them to continue their harmful behavior will only harm your workplace.


There are a few types of employees you should try to avoid. These employees are always negative and complain; they are always late or take long breaks, don’t seem to care about their work or the company, gossip or spread rumors, and argue with others. Knowing what signs of a toxic employee to look for, you can hopefully avoid these types of employees and create a more positive and productive work environment.

You may also be interested in Manage Conflict for Better Results in the Workplace.