Verbal Abuse in the Workplace


Being the target of verbal abuse is never easy in any context, and it is even worse when it happens in what should be a professional setting. Verbal abuse in the workplace among coworkers or superiors, is humiliating and challenging for the victim. Like other abusive situations in the workplace, it contributes to establishing a hostile working environment. Furthermore, an employee can claim that the verbal abuse is so pervasive that their ability to do their job has been impeded.

Typically, verbal abuse is initiated by a person with seniority over a lower ranking employee. It can transpire during a one on one interaction when a person wants to assert their authority by degrading or belittling a worker, or it can happen in front of others.  Peers or friends of the person being verbally abused often times do not speak up for fear of retribution or becoming the target.

Verbal abuse not only messes with a person’s mental well being, but with their productivity, and it is obviously not good for the company either. Abusers are bullies, and they pick out their victims in a calculated manner. They look for a target less inclined to speak up, which is why the culture must promote proactive measures.

In the event that a company is unable to resolve the issue properly, the employee should consider seeking counsel elsewhere and find out what his or her options are.


See also 7 Steps: Dealing with a Hostile Work Environment