What Is Verbal Abuse at Work?

Written by theresa smith
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What Is Verbal Abuse at Work?
Micromanagement or abuse? (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Ludovic Bertron)

With the state of the economy, having a job at all is quite a blessing, and having a job that you enjoy is heaven. Many people are working in less-than-ideal positions just to make ends meet. This can make the workplace quite stressful, and that stress affects everyone from employees to bosses. That doesn't mean that you should put up with an abusive situation. To remedy the issue of being in a verbally abusive workplace situation, you must be able to first recognise what constitutes workplace abuse.

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Harassment includes references that are sexual in nature, being told that you are inadequate for your position, or any other demeaning verbal attacks that make you uncomfortable.

Teasing and Gossiping

As juvenile as it seems, it is surprising how many cases of teasing are reported in the work environment. Gossiping can be related to work or personal in nature; either way, it is unpleasant and unacceptable.


Another for of workplace abuse is intimidation. Intimidation may include verbal threats of bodily harm or being fired.


A workplace abuser may threaten to sabotage (or may actually do so) work that you may have done or may threaten to withhold needed changes or information relating to your work projects.

What do you do?

Try to first reach a peaceful resolution with the person you suspect is verbally abusing you. If that does not work and the verbal abuse continues, document any and all interactions, and go to your superiors. We all need jobs to take care of our families, but workplace verbal abuse is never acceptable and should not be tolerated.

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