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Definition, Signs, and Prevention for Verbal Harassment in the Workplace

By Edited May 12, 2015 0 0

Constant ridicule or abusive language in the workplace can be a verbal harassment.

It is a form of workplace violence penalized under state and federal law that covers Sexual harassment and discrimination.

Repetitive verbal harassment can also be linked to workplace violence. It causes psychological and emotional stress which directly or indirectly affects the well being of the employee.

The abuser can create a hostile environment with a purpose to show power to an employee. The abuser may not feel any fear or remorse for his or her actions/ behavior.

The verbal harasser can be the employer, superior, or co-employee. He or she inflicts low self esteem and self-worth to the victim. Repetitive and severe form of verbal harassment can result to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. It clearly affects work productivity.

Here are some signs of verbal harassment in the workplace:

1. Repetitive ridicule

2. Use of profane language

3. Manipulation using words

4. Intentional humiliation in public through language

5. Hurling disrespectful words

6. Assaulting the gender through use of profane words

7. Criticizing the race, ethnicity, color, nationality, or religion of the person through rude language.

The victim must provide the following set of evidence to prove verbal harassment action/behavior:

1. Witness statement on the verbal harassment action/ behavior of the employer/ superior/ co-employee

2. Proof that the victim tried to settle the matter or have asked the management to correct the wrongful action/behavior

3. Written complaint from the victim

4. Photos or any document that may prove your allegation

5. Diagnosis or result of consultation from a mental health practitioner.

Hostile work environment

Verbal harassment causes hostile work environment. The victim can assert that pervasive rudeness of the harasser has caused unhealthy conditions affecting work productivity.

A pattern of unwanted action or behavior must be present. Offensive language and advances constitutes verbal harassment. However, one severe verbal harassment can be a violation of law.

How to avoid verbal harassment in the workplace:

1. Avoid degrading language in all situations, including casual meal time conversation.

2. Be sensitive to what the other person may feel toward a specific action/ behavior.

3. Do not engage in any conversation or dialogue that ridicule or discriminate other employees on the basis of race, gender, age, or religion.

4. If you are part of the management, watch out for early signs of verbal abuse and execute correction or remedy to the problem.

5. Include stipulations in the employment handbook regarding verbal harassment.

Consult with a Labor Rights attorney to know more on how you can file a verbal harassment complaint.

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