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What to do if I am being verbal abused regularly in workplace?

Verbal abuse in a professional setting is characterized as shouting, derogatory comments, name-calling, insulting, offensive, or vulgar language, as well as remarks that are harassing due to political preferences, gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. Supervisors, employees, or even the customer base, clients, or contractors may engage in this kind of conduct. The offender may use overt behaviors like name-calling and threats in addition to covert ones like gaslighting or continually correcting, interrupting, putting down, and humiliating the victim. Even prolonged silences might be considered a kind of verbal abuse. The person is trying to control and punish the victim by not speaking to them.

Verbal abuse at work can take many different forms, including:

  • Blaming: Making the victim think they are at fault for the abusive behavior or that they are responsible for their own verbal abuse is referred to as blaming.

  • Criticism is abusive when it is not constructive but rather malicious and hurtful. In these circumstances, harsh and repeated comments are used to instill self-doubt in a person.

  • Gaslighting is a sneaky and perhaps subtle form of emotional abuse in which the abuser makes the victim question their own perceptions of reality.

Judging is when you hold the victim to unachievable standards, look down on them, or refuse to accept them for who they are.Verbal abuse is a destructive form of communication that is motivated by underlying hostility and anger and intended to damage the other person’s sense of self. Anyone can use verbal abuse occasionally, especially when they are stressed out or in pain. It is a maladaptive method. It is a series of actions used by some people to manipulate, control, or exact retribution on others.

Remedies available against verbal abuse at workplace.

In India, unfortunately there are no specific acts or sections which explicitly deals with verbal abuse at workplace but rather a fair definition of verbal abuse is provided in the labour laws. As due to lack of applicable laws, the victims of verbal abuse have only one option i.e., to report to HR department of their company.

Here are the following steps to be followed in case you want to file an internal case against them:

Sometimes dealing with the problem makes workers feel as terrible as the abuse itself. As a result, facing the problem is essential to preventing it from happening again in the future. Here are some methods for dealing with and expelling verbally abusive people.

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1. Keep a journal:

Start keeping a log of all instances of abuse, including the date, time, context, people present, and any comments made.

2. Deal with the problem:

If workers feel secure enough, they should talk to the abuser about the problem and express their displeasure with the way they were handled. The worried employee must get in touch with the team and ask them to be mindful of the tone and language they use, like in the case of an employee whose work was harshly critiqued and rejected during a meeting.

3. Talk with HR:
  • If an employee is reluctant to face the abuser directly, they should contact their HR manager and express their concerns. The HR should, preferably, schedule a meeting so the parties can speak about the matter on a neutral platform.
  • Even if an employee isn’t the target of the verbally abusive behaviour, they could observe it. In these situations, staff members should start by helping the victim of abuse. They might need help bringing the problem to the attention of the leadership, or they might just need someone to talk to.
  • Companies are required to implement an anti-abuse policy in the workplace in addition to addressing the abuse through the appropriate methods.

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