Verbal harassment in the workplace refers to any form of verbal behaviour that is intended to harm an employee’s psychological well-being. This can include name-calling, insulting language, threats, and other forms of verbal abuse. It’s important to be aware of the signs of verbal harassment to take steps to prevent it and respond effectively if it does occur.
Identifying Verbal Harassment
It’s important to be able to identify verbal harassment to take steps to address it. Some common signs of verbal harassment include:
- Name-calling or derogatory language
- Insults or put-downs
- Threats or intimidation
- Bullying or aggressive behaviour
- Discriminatory or biased language
It’s important to note that verbal harassment is not the same as a single isolated incident of rudeness or disagreement. Instead, it’s a pattern of behaviour that is intended to degrade, humiliate, or undermine the victim.
Preventing Verbal Harassment
Preventing verbal harassment in the workplace is the responsibility of both employers and employees. Employers should have clear policies in place that define what constitutes verbal harassment and provide a mechanism for reporting and addressing it. They should also conduct regular training for employees to raise awareness about the issue and provide guidance on how to prevent it.
Employees can also play a role in preventing verbal harassment. They can:
- Speak up when they witness behaviour that constitutes verbal harassment
- Communicate their boundaries assertively and professionally
- Refuse to participate in or tolerate behaviour that is harassing
- Seek support if they are experiencing verbal harassment