PDA

View Full Version : Is verbal abuse in the work place acceptable behavior?


anncodd
11-06-2004, 10:47 PM
Paople are being verbal abused at work. I have addressed the sistuation to the (twice) manager and the (three times) D.M. The D.M said he would look in to the claim (well over 2 months ago). Since then there has been no follow up & no perment change in her behavior.
Reasently the manager was cought yelling (at the top of her lungs) at a sales associate, on the sales floor. The sales associate was going to walk out and I calmed him down enough not to abandon his shift. This specific instence brought up to the manager yet she does not acknowledeg that it is a on going problem.
My question, is verbal abuse in the work place acceptable?
Cause they are making it out to be no big deal. I find it hard to beleive that such a large retailer would allow such behavior. Am I over reacting? If not how do I handle this from here?

LConnell
11-07-2004, 09:25 AM
There is nothing in the law that states that employers must behave and cannot be an absolute jerk, other than an employer must not discriminate (single out) someone or several persons due to their age, disability, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, gender or other statuses protected by state or local law. Also, an employer may not retaliate against a person who is protecting his/her legal rights, such as filing a complaint of discrimination or filing a claim of workers compensation.

While I certainly agree with you that the management behavior is distasteful and costly to the company in the long run (due to increased turnover of employees, lower morale, etc.), it is not illegal unless she is being discriminatory, etc.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Ms. Connie Brown
11-08-2004, 08:50 AM
Do to the Vulgar words I will leave letters out of this quote that was said to me this Saturday. My, Boss said,"You are the Dummest,Stupidest, C_ _ T, I ever ....". If verbal abuse is not against the law, when does it become?

LConnell
11-09-2004, 11:52 PM
The line is crossed when she uses a term that is usually associated with females. In that case, such language is discriminatory and, therefore, illegal.

You may wish to talk with the HR Department (if there is one) or someone more senior in management. If you are not comfortable in doing so, you can always go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their website is at: www.eeoc.gov (http://www.eeoc.gov).

Let me know if you have any other questions.

gastonbetty
01-19-2005, 10:28 PM
my formal employer, pass me my last check and told me that i was know good ,i was alow life an that he was going to fire me anyway, and ask me to leave his office an if i refuse to leave he would call the police .i chose to quit because I felt that I was not being treated fairly. When I started to talk up for myself that's when I stated getting writeups, that know one else was getting but was doing the same thing. Also she refuse to give me a weekend off but gave another employee two weekends in a row off an the other employee started after i did. So , when I finally got my weekend off I did not report back to duty.

LConnell
01-20-2005, 09:29 AM
The actions are onlhy illegal if you were singled out for an illegal reason, such as based upon your age, race, religion, disability, gender or national origin, or in retaliation for filing a claim protecting your legal rights, such as filing a complaint of discrimination.

Lisa L
03-08-2005, 07:26 PM
There is nothing in the law that states that employers must behave and cannot be an absolute jerk, other than an employer must not discriminate (single out) someone or several persons due to their age, disability, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, gender or other statuses protected by state or local law. Also, an employer may not retaliate against a person who is protecting his/her legal rights, such as filing a complaint of discrimination or filing a claim of workers compensation.

While I certainly agree with you that the management behavior is distasteful and costly to the company in the long run (due to increased turnover of employees, lower morale, etc.), it is not illegal unless she is being discriminatory, etc.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

If this person feels threatened in anyway because of this verbal abuse that is displayed in front of other employees Is this a form of harassment?

LConnell
03-08-2005, 11:04 PM
Only if the harassment and verbal abuse was because of the person's age, race, religion, gender, etc. Otherwise, it is just poor managment behavior.

makeco
04-26-2005, 07:58 PM
I was recently written up and suspended for telling a co-worker to "kiss my ***" after 8 months of harrassment, that was reported to our supervisor, by that co-worker. In my counseling report it said I "verbally abused" her by saying this. I can see where it may be innapropriate, but for 8 months management has done nothing to her for incompetance and her innapropriate behavior. To rebut mgt, I need a legal definition. PLEASE HELP!!! THANKS

LConnell
04-28-2005, 10:21 AM
Your employer can discipline you for such language. Verbal abuse is defined by the employer.

montepeliergirl1968
05-12-2005, 06:28 PM
:mad: I live in Vermont, and working in a high school for 4 1/2 years now, I really enjoy my work and I'm a good team player and an execellent worker. When I started my job, my boss was very abusive, he got me to cry a couple time, but others too, actually one of my co-worker metioned "get used to it", it always happened on Thursday or when short of help. One day, he insulted me in front of other student which was very innapropriate for something I didn't even do, I walked out and called the superintendant office. He got reprimended, and had to take some anger managment classes put on probation. The probation ended a little while ago, now he is making false accusation against me, he letted other co-worker call me stupid and dummy, and laught about my accent, which made my self esteem going down. He has made goody goody with the new assistant principal, which I try to explain the situation, but only believe him. My boss turn around every word that I said, I even had to go to the doctor so It would prevent me to be quiet. A couple day ago, he mention that a co-worker said to him that I was going to kill myself...which is outreagous, yes I'm stress, but not stupid to hurt myself, especially that I'm a single mother. I told him that was completly false accusation, but he said he would wrote me up for it. Today I en-up in the hospital with an anxiety attack, it was scary, and unecessery. I even mentioned to him that if he want to terminate me, he should do so, but that isn't necessary to put worker through this kind of stress and humiliation, I would be prefers to be terminated and walk out with my dignity. I'm trying to finish the school year, but I have apply at other school district to start a new begining hopefully I will be able to land a good job with a good atmosphere.
Any suggestions from anyone? :)
From Montpelier Vermont

LConnell
05-12-2005, 07:40 PM
Unfortunately, good management is not required. If this person's abusive behaivor is illegal, such as in the form of discrimination on the basis of age, race, religion, gender, disability, national origin, etc., then the person may be in violation of federal and state EEOC laws. You can read about discrimination at: www.eeoc.gov (http://www.eeoc.gov).

officemngr
06-10-2005, 03:42 PM
I have been the office and HR manager for a construction company in California for 10 years, note I am the owners daughter and intend to take over the company when the time is right so I am concerned about the future of the company and being exposed to liability. Our long time company supervisor is not very good about HR policies so a few years ago when we instituted a policy of no name calling, no horse play and no harrasment the employees were told to direct their complaint to one of the office personell not just the supersor. I have been hearing complaints from many employees that some of my forman are real jerks and can curse a blue streak at employees and that they don't treat employees very well. I kept telling them to come to me with a specific complaint and then I could address it. I finally had a long time employee approach me and tell me he and the other employees would not come to me because they were afraid of going over the supervisors head, but he was not doing anything about the treatment when they complained. I approached the supervisor about it and was screamed at for almost an hour that the employee in question had a lot of nerve to come to me and he was about to get fired anyway because only one of the foreman would work with him now. And, the next day I found out that out supervisor told the employee not to ever go to me again or he would be sorry. My question is two fold, is there any liability to the company for the verbal abuse and treatment in the field and is there exposure on our part for what my supervisor did concidering that the direction to come to the office is on our safety meetings every week and in our employee handbook? I need to go to Dad with this and I want all the legal facts to present to him. I have read all the previous quotes and find there are probably no legal issues with the language but what about the other. Thank you for your help.

LConnell
06-10-2005, 06:37 PM
The supervisor's language and yelling may not be illegal if he is not being discriminatory against those in a protected status, such as age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, etc. It doesn't sound like the case with your supervisor.

Aside from the legal issues, why would it not be a good idea to scream and yell at employees? First of all, if there was ever a true discrimination issue, such as an employee sexually harassing another, employees may believe that they cannot go around the supervisor. While one would hope that the supervisor would handle this appropriately, chances are pretty good (based on his past behavior) that he would not have the slightest idea of how to handle this. The liability to the company is huge...because the company is not only responsible to stop discrimination/harassment that it knows about but also is responsible for discrimination/harassment THAT IT SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT. And, while the number of big-time discrimination is relatively small, the greatest cost comes about from employers, especially those in predominately male-oriented industry, from having to defend themselves against angry employees.

And, that brings me to the other reason why screaming and yelling at employees is not a good idea - being the recipient of poor management will make angry employees. Angry employees can cause harm to the company in the form of discrimination/harassment complaints, OSHA violations, community relations, etc.

Another issue caused by poor management are factors such as lower productivity (who wants to work hard for a jerk) and higher turnover (causing problems with project completion requirements, not to mention the cost of hiring, training, etc.).

From your father's perspective, it is probably difficult to counsel a long-term employee who is invaluable to the business. However, for the sake of the company, something has to change.

One of the softer ways to get this manager the training he and the company needs is to look at sending him to a leadership program, one that he would feel good about, especially if it is presented to him as a career development or even a mini-vacation. For example, one of the best programs in the country, with remarkable results, is the Center for Creative Leadership. I have seen remarkable turnarounds of poor managers. It is an excellent program.

Good luck and let me know if you want additional information.

Sockeye
06-12-2005, 02:16 AM
Another big cost to consider officemanger is your L&I (work comp, or whatever your states insurance is) cost. What is your companies experiance rating? I've knwn a few smaller construction companies to go out of business becasue of the high cost of employee injuries.

Cursing, threatening bosses in these industries have more injuries and our likely to mishandle injury reporting. Also, disgruntled employees are far more likely to milk claimes than satisfied employees. I was in operations, now in HR for a labor intensive industry, I've seen this first hand.

I think your part they way there with setting the policies of no abusive language, etc, but you've still got along way to go if your not following them.

Make some changes, you and your father will be amazed at the results.

tlgrigsby
03-09-2007, 02:12 PM
Last Wednesday I was approached by my supervisor to send something out for her. I subsequently called to find out how she would like it sent hung up & received a call back from her immediatley stating "don't you f'n hang up on me, I'm your supervisor, you will respect me." she hung up. Seconds later she was at my desk using more profanity I was told that I would be going home. She then said to follow her & went to Director of HR's office & stated "This b--- needs to go home. I want her f'n gone now." According the Director of HR I was to get my things and come back to work the next day. "Things should be calmer, by then." I realize that there are no specific laws against profanity, but isn't illegal for her to refer to me as a "b----"?:mad:

Beth3
03-09-2007, 02:24 PM
No, it's not. I think your supervisor's behavior was inexcusable but it wasn't illegal.

cbg
03-09-2007, 02:55 PM
Considering that this thread originated nearly two years ago, next time, start your own thread, okay? :)

Amusieren
12-03-2008, 05:43 PM
Your employer can discipline you for such language. Verbal abuse is defined by the employer.

So what you're saying is that an employee can be reprimanded for "verbal abuse" by their definition but an employer can not be reprimanded for "verbal abuse" for lack of a legal definition. That's bullcrap.

I have actually been verbally abused in the workplace and according to my doctor it IS illegal and I DID do something about it. Abuse is NOT legal no matter if you are at home or in the workplace. Children are taken away from parents that are emotionally, mentally, verbally or physically abusive. What makes you think it's any different in a professional environment between two adults?

cbg
12-03-2008, 05:47 PM
Where did your doctor go to law school?

This thread is several years old now and the person you are arguing with has not been on site for over three years. I think it's time to close this down.

Complete Labor Law Poster for $24.95
from www.LaborLawCenter.com, includes
State, Federal, & OSHA posting requirements