Verbal abuse in the workplace is a subject few people discuss. It’s easy to assume your supervisor or manager can talk a certain way to subordinates and that a higher-up would reprimand or retaliate against you for reporting abuse. However, a New York City verbal abuse lawyer knows verbal abuse is a real problem in today’s workplaces—especially in the highly competitive metropolitan area of New York City. Understanding your rights in a situation of verbal abuse can help you prevent and spread awareness of this troubling subject.
What Does Workplace Verbal Abuse Look Like?
Typically, a verbal abuser is in a leadership position within the company you work for, such as a manager, boss, or supervisor with employees working beneath him or her. A verbally abusive boss may be obvious, like consistent yelling or name-calling. It can also be less conspicuous, spreading negative effects more quietly but still causing harm. The main reason harassment in the workplace is so devastating is because of the mental, emotional, and psychological repercussions of dealing with abuse in a place where you should be safe.
If someone at work systematically belittles you, offends you, complains about you, or says inappropriate things to you based on your age, sex, gender, race, or sexual orientation, you suffer from verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is a form of discrimination in New York City, not constructive criticism or hazing the new employees. The line between being a strict boss and being a verbal abuser can be fuzzy, but abuse has a few key distinctions:
• Complaining about a person or a person’s work repeatedly
• Disrespectful or offensive language
• Discriminatory language
• Mean remarks or name-calling
• Words intended to humiliate or shame
Your boss yelling at you for making a crucial error on a large project isn’t the same as verbal abuse. It is, however, if he or she uses discriminatory or sexually offensive language, or if he or she consistently yells at you no matter what. Workers in NYC have the right to safe, comfortable workplaces free from verbal abuse and harassment. When a verbally abusive boss strips employees of these rights, victims can file claims with the NYC courts. If your rights have been or are being violated in your workplace, contact a New York City verbal abuse lawyer today.
Health Effects of a Verbally Abusive Boss or Coworker
Employer verbal abuse is more than illegal; it can actually take a toll on your mental and physical health. In fact, the effects of prolonged verbal abuse are often similar to those suffered by soldiers after combat. Some of the most common health symptoms experienced by verbally abused workers include:
- Sleep disorders
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Digestive issues
If a co-worker or supervisor has created a hostile work environment by repeatedly using offensive or disrespectful language toward you, calling you names intended to shame or humiliate you, or constantly using discriminatory language when referring to you, this behavior could be more than uncomfortable; it could be adversely affecting your overall health and wellbeing. And chances are, if you are being verbally abused, the offender is mistreating other workers as well.
What Does the Law Say About Verbal Abuse at Work?
New York State and Federal laws make it illegal to discriminate against any protected class in the workplace. In NY, protected employment classes include race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. If you are being verbally abused based on one of these protected classes, the abuse is not only cruel, but also unlawful.
An experienced NYC verbal abuse lawyer is your best line of defense against this kind of discriminatory behavior. Do not suffer in silence; we can help. Contact Joseph & Norinsberg LLC today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
What To Do If You’re A Victim Of Workplace Verbal Abuse
If your workplace is a hostile environment because of someone’s tendency to verbally abuse you in private or in front of your colleagues, you have options. First, let the abuser know that you aren’t comfortable with how he or she talks to you or about you. If you don’t feel safe enough to approach your abuser, go directly to human resources or the department in charge of abuse and harassment and file an official complaint. Either way, let someone at your company know what’s going on and how it makes you feel.
If speaking up at work doesn’t solve the problem, contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in NYC and file an administrative charge against your abuser. The organization will investigate your situation and try to mediate a resolution. If mediation fails or your abuser refuses to cooperate, hire a New York City workplace verbal abuse attorney to file a claim in civil court.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Verbal Abuse a Form of Harassment?
Harassment can take many forms, one of which is verbal abuse. If a supervisor or co-worker is intentionally causing you emotional harm by engaging in consistent, abusive behaviors over a period of time, their actions may qualify as harassment. Verbal abuse that meets the criteria for harassment can come in the form of words spoken in your presence, emails, voicemails, handwritten notes, and text messages.
As workplace harassment is a type of employment discrimination, it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and is therefore illegal. An experienced employment law attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are suffering verbal abuse at work.
Can You Sue Your Boss For Verbal Abuse?
When workplace verbal abuse becomes discriminatory, it is unlawful, and victims have a legal right to bring a lawsuit against their employer. Although there is no law prohibiting general bullying, if the bullying rises to the level of discrimination, there are multiple state and federal laws protecting workers from a hostile work environment.
If you are being verbally abused based on race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, disability, or another protected trait, you may wish to bring a discrimination lawsuit against your employer. In some cases, even abusive behavior that is not considered to be discriminatory can lead to a lawsuit. If, for example, company policy prohibits the behavior in question and your supervisor refuses to enforce this policy, despite repeated requests for help, you may be able to sue for breach of contract.
Contact a New York City Verbal Abuse Lawyer Today
Verbal abuse is an incredibly serious offense; you shouldn’t take it lightly. It can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and many other damages. The most common injuries in sexual harassment and verbal abuse cases are mental and emotional damages, not physical injuries. Thus, compensation goes beyond tangible damages and into the intangible: recovery for mental anguish and emotional distress.
When you need an aggressive, reliable New York City workplace verbal abuse lawyer to defend your rights in front of a jury, trust Joseph & Norinsberg LLC. Contact our NYC office online today or give us a call at 212-227-5700 for a free initial consultation.