How to Prove Verbal Abuse at Work

How to Prove Verbal Abuse at Work

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How to Prove Verbal Abuse at Work

You deserve to be treated fairly and with respect at work. No employee should have to deal with the emotional and psychological damage of workplace abuse.

In fact, there are federal and state statutes in place meant to protect workers from certain types of harassment. Unfortunately, abuse still occurs in workplaces across the country.

If you have experienced harassment, you may wonder how to prove verbal abuse at work. It can be difficult to secure evidence of the harassment you experienced. 

When you have been verbally abused at work, you have legal options. In particularly harmful cases, you may be able to file a civil harassment suit with the help of a skilled tort attorney. 

And if the abuse is related to a protected characteristic, such as your race or your gender, it is illegal. In that case, you may be able to take legal action against your employer. 

At the firm of Morgan and Morgan, we believe that workers deserve financial recovery in the aftermath of unlawful workplace abuse. Those who face verbal harassment experience stress and may suffer from serious emotional harm. 

Fortunately, the knowledgeable attorneys at the firm of Morgan and Morgan know how to prove verbal abuse at work. When you hire us, we will fight tirelessly to get justice in your workplace harassment case. 

To arrange a free consultation about your workplace abuse claim, complete the contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website today.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is Verbal Harassment in the Workplace?

    There are many different types of verbal abuse that workers may experience. No matter what form the verbal abuse takes, it can cause significant psychological damage.  

    Verbal abuse can be explicit and overt. In other instances, perpetrators of verbal harassment use more subtle tactics. In some cases, long periods of malicious silence also qualify as verbal abuse. 

    Most people believe that they will be aware that they are being abused. This is not always the case. Because some forms of verbal abuse are not immediately apparent, it is important to understand all of the potential types of verbal abuse in the workplace.

    Before you can learn how to prove verbal abuse at work, you must understand the categories of this type of harassment. Below are some of the most common forms of verbal abuse at work:


    Criticism is not always abusive. If an employee is not performing their job functions properly, their supervisor may be rightfully critical of their work.

    But criticism is not always constructive. When a coworker or supervisor is unhelpfully critical, it may constitute verbal abuse.

    Abusive criticism may take the form of persistent and unkind words. This type of verbal abuse can result in the victim feeling terrible about themselves.


    Everyone makes mistakes at their job. However, unfairly blaming someone to make them feel bad constitutes abuse.

    In some cases, the abuser may blame the victim for the fact that they are experiencing harassment. Victims of workplace harassment should never feel like they are responsible for the unfair treatment they experience. 


    Passing judgment on someone in the workplace in a personal or hurtful way may qualify as verbal abuse. 

    Judgments about employees’ job performances are an important part of any functional business. But judging someone negatively for elements of their personal identity is never appropriate. Another form of abusive judgment is holding a worker to impossibly high standards.


    Gaslighting is a particularly insidious form of verbal and emotional abuse. Through gaslighting, an abuser causes the victim to doubt their own reality, feelings, and judgments. 

    Those engaging in gaslighting often dismiss their victims’ emotional responses or thoughts. If you are suffering from this type of emotional abuse, you may find yourself feeling uncertain about your own feelings. 

    It can be difficult to prove that gaslighting has occurred. If you need help after experiencing gaslighting at work, reach out to the compassionate workers’ advocates at the firm of Morgan and Morgan. 


    No one should be subject to name-calling in the workplace. This form of abuse is usually overt and obvious. The perpetrator may use the following tactics:

    • Racial slurs
    • Insulting terms
    • Offensive stereotypes
    • Misgendering
    • Inappropriate names

    Name-calling is intended to harm the victim’s self-worth and self-esteem. If someone at your job has been speaking to you in a way that attacks your self-concept, contact an employment law attorney.


    When an abuser relies on threats, they are hoping to control, scare, or manipulate their victim. Threatening unfair negative consequences if the victim does not behave in their preferred manner is never appropriate.

    In severe cases of verbal abuse, victims may experience significant emotional and psychological effects. This can lead to difficulty succeeding in any future workplace.

    Verbal abuse is unfortunately common but can be difficult to prove. If you need help knowing how to prove verbal abuse at work, speak with an experienced lawyer.

  • What Are Some Tips for How to Prove Verbal Abuse at Work?

    Even if you are aware that you are experiencing verbal harassment, you may be unsure about what actions to take. Proving verbal abuse in a workplace setting can be difficult. 

    One of the strongest pieces of evidence in any workplace harassment claim is eyewitness testimony. If a coworker sees or overhears an instance of abuse, they can provide corroboration of your account.

    This is especially true if the witness is not involved in any relevant conflict or situation. Witnesses are usually common in these cases because abusers are rarely careful about hiding their wrongful actions. 

    In many cases, abusers rely on the social pressure that comes from speaking harshly to the victim around other people. This makes it possible to secure eyewitness testimony if you decide to bring a workplace harassment claim. 

    In other situations, harassment may be effective because of the participation of the victim’s coworkers. When a group passively assents to verbal abuse, it can be difficult to secure evidence. 

    It may be hard to locate a reliable and willing eyewitness to your abuse. This is especially true if potential witnesses are afraid of being abused if they speak up.

    Another effective way to prove workplace abuse is through the testimony of a witness to the resulting emotional damage. Many abuse victims experience long-lasting emotional distress following repeated abusive incidents. 

    Some victims may need to seek therapy or other forms of psychological help. A counselor can help abuse victims work through their emotional harm. In some cases, they may serve as a professional witness in any resulting legal claim.

    If you are experiencing verbal abuse, it is also helpful to document the details of each abusive incident. Write down the following facts about the abusive events:

    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Perpetrator
    • Exact words the abuser said
    • Your emotional responses

    This helps you create a comprehensive record of the workplace abuse that you experience. You should also save any emails, letters, or other written messages that contain abusive language. 

    These can serve as powerful evidence in your workplace harassment claim. The above are only a few examples of how to prove verbal abuse at work. One of the accomplished legal specialists at Morgan & Morgan will review the evidence in your situation and help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.

  • What Are Harmful Consequences of Verbal Abuse?

    Like any form of abuse, verbal harassment in the workplace can result in long-term psychological harm. Some of the common effects of verbal abuse include the following:

    • Anxiety
    • Ongoing stress
    • Decrease in self-esteem or self-worth
    • Depressive symptoms
    • Social isolation and withdrawal
    • Unexpected shifts in mood
    • Feelings of shame, hopelessness, or guilt
    • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
    • Abuse of controlled substances

    These consequences of verbal abuse can result in both intangible and monetary harm for victims. If you have experienced any of these negative effects following a pattern of verbal abuse at work, do not hesitate.

    The knowledgeable legal team at the firm of Morgan and Morgan knows what is necessary to successfully fight for workplace abuse victims. We have a long history of securing compensation for our clients and will fight tirelessly for you.

  • What Types of Compensation Can I Pursue Through a Legal Claim?

    Most tort lawsuits involve victims pursuing two distinct types of financial compensation. The term for payments to victims in civil lawsuits is “damages.”

    In a workplace harassment case, victims may be able to secure both “economic” and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are intended to restore the victim to their previous financial state. Non-economic damages compensate victims for the personal and emotional harm that the verbal abuse caused.

    Some of the most common examples of damages in workplace abuse cases include compensation for the following:

    • Necessary mental healthcare costs
    • Lost wages and income from missed work
    • Decreased quality of life
    • Mental distress and anguish
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Inability to return to previous employment
    • Anticipated future healthcare expenses

    It can be difficult to accurately calculate the value of the damage of verbal abuse. For that reason, it is critical to consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney at the firm of Morgan & Morgan. 

  • How Quickly Must I File a Workplace Harassment Claim?

    You should report instances of workplace verbal abuse to your company’s human resources department as soon as possible. Employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against workers who report discriminatory work environments. 

    However, there may be a statute of limitations on when you can file a suit for damages. This legal time limit is determined by state law. So you should speak with a knowledgeable legal professional from Morgan and Morgan soon after you experience harassment. 

    Our knowledgeable team has represented clients across the country. We will help you file a claim in time to recover the financial compensation that you need to successfully move forward.

    You should never allow verbal abuse to continue without taking action. Every worker deserves to be treated with the respect and dignity that they are due. If you have been mistreated, our firm will fight diligently to secure a positive outcome in your case.

  • Contact the Team at Morgan & Morgan Today

    When you need premier legal representation to secure compensation following workplace verbal abuse, contact our firm. We know that verbal abuse victims face a wide range of difficulties, and we will fight for your best interests.

    When you hire our legal team, you will pay nothing in attorneys’ fees unless we get money for you. The fee is free unless we win. 

    To arrange a no-cost and no-obligation legal consultation, fill out the contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website now. Let our team fight for you.

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