Defining Workplace Abuse: The First Step Towards a Solution

Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Workplace abuse is an umbrella term that covers “any behavior within the workplace that results in emotional or physical harm to employees” says Dr. Trungold. Under that umbrella, you’ll find “workplace harassment, discrimination, workplace violence and also workplace bullying. They overlap, but to my understanding bullying behavior that’s based on a target’s membership to a protected group is characterized as harassment, and has a legal remedy as does discrimination. But workplace bullying at this time does not have a formal legal remedy.”

“The immediate solution to workplace abuse is making sure that companies mandate education and awareness and behavior-changing,” says Dr. Taluzan. “The next steps are more complicated but also so crucial. First, we have to actually hold people accountable for workplace abuse. Too often we deem abusive behavior “quirky” or “that’s just so-and-so’s style.” But, we have to stop treating this as if it is a byproduct of personality rather than a symptom of larger issues. Secondly, people need to work out their deep issues in therapeutic relationships. I’m a big fan of therapy and the need to understand why people behave the way that they do; and thirdly, there have to be structures that truly respond to those most impacted by workplace abuse.”


Crisis Prevention Institute. (2012, 4 17). The Challenges Defining Workplace Bullying. Crisis Prevention Institute.



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Michelle Krasny

Michelle Krasny


Career Coach and avid researcher, exploring what it means to have a kickass career without sacrificing your soul or sanity along the way: