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The Silent Epidemic: Psychological Violence at Work

Posted by Amber Boyd | Apr 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

Hey there! This month, as we shine a light on National Workplace Violence Awareness Month, there's a sneaky culprit we need to chat about: psychological violence in the workplace. You might not see its impact as you would with physical violence, but believe me, it's just as harmful, if not more. It's all about those actions and words that chip away at someone's well-being and confidence, and it's high time we tackled this head-on.

What Are We Dealing With Here?

Imagine going to work, and instead of feeling supported, you're met with constant negativity, isolation, or even threats about your job security. That's psychological violence. It's all those behaviors that make someone feel less than, from harsh, unwarranted criticism to being deliberately left out of the loop. It's tricky because there are no visible bruises or scars, but the emotional impact? It's real and it hurts.

Spotting the Not-So-Obvious Signs

  1. Never Good Enough: If constant criticism or belittlement is the norm, it's not just tough love; it's a sign of something more toxic.
  2. The Lonely Island: Being systematically excluded from meetings or team lunches isn't just oversight; it's a form of emotional exclusion.
  3. Covert Threats: That lingering fear of "mess up and you're out"? When it's used to keep you in line, that's intimidation at work.
  4. Rumor Mill: When gossip or false tales about someone start circulating, it's not just idle chatter; it's a targeted attack on someone's reputation.
  5. Setting Up to Fail: Unrealistic deadlines or sabotaged work aren't just high standards; they're strategies to undermine someone's success.

How Can We Fix This?

  • Chat It Out: Encouraging open conversations and regular check-ins can make a world of difference. Knowing there's a safe space to voice concerns can bring issues to light sooner.
  • Rules of the Road: Clear policies that spell out what counts as psychological violence and how to deal with it are key. It's about setting boundaries and sticking to them.
  • Learn and Grow: Offering training on recognizing and stopping psychological violence helps build a more supportive environment. Plus, learning how to manage conflicts and stress together? Always a win.
  • Support Squad: Access to counseling or employee assistance programs (EAPs) shows that the firm's got your back. It's about providing a lifeline when things get tough.

The Bigger Picture

Let's get real: employers have to step up. Creating a safe, positive work environment isn't just good for vibes; it's the law. Ignoring psychological violence can lead to a whole host of problems, from team breakdowns to legal headaches. Staying informed and proactive is the best defense.

Wrapping Up

Psychological violence at work is a hidden hazard that we all need to be aware of and act against. As we mark this important month, let's commit to being part of the solution. By fostering a culture of respect, support, and open dialogue, we're not just following the rules; we're building a workplace where everyone can thrive. Here's to making psychological safety a priority—because everyone deserves to go to work feeling valued and secure.

About the Author

Amber Boyd

Amber K. Boyd is a versatile professional with strong experience in managing complex litigation matters. She founded Amber K. Boyd Attorney at Law in 2013, where she is the sole practitioner. Ms. Boyd specializes in employment law with a focus on discrimination cases. She also has deep expertise ...


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