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What to do if your boss verbally abuses you?
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# 1
Old 13-03-2012, 8:54 PM
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Default What to do if your boss verbally abuses you?

I know what i do if my boss verbally abuses me, which can happen regularly (the abuse isn't just limited to myself) & that is going toe-to-toe with him. The other option is to stand there & let him do it, which isn't me. You can complain, but ultimately those you complain to will back him all the way as he pays their wages so the only way you MAY get something done is a tribunal, IF you can get a witness willing to speak against the man paying their wages ......... unlikely.

My partner told me tonight about one of her co-workers being verbally abused. Really quite tame compared to what i get, but there's still no room in the workplace for it...
...basically, her boss went on a bit of a rant, said she should use her common sense (she'd only followed his orders, but common sense apparently means going against these orders in a certain situation), and then her boss said that she's thick, or just an idiot (can't remember which she said now).

Now, my gf questioned me what should be done by the employee in this place, as apparently her boss is known for going on a bit of a rant at his employees (all female, so maybe he's on a macho trip).
Other than going toe-to-toe, which i suppose isn't the right answer, i don't actually know.

When the boss was slagging this worker off, apparently the other boss (who happens to be this guys wife) was also in the room & rather than deal with the issue (she doesn't like him treating staff that way apparently), she instead diffused the situation by changing subject. Carpet & brush anyone?

So a question that i couldn't actually answer - what do you do? In each situation - 1) when there are witnesses, and 2) when there aren't, or doesn't it matter either way?

EDIT: My gf tells me that this woman in question (the employee) has in her contract stating that if she walks off the premises (i.e. after a heated confrontation with the boss - although it doesn't specify that example, that's just me), then it's seen as instant dismissal.
My gf on the other hand, has been there for coming up 12 months next month & she has no contract. She was employed as a sort of temp, to cover maternity, but due to other departures it has become permanent, yet she still has no contract.
I have told her to ask for one. She claims the bosses are really busy. She doesn't seem to understand it's her right.

Last edited by BarrelScraper; 13-03-2012 at 8:57 PM.
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# 2
Old 13-03-2012, 9:03 PM
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My boss wouldn't do that to me and if he did he wouldn't be my boss for very long as I would look for a new job. If I heard someone having an unwarranted rant at a colleague I would not be afraid to get involved. Problem is there are a lot of people who evolve to "boss" status with no idea how to treat people as human beings sad fact of life unfortunately.
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# 3
Old 13-03-2012, 9:09 PM
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I totally agree. My boss has no people skills whatsoever. I have stepped in on people being bullied at my workplace before as i don't agree with it.

I am then labelled as a troublemaker, always getting involved in confrontation. One thing i don't stand for is bullying though!

I've told her not to back down & allow herself to be walked all over, but she's not as confrontational as i am. She will back down whereas i just wont. ATEOTD they may pay your wages, but that doesn't make them better than you, it doesn't make you their slave (although some will think it does).

What is actually advised though?

I can see it being the classic "walk away". I tried this with my own boss once. It made things worse. MUCH worse. If you carry on walking then you don't have a job was the line. So i turned back & reverted to the toe-to-toe approach instead.
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# 4
Old 14-03-2012, 3:37 PM
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So nobody really knows then what you're supposed to do? Or what'd be seen as acceptable if it "went further"?
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Old 14-03-2012, 5:06 PM
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its difficult as ultimately those higher up will always believe ur boss over you.

Best option - keep out of his way imho if at all possible
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Old 14-03-2012, 5:26 PM
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The answer is if someone starts to rant or abuse you, interupt and ask if this can be taken into a private room and insist that you take a witness!!!

Chances are when its seen you can be equally officious the rant will end???

I have done this and it worked
The guy in question was ex Army and tended to talk as if he was giving orders to a recruit, very abusive and threatening, I got him into a private room and told him in no uncertain terms that he WASN'T in the Army now and needed to mend his attitude if he wanted respect as a Manager and didnt want to face a tribunal, and he apologised!
He did it again to one of the admin girls also so I sent him an email and copied it also to his superior to register what had happened and again received an apology for the admin concerned and an email that it had been noted!

There are ways, so dont despair, and always stay cool and have the courage to look the person in the eyes, bullies dont like that, and if it continues you can always seek advise, ACAS can help with this if you call them!!!
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# 7
Old 14-03-2012, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Ted View Post
interupt and ask if this can be taken into a private room and insist that you take a witness!!!
This may well work in the case of my gf's employer (i don't know), it certainly wouldn't work in the case of mine. He'd point blank refuse & it'd fuel his anger more & he'd start frothing at the mouth, i can guarantee that one.

and copied it also to his superior
And here is the difference.
In both my gf's case & my own, we're talking about the guy who owns the entire company & who is answerable to nobody (other than if you start bringing tribunals into it - but then that's a waste without witnesses). These people (i'm speaking about my boss now) know they can't be touched by anyone in the company.

He blasted one lad in front of the rest of the department. Effd & Jeffd at him. Others stayed quiet but this lad defended himself, which made the boss rant & rave more. This lad was put on a warning for being late i think. He put in a complaint about the boss's attitude.
He was told that nobody would back him (as a witness) as they've their own jobs to think about. PLUS, if he was to take it to a tribunal, the boss would happily pay him out & he would do it again as he wont change.
Those were the exact words from the other boss (we have joint owners).

As for the eye contact one - i agree. My boss can't hack it. He looks at the floor & around, basically anywhere other than your face. It doesn't stop him frothing at the mouth though.
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# 8
Old 15-03-2012, 8:59 AM
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I had this issue at my last job, Soon after starting I got accused of something I didn't do, the guy went of on a rant swearing and blinding, I have a bit of a temper and saw red and gave as good as I got, he backed down but since that rant I never fitted in and was in effect bullied, given all the crap to do, never progressing anywhere, oh it was held against me the entire time I worked there even though it was never my fault to begin with, even when the company got made insolvent then got taken over I was one of the few not asked back, all because of that rant way back when I started.
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