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Can a verbally abusive co-worker ruin your health?

We all have encountered that one person who is just unbearable to work with. Whether they are rude, gossipy or mean, abusive co-workers can make you dread coming in to work. There is no argument that being in a toxic work environment can make North Carolina employees stressed and anxious. Working in these conditions may affect your health emotionally and physically.

As you may already know, many adults do not grow out of the high school bully mentality. What defines a verbally or emotionally abusive co-worker? The following points can shed some light on the common abusive situations you might encounter:

  • Rather than build up employees with positive reinforcement, your boss insults, demeans and even shouts at you and your co-workers.
  • A few people working in your office enjoy gossiping and spreading rumors about others.
  • Your co-worker is a bully and attempts to sabotage your work to make you look bad or to make himself or herself look better.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the chronic depression or anxiety caused by working in an abusive environment can have physical consequences. Studies are showing that stress can cause high blood pressure, pain, inflammation and heart disease. You do not have to suffer physically to be eligible for workers’ compensation, however. Emotional conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder – all of which can stem from verbal and mental abuse –  can significantly impact your ability to perform your job duties.

Your workplace may have a human resources department or other avenue where you can report bullying and abusive behavior. However, many employers either lack reporting options or do little to stop the behavior, thus perpetuating the oppressive atmosphere of working with unpleasant or aggressive people. You may wish to look into workers’ compensation benefits if you have developed a physical or emotional condition due to your work environment.

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