Psychological harassment in the workplace, also known as psychological violence, can take many forms, but at its core, it is any behaviour that harms an employee’s psychological well-being. This can include verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, bullying, and discrimination. It’s important to be aware of the signs of psychological harassment to take steps to prevent it and respond effectively if it does occur.

Identifying Psychological Harassment

It’s important to be able to identify psychological harassment and take steps to address it. Some common signs of psychological harassment include:

  • Verbal abuse or insults
  • Threats or intimidation
  • Bullying or aggressive behaviour
  • Discriminatory or biased behaviour
  • Isolation or exclusion from work activities
  • Sabotage or malicious gossip

It’s important to note that psychological harassment is not the same as a single isolated incident of rudeness or disagreement. Instead, it’s a pattern of behaviour that is intended to degrade, humiliate, or undermine the victim.

Preventing Psychological Harassment

Preventing psychological harassment in the workplace is the responsibility of both employers and employees. Employers should have clear policies in place that define what constitutes psychological harassment and provide a mechanism for reporting and addressing it. They should also conduct regular training for employees to raise awareness about the issue and provide guidance on how to prevent it.

Employees can also play a role in preventing psychological harassment. They can:

  • Speak up when they witness behaviour that constitutes psychological harassment
  • Set boundaries and assertively communicate their expectations to others
  • Refuse to participate in or tolerate behaviour that is harassing
  • Seek support if they are experiencing psychological harassment
  • Respond to Psychological Harassment

If psychological harassment does occur, it’s important to take steps to address it as soon as possible. The first step is to report the behaviour to the appropriate person or department, such as a supervisor, HR representative, or manager.

If an employee feels uncomfortable with the reporting process, they can also reach out to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for support and guidance.

Victims of psychological harassment should also be provided with support, including counselling and other forms of assistance to help them cope with the impact of the harassment.

Employers should take all reports of psychological harassment seriously and take prompt action to investigate the situation and take appropriate measures to address it. The harasser should be held accountable for their behaviour. This can include disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.


Psychological harassment in the workplace can have serious consequences for both the victim and the organisation. It’s important to be aware of the signs of psychological harassment, to take steps to prevent it and to respond effectively if it does occur. Employers and employees both have a role to play in creating a safe and healthy work environment free from psychological harassment. By identifying, preventing, and responding to psychological harassment, we can create a more positive and productive workplace for all.

If you are looking for a way to educate your workforce and make your workplace a safer place, contact Sentrient for a free demo today.