Workplace etiquette frowns on trash talking—but it happens regardless. No one likes a gossip queen (or king), but rest assured, every office has one. When does gossip cross the line from innocuous conversation to something so potentially hurtful or liable that companies are within their rights to forbid it? The Danger of Workplace Gossip. It seems so harmless. That little chitchat at the water cooler about so and so. The debate over someone's relationship with.


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Observe Before launching yourself into office politics, observe.

See how people relate and learn the unofficial roles certain individuals in your workplace have adopted. If you notice one person gossip in the workplace consistently makes trouble, take the necessary actions to have as little interaction with that person as possible.

Be busy Gossipmongers want attention. Take personal responsibility to act with integrity. Turn it around by saying something positive.

The Danger of Workplace Gossip

Remember, if they are gossiping about others, they will gossip gossip in the workplace you, too. Before you know it, the conversation turns to what feels like a harmless little chitchat about your coworker's romantic relationship with your neighbor across the street.

The more details you share, the more uncomfortable some of your colleagues--the ones informed of HR policies in the employee handbook--become.

  • 10 Ways to Handle Gossip in the Workplace

Eye contact is averted by one, and another abruptly bails the scene with a "gotta go. When light conversation and idle chitchat elevates to negative, inflammatory and embarrassing to the person gossip in the workplace spoken of, you've ventured into gossip terrain, which, in HR speak, is a form of attack and workplace violence!

The Danger of Workplace Gossip

If you're still not sure, take these illustrations for a test run: Does the chitchat rejoice in the misfortune of others? Does it have a negative emotional charge or seem to perpetuate conflict or negativity?


Does it hurt or damage the one being spoken of? Would gossip in the workplace say it in front of this person's face? Is it an unsubstantiated rumor about another employee's work situation a promotion or demotion? What Gossip Does to the Workplace You know who they are--most likely disgruntled workers who didn't get something their way, disagreed with a gossip in the workplace of direction and are now holding grudges, or didn't get that promotion they felt entitled to.

They are quick to gossip, and even quicker to hammer leadership for "dumb decisions. They spread their tumor by enlisting others into their negative spin campaign.

Some negative consequences of workplace gossip include: Gradual decline of trust and morale. Work productivity goes down because people are emotionally caught up in the drama like teenage kids.

Gossip in the Workplace

Watch for hush-hush chatter around cubicles of disgruntled employees where those infected by gossip will stop by to "get the latest," thus wasting precious company time. What the employer can do Gossip is as old as mankind. It is unrealistic to gossip in the workplace we could free the workplace of gossip.

That being said, there are some things that employers can do to minimize negative gossiping and rumormonger: Consistent and authentic communication will work wonders in stopping the gossip.

Discourage gossip in official company policy. Include a section that deals with gossip in the company handbook. Convey to your employees that such talk is injurious to morale and productivity and will not be tolerated.

Ask them not to participate and not to tolerate it from others. Nip it in the bud. If an employee comes to you complaining of gossip, or if you know an gossip in the workplace to be a gossip, be proactive.