What is Employee Disrespect?

Employee disrespect is any behavior by employees that is inappropriate and unethical. It includes verbal abuse, speaking in a loud tone, and bullying. This behavior is hurtful and can cause stress for other employees in the organization. Disrespectful employees may belittle other employees by pointing out their insecurities and mistakes, especially for junior positions or interns.

Research has shown that employees with disrespectful attitudes are of no use to the organization, no matter how experienced or efficient they are, as such behavior affects overall productivity and can cause significant loss. Disrespectful behavior often leads to serious consequences that affect the overall productivity of an organization and can harm the mental health of employees treated harshly and rudely.

How to Handle Disrespectful Employees in the Workplace?

Dealing with difficult employees can be a daunting task, but by following these tips, you can effectively manage difficult employees and maintain a healthy work environment.

  1. Remain calm and polite. Remember to remain calm and polite, even in the face of verbal abuse. It’s important to avoid getting into arguments with these individuals, as it can lead to more serious issues in the workplace. Instead, take a deep breath and respond in a calm and professional manner.
  2. Keep a positive attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude is another key factor in managing difficult employees. By staying optimistic and focusing on the positive aspects of your job, you can counteract the negativity that these employees often bring into the workplace. This can help you maintain your productivity and keep the workplace environment harmonious.
  3. Use disciplinary procedures. If the behavior of the difficult employee becomes unbearable, disciplinary procedures may need to be put in place. This could include reporting them to the appropriate authorities, such as HR managers or the CEO. This is important for the safety and wellbeing of all employees in the workplace, and can help prevent the difficult employee from causing further issues.

What is Considered Disrespectful Behavior from Employees in the Workplace?

The following acts are considered disrespectful behavior from employees in the workplace:

Employees Disrespecting by Gossiping


Employees who gossip in the workplace create mismanagement. They reveal personal or sensational information of a person behind their back, point out other employees’ insecurities and weaknesses, and spread rumors about individuals or the company to stir or shock others.

Employees who Disrespect by Bullying


Bullying can be harmful and sometimes lead to serious consequences. Such employees often bully other employees in the workplace, causing stress and an unpleasant atmosphere. Bullying includes changing deadlines, poor performance ratings, and assigning too much work to employees, which demotivates them and decreases their productivity.

Employee Disrespecting by Keeping a Harsh Tone

Inappropriate Tone

Disrespectful employees are verbally abusive and use harsh and inappropriate words for other employees, sparking arguments. This includes demeaning and insulting statements, shouting, throwing things while talking, and hostile tones.

Learn the tools to promote the types of respectful behaviors in your company that are critical to employee engagement and business success.

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How to React to Disrespectful Behavior from Employee?

Here are some of the reactions to the disrespectful behavior of employees:

  1. Remain calm and composed: Do not let the employee’s behavior trigger an emotional response from you. Stay calm and composed while dealing with the situation.
  2. Address the behavior directly: Be clear and direct in addressing the disrespectful behavior. Explain why it is not acceptable and the consequences of such behavior.
  3. Set clear expectations: Communicate your expectations for respectful behavior and make it clear that it is a requirement for all employees.
  4. Document the behavior: Keep a record of the behavior and any actions taken to address it. This can be useful if the behavior continues or escalates.
  5. Seek support from HR or management: If the behavior persists or is particularly egregious, seek support from HR or management to address the issue.
  6. Provide feedback: After addressing the behavior, provide feedback to the employee on how they can improve and what changes they need to make.
  7. Monitor the situation: Keep an eye on the situation to ensure that the behavior does not continue and that the employee makes the necessary changes.

Document Examples of Inappropriate Behavior

Documenting disrespectful behavior at work is an important step towards addressing and resolving such issues. When an employee is subjected to disrespectful behavior, whether it’s verbal abuse, harassment, discrimination, or any other form of mistreatment, it’s crucial to document the details of the incident, including the time, date, location, and the behavior itself. This documentation can be used as evidence if the employee decides to file a complaint or take legal action against the perpetrator. It can also be used by management to identify patterns of behavior and take appropriate action to prevent future incidents. By documenting disrespectful behavior, employees can hold their colleagues and employers accountable for their actions and work towards creating a safe and respectful workplace environment.

Explaining the Consequences of Disrespectful Behavior to Employees

Explaining the consequences of disrespectful behavior at work to employees is important for maintaining a safe and professional workplace environment. Firstly, it’s important to explain that disrespectful behavior, such as verbal abuse, harassment, or discrimination, is not acceptable in any form and will not be tolerated. It’s important to outline the consequences of such behavior, which could include disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Additionally, disrespectful behavior can lead to legal consequences, such as lawsuits and financial penalties, which can impact the individual’s future career prospects. It’s important to emphasize that such behavior not only affects the victim but also has a negative impact on the workplace culture and can damage the company’s reputation. By outlining the consequences of disrespectful behavior, employees can understand the seriousness of the issue and work towards creating a more respectful and professional work environment.

How Does Employee Disrespectful Behavior Impact Other Employees?

Employee disrespectful behavior can have a significant impact on other employees and the overall workplace culture. When an employee is disrespectful to their colleagues, it creates a hostile work environment that can affect the mental health and wellbeing of others. This type of behavior can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression for those who are subjected to it. It can also cause employees to lose confidence in their abilities and feel less motivated to do their job. Additionally, disrespectful behavior can create a culture of fear, where employees are afraid to speak up or report the behavior for fear of retaliation. This can perpetuate the cycle of disrespectful behavior and make it difficult for management to address the issue effectively. Overall, employee disrespectful behavior can have a significant impact on the workplace and must be addressed to create a safe, respectful, and productive work environment for all employees.

8 Quotes About Disrespect

  1. “Disrespect is the weapon of the weak.” ― Alice Miller

  2. “If you accept their disrespect, they won’t respect you.” ― Sonya Parker

  3. “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, because hate in your heart will consume you too.” ― Will Smith

  4. “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” ― Albert Einstein

  5. “Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.” ― Eric Hoffer

  6. “Don’t let someone get comfortable disrespecting you.” ― Anonymous

  7. “You can’t force a person to show you respect, but you can refuse to be disrespected.” ― Anonymous

  8. “People treat you with as much, or as little respect as you allow them to.” ― Rachel Hollis

How to Help/Coach a Disrespectful Employee? (5 Strategies)

As a manager or supervisor, one of the most challenging aspects of your job is dealing with employees who display disrespectful behavior. Whether it’s rudeness, insubordination, or even harassment, such behavior can negatively impact the workplace culture and harm employee morale. However, coaching a disrespectful employee can be an effective way to address the issue and help the individual improve their behavior. The following are some of the best practices for coaching a disrespectful employee:

Be a Good Role Model

The first step in coaching a disrespectful employee is to lead by example. As a manager or supervisor, it’s essential to model respectful behavior and communicate the importance of respect in the workplace. This means treating all employees with respect, actively listening to their concerns, and addressing any issues in a professional and constructive manner. When employees see their supervisors demonstrating respect, they are more likely to follow suit.

Don’t Ignore Disrespectful Behavior

Ignoring disrespectful behavior is never the right approach. It sends the message that such behavior is acceptable and can even encourage others to act in a similar manner. As a manager, it’s crucial to address any disrespectful behavior immediately, rather than waiting for it to escalate. This not only sends a clear message to the individual but also to the entire team that such behavior is not tolerated in the workplace.

Deal Directly with the Disrespectful Employee

Ignoring disrespectful behavior is never the right approach. It sends the message that such behavior is acceptable and can even encourage others to act in a similar manner. As a manager, it’s crucial to address any disrespectful behavior immediately, rather than waiting for it to escalate. This not only sends a clear message to the individual but also to the entire team that such behavior is not tolerated in the workplace. Proactive activities could include regularly scheduled respect meetings with staff. Programs such as Legacy Business Cultures’ respect and sensitivity training program can also help teams of any size learn how to get along that much better!

Listen to Disrespectful Employee

While it’s important to address disrespectful behavior, it’s also important to listen to the employee’s perspective. Sometimes, the root cause of the behavior may be a personal or work-related issue that the employee is struggling with. By actively listening and showing empathy, you may be able to uncover the underlying issue and help the individual address it. This can result in improved behavior and a more positive workplace culture.

Follow Up on Disrespectful Behavior of an Employee

Finally, it’s crucial to follow up with the employee after the initial conversation to ensure that they have understood the seriousness of the issue and are committed to improving their behavior. This follow-up can include setting clear expectations for future behavior, providing training or coaching to help the employee improve, and monitoring their behavior to ensure that they are following through on their commitments.

Coaching a disrespectful employee can be a challenging but necessary task for any manager or supervisor. By following these best practices, you can address the issue and help the individual improve their behavior, resulting in a more positive workplace culture and increased employee morale.

Respectful/Appropriate Employee Behaviors at the Workplace

Respect is an important factor in any workplace and all the employees should be equally respected and their efforts and hard work should be appreciated to motivate and encourage them. Such workplaces are easy to maintain where all the employees are treated with respect and kindness. Some of the behaviors at the workplace that should be adopted by employees are listed below.

  1. Use polite language and tone while communicating with colleagues, clients, and customers.
  2. Listen actively and attentively to colleagues, giving them your full attention and respect.
  3. Respect the privacy of your colleagues and avoid gossiping or sharing confidential information.
  4. Be punctual and respect the time of your colleagues by being on time for meetings and appointments.
  5. Take responsibility for your actions and be accountable for your mistakes.
  6. Respect diversity and inclusivity by avoiding discriminatory language, behavior, and actions.
  7. Offer assistance and support to colleagues when needed.
  8. Give credit and recognition to colleagues for their contributions and successes.
  9. Maintain a professional attitude and behavior at all times, even in challenging situations.
  10. Follow workplace policies and procedures to maintain a respectful and safe workplace for all employees.

When to Discipline an Employee for Disrespectful Behavior

As an employer or manager, it’s essential to maintain a positive and respectful workplace environment. When an employee displays disrespectful behavior, it can have a negative impact on team morale and productivity. Therefore, it’s important to take disciplinary action when necessary. If an employee’s disrespectful behavior is affecting other employees or customers, it’s time to take action. Examples of such behavior may include bullying, harassment, discrimination, or verbal abuse. However, before taking action, ensure that you have all the facts and evidence required to justify the write-up. It’s crucial to document any incidents of disrespectful behavior to support your decision. The write-up should be done in a professional and respectful manner, outlining the consequences of their actions and expectations for future behavior. Ultimately, the goal should be to correct the behavior and maintain a positive and respectful work environment for all employees.

Firing an Employee for Disrespectful Behavior

Firing an employee should always be a last resort after all other options to correct their disrespectful behavior have been exhausted. Before terminating an employee, it’s important to ensure that you have a clear and documented history of their behavior, including any warnings or write-ups. In cases of severe and egregious disrespectful behavior, such as harassment, discrimination, or physical aggression, immediate termination may be necessary to protect other employees and maintain a safe work environment. However, in cases where the behavior is less severe, a series of warnings and probation periods may be necessary before termination. It’s crucial to follow proper procedures and consult with HR and legal professionals before terminating an employee to avoid any potential legal consequences. Additionally, it’s important to conduct the termination meeting in a professional and respectful manner, clearly outlining the reasons for the termination and any final compensation or benefits owed to the employee. Ultimately, the decision to terminate an employee for disrespectful behavior should be made in the best interest of the company and its employees, with the goal of maintaining a positive and respectful workplace environment.

Learn the tools to promote the types of respectful behaviors in your company that are critical to employee engagement and business success.

Register now for our “Connecting With Respect” webinar [DATE]

Register Now