Can you Get Fired for Gossipping at Work?

Can you Get Fired for Gossipping at Work?
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Gossiping at work can be considered a form of workplace bullying. The National Labor Relations Board defines workplace bullying as repeated verbal abuse, intimidation, or humiliation directed toward an employee because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic predisposition or status as a qualified individual with disabilities.

Employees who engage in workplace bullying often face retaliation from management. If you witness or experience such behavior, you should report it immediately. In addition, consider taking legal action against the person responsible.

In this article, we will discuss whether you can get fired for gossiping at your workplace and, if so, the possible consequences.

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Why Is Gossiping in the Workplace So Dangerous?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Workers have a right to expect that their employers will not tolerate abusive conduct by supervisors or coworkers.”

You may feel helpless and scared about reporting the situation if you are being bullied at work. However, you must remember that no one deserves to be treated like this. You have every right to stand up for yourself and demand respect.

If you witness or experience harassment or discrimination at work, don’t hesitate to speak up! Your employer must protect employees from abusive behavior.

1. The spread of rumors can create a toxic workplace.

It is important to note that gossiping at work can lead to serious problems. For example, when coworkers talk negatively about each other behind someone’s back, it creates a hostile work environment. This leads to poor performance and even conflict between colleagues.

You can damage relationships with clients, customers, or suppliers if you spread negative information about them without permission.

You could face disciplinary action or termination if you are caught talking about others behind their backs.

2. Gossiping Breaks Down Trust

Because gossiping destroys trust among workers, it can cause major problems in the workplace. When people do not believe in each other, they tend to distrust those around them. As a result, employees become less productive and perform poorly on the job.

When coworkers stop trusting each other and start spreading rumors, it is difficult for them to communicate effectively. In turn, they need help to accomplish their tasks efficiently.

When coworkers doubt each other’s integrity, they lose confidence in the organization and its leadership. They may also question the honesty of their bosses and managers.

This lack of trust can eventually lead to conflicts within the company. Workers may try to take advantage of situations where they think they can get away with anything.

As a result, productivity drops, and the business suffers.

3. Gossip Causes Conflict

Conflict occurs when two or more people disagree and cannot resolve their differences peacefully.

When coworkers gossip about each other, they usually do not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. Instead, they want to pass along the news that they heard elsewhere.

However, gossiping can easily escalate into full-blown conflict. If you are involved in a conflict, you must keep cool and avoid taking sides. By doing so, you can prevent the conflict from escalating further.

The best way to handle a conflict is to discuss it directly with both parties involved. Be honest and open about what happened, and apologize for whatever caused the problem.

Once the issue is resolved, let everyone know how things went down and why you handled the situation as you did.

Finally, don’t engage in gossip again. Doing so will only increase tensions between coworkers and make the situation worse.

4. Gossip Ruins Relationships

Gossip destroys relationships by ruining friendships. It can also destroy personal bonds and family ties.

When coworkers share private conversations with friends or family members, they often say things they would never tell their coworkers. This causes resentment and misunderstandings.

In addition, gossipers often reveal secrets that were meant to remain confidential. This can create tension between families and friends.

Gossipers often feel like they have no control over what they say. Because they cannot help themselves, they end up saying things they regret later.

People who gossip rarely realize how damaging their behavior is because they cannot stop themselves.

5. Gossip kills teamwork

Teamwork is an important part of any successful organization. It allows people to work together toward common goals. Unfortunately, team spirit can be destroyed if one person spreads lies and rumors about others.

If someone spreads malicious gossip, they could sabotage the entire group. The truth is that gossip ruins teamwork and destroys morale. When coworkers apply negative stories about each other, they undermine their colleagues’ efforts.

They may even start acting against the interests of the company. This makes them enemies rather than teammates. Gossipers always seem to find fault with everything around them. Their constant complaining can drive away potential new employees and customers.

Because they cannot accept constructive criticism, they often turn to gossip instead. Many people believe that gossip is a form of communication. If you gossip, you are communicating with your fellow workers. You should try to think before you speak.

Consider keeping quiet until you hear something concrete. Then, you can ask questions and get information. Instead of gossiping, ask your coworker what they think about the subject.

The ‘no-gossip’ work policy

Establishing a no-gossip work policy is the most effective way to prevent gossip.

This rule states that all conversations must stay within the office. No matter where you go, you must not talk about anything that happens outside the workplace.

Your boss might encourage this conversation, but you shouldn’t do it. Your boss has enough on their plate without having to worry about whether you’re gossiping.

Your coworkers probably won’t appreciate being talked about behind their backs. They may even take offense and retaliate. Even though you might want to know what’s happening, it’s best to keep silent.

Instead, you should focus on getting along with your coworkers. You can write notes in your diary if you need to discuss something that happened off the job. You don’t have to let anyone else read them.

Avoiding using electronic devices when discussing personal matters is also a good idea. Many people use these devices to communicate with friends and family. However, you should only use these gadgets to make business calls.

If you decide to use email or instant messaging programs, you should limit yourself to sending messages about work. Don’t send personal messages unless you have to.

Don’t allow gossip to destroy your career. Keep your mouth shut and your ears open. That way, you’ll learn much more than you ever did by listening to gossip.

Can an employee be terminated for speaking negatively about a coworker?

A person who talks badly about another employee can certainly lose his or her job. This is true even if the person didn’t mean to say bad things about the person.

In some cases, employers fire employees for making false statements. For example, it’s illegal to lie during an investigation. Employees who deliberately mislead investigators can face serious penalties.

However, there are situations where you can be fired for making negative comments about a co-worker. These include:

  • Talking negatively about someone who works under you.
  • Discussing a co-worker’s shortcomings in front of other employees.
  • Making fun of a co-worker.
  • Discussing a co-worker in a manner that suggests that he or she is incompetent.
  • Talking about a co-worker in such a way that others will believe that the co-worker is dishonest.

Many companies have policies against discussing co-workers. It’s important to follow those rules.

Some employers feel that employees should never criticize one another. This is because managers fear that employees might spread rumors about each other.

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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When does gossip become harassment?

Gossip is often considered harmless. But sometimes, it can turn into harassment.

Harassment occurs when an employer makes unwelcome sexual advances toward employees. It includes any behavior that creates a hostile environment for female workers.

For instance, if you hear someone making lewd comments about women, this could constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment doesn’t always involve physical contact. Some forms of harassment occur through words alone. The most common form of verbal harassment involves offensive remarks about a woman’s body or clothing.

Sexual harassment may take place in the workplace or outside of the office. In either case, the law protects all employees from being subjected to unwanted sexual advances.

Most employers already know what constitutes sexual harassment. They must prevent it from happening.

But they aren’t required to protect their employees from every type of harassment. If you’re not sure whether something qualifies as sexual harassment, talk to your supervisor. He or she can help you figure out what’s right.


Office gossip can be a vicious cycle if you let it continue, so cutting it stop now could save you a lot of trouble later.

If you want to avoid getting fired for gossiping at work, keep these tips in mind the next time you’re tempted to participate in office gossip.

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