By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Anyone who’s ever worked with a bully knows how awful it can be. Is verbal abuse on the job illegal? And what can you do about it?

Two German entrepreneurs set up a hotline called “swear away” staffed by live operators seven days a week who are there to take verbal abuse. They are paid to listen to customers rant so the customer can vent frustration and then go on their way. One can only imagine how the operators’ dinner conversation goes: so, how was your day?

If you are not paid to take abuse but get it at work anyway, do you have any legal rights to prevent it? If the abuse is based on your ethnicity, gender, religion, age, or handicap then you’ve faced illegal discrimination and can sue. But if your abusive co-worker is just a bully, there is no law against being a jerk. There may be a company policy against it though, so check your handbook.

If all else fails, call the swear away hotline and vent your frustrations to someone who’s paid to listen.