Workplace gossip is one of the biggest causes of people being unhappy with their jobs. It can destroy reputations, cause people to be disrespected, and result in workplace conflicts. Gossip doesn't have to be the reason for changing jobs, however, if you know how to handle it.
Avoiding gossip at work is the best way to save your own reputation. Getting involved with coworkers who talk about each other can lead to you being known as a troublemaker as well. This can adversely affect your promotions, coworker evaluations, and end-of-year reviews or bonuses. When you hear coworkers start gossiping, casually walk away. It may be tempting to hear what they have to say, but chances are, it is only half true (at most) anyway.
If you notice that it is the same coworker gossiping all the time, you might want to say something to them. Tell them in a very polite manner that you notice they seem to have a lot to say about people. Inform them of the possibility of facing a slander lawsuit if they make someone angry. Don't belittle them or be rude. Chances are, they will be embarrassed enough at being caught in the act.
When you hear someone gossiping about you, talk to them about it. Politely tell them that you heard what they said and you don't appreciate it. Tell them they are free to come to you if they are curious about what it going on in your life. Refrain from yelling or getting angry, as people don't always gossip to be mean. They may just be bored.
When workplace gossip gets to the point that it is damaging your career, or makes going to work miserable, it may be time to talk to upper management. Ask your manager if you can have a private meeting with him. Explain to him what is going on, without appearing whiny. Inform him of the actions you have taken to fix the situation. Listen to what he has to say and come up with a solution to the problem.
Gossiping at work is rude and immature. It can destroy other people's lives and careers. People who are being regularly gossiped about often find it difficult to face coming to work, and it can carry over in to their personal lives and can affect their relationships with loved ones. If someone you know is being gossiped about, talk to them about how to handle it, as no one should have to deal with that on a daily basis.