Managers’ abuse of subordinates is a common form of unethical behaviour in workplaces. When exposed to such abuse, employees may go absent from work. We propose two possible explanations for employee absence in response to managerial abuse: a sociological explanation based on perceptions of organisational justice and a psychological explanation based on psychological strain. Both are tested using data from a sample of 1,472 mental health workers. The occurrence, duration, and frequency of absence are investigated using a hurdle model. Managerial abuse is found to be associated with the occurrence of absence through both perceptions of organisational justice and psychological strain. Distributive justice and depression are especially significant in explaining the relationship between abuse and absence. Once absent, duration of absence is not further affected by managerial abuse but is still linked to depression and distributive justice, whereas frequency of absence is linked to bullying and depression.