Diversity in age, sex, religion, personal beliefs, race and sexual orientation are what makes human beings unique and interesting. Unfortunately, there are those individuals who choose to exploit and discriminate against others for their unique differences. When this type of discrimination or harassment occurs in a workplace setting, legal action may be appropriate.

The majority of U.S. workplaces have strict anti-discrimination and harassment policies. However, despite the existence of such policies and even educational and training sessions aimed to enforce these policies, far too many men and women are victims of workplace harassment and discrimination.

There are numerous state and federal laws that protect California employees from suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace. However, currently no such laws explicitly protect employees who suffer acts of workplace bullying.

While many people readily associate the term bullying with school-aged children, according to a recent national survey, 27 percent of U.S. employees have experienced bullying in the workplace. Acts that may constitute bullying include “mistreatment, sabotage … verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation and humiliation.” Bullying in the workplace not only adversely affects productivity, but some employees may also may develop health problems related to the stress and constant worry caused by bullying behaviors.

While no specific employment laws currently exclusively cover or refer to bullying, acts related to bullying may be similar in nature to or overlap with those that are considered to be harassing or discriminatory in nature. Therefore, employees in the Los Angeles area who have experienced or are currently experiencing bullying in the workplace would be wise to discuss their situation with an attorney who handles employment law matters.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Workplace Bullying,” 2014

FindLaw.com, “Discrimination and Harassment,” 2014

Workplacebullying.org, “2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey February 2014,” Feb. 2014