There are a number of federal and state laws that work to protect employees from discriminatory actions based on race, gender or religion. While it appears that many employers know this (despite their actions or inaction in preventing such behavior) workplace bullying appears to be just as pervasive as it has ever been.
Bullying, by itself, is not against the law, but employers still have an obligation to provide a safe working environment for employees. This means that the workplace must not only be free of physical hazards, workers should not have to worry about emotional hazards.
If an employer fails to take reasonable steps to remedy such hazards, especially after being notified, the employer could be held liable. After all, an employee who is subjected to bulling can lead to harmful psychological injuries, which could manifest itself in horrible ways.
As such, employees who are constantly under siege must make certain that their supervisor knows about any harassment. If the employee is uncomfortable going to their supervisor, the company’s human resources department must be made aware. While it may be difficult for an employee to take a stand out of fear of being labeled a “whiner” or someone who is not a team player, one’s mental health must take precedence.
With the employment market expected to get better, some may think that simply moving on is the best way to escape a hostile environment. However, employees should not be required to move to avoid bullies.
If you have additional questions about what to do with a workplace bully, an experienced employment law attorney can help in understanding your rights and options.