Bullying is most commonly associated with children at school. But unfortunately, people of any age can be affected by bullying. It can occur within social circles, in families or the workplace. Thankfully, there are legal provisions in place that help protect workers who are adversely affected by bullying, particularly when they are bullied because of a protected characteristic.
If you or a loved one’s well-being has been affected by workplace bullying, you should know that action can be taken. Bullying can hinder career success, increase chances of mental illness and lead to unnecessary suffering.
Bullying is not illegal, but harassment is
There are no federal laws that specifically address bullying. However, there are federal laws that prohibit workplace harassment. Bullying is often, but not always, a type of harassment. Therefore, in many cases workers who have suffered from bullying may be able to make a harassment claim.
What is the definition of workplace harassment?
Workplace harassment occurs when an employee suffers unwelcome conduct that is based on any of the classifications that are protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. This could be a situation in which an employee is subject to sexist jokes or where they are ostracized because of their disability. The unwelcome conduct must be severe or pervasive enough to have created a hostile environment.
If you want to get justice after suffering cruel and unfair treatment in the workplace, you should first take the time to identify the basis of hostile behavior. From there, you may be able to make a workplace harassment claim or consider other options.