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Providing Tailored Guidance For Your Legal Needs

Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy
Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Is workplace bullying illegal?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | Workplace Discrimination |

You work in a real estate office and consistently rake in the sales awards. But your excellent salesmanship skills have had quite a negative consequence. You’ve become the target of bullies in the office.

What can you do? Is this behavior crossing a legal line?

Bullying is not necessarily illegal (unfortunately)

Unlike in other industrialized countries (Denmark, Sweden, Canada and France), workplace bullying in the United States is not specifically prohibited. The United States lags behind other first-world nations in protecting all its workers and providing them with an environment of dignity and respect in the workplace.

All hope is not lost, however

There may be a way to link the bullying that you get from co-workers to your status as part of a protected class. If you are an ethnic minority, a woman, an older worker, have disabilities or are otherwise protected under laws that already exist in your state or country, you could potentially seek damages from your employer for not protecting you against bullying that seems to be motivated by your inclusion in that class.

With that being said, though, you may not be able to take any legal action against your company. But that does not mean that you have to endure bullying and taunts. You have the right to file a complaint with the Human Resources (HD) department of your company.

Why that can effectively stop bullies in their tracks

It puts the company and your bullies on notice that you are no longer willing to tolerate such juvenile and offensive behavior from colleagues. Few companies will choose to cut ties with a top salesperson to coddle those who are just getting by on their own mediocrity. Harness your power to stop the bullies.

Seek guidance if you are unsure what to do next

Discrimination in the workplace can be a murky affair. What appears to just be bullying could in fact be a form of actionable discrimination. Seeking legal guidance can clarify your situation and help you find a viable response to the problem.