While every job brings some stress, going to work should never mean you subject yourself to verbal abuse, threats, intimidation or health-harming mistreatment. Yet, according to a recent study, upwards of 30 percent of all workers in the United States are bullied at work. At The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, our Los Angeles employment lawyers stand up for the rights of workers in the face of bullying and harassment. We can help you determine what your rights are and how to most effectively pursue them.What Is Workplace Bullying?
While definitions vary slightly, workplace bullying is generally defined as persistent mistreatment that has a negative health impact on an employee. Workplace bullying includes any of the following acts:
- Berating others,
- Dismissing another’s efforts,
- Excluding certain employees,
- Intentionally embarrassing an employee in front of their co-workers or customers,
- Intimidating people, and
- Threatening or intimidating others.
The effects of workplace bullying on an employee can be profound. For example, victims of adult bullying can experience a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. In some cases, employees also suffer physical symptoms, including headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure and muscle tension.Is Workplace Bullying Illegal in California?
While many aspects of the workplace are regulated under California employment law, workplace bullying is not prohibited. However, employees are able to file a claim against a bully or their employer if the workplace bullying violates California workplace harassment or discrimination laws.When Does Workplace Bully Cross the Line?
Although California does not have an anti-workplace bullying law on the books, workplace bullying that is motivated by an employee’s protected trait may be considered prohibited harassment. In such cases, both the bully and the employer may be liable.
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), employees have a right to be free from a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is one in which an employee is subjected to insults, ridicule or discriminatory intimidation that is sufficiently pervasive or severe to change the conditions of a worker’s employment.
Often, hostile work environment claims arise in the context of sexual harassment [link to Sexual Harassment page]; however, under FEHA, all of the following are protected classes:
- Gender identity or gender expression,
- Marital status,
- Medical condition or genetic information,
- Military status,
- National origin,
- Physical or mental disability,
- Sex, and
- Sexual orientation harassment.
In this way, California’s anti workplace harassment laws are much broader than many employees realize.
Employees subject to workplace bullying may be able to pursue a workplace harassment claim against the bully as well as their employer. It is easier to succeed in a workplace harassment claim if a supervisor or manager was involved in the harassment. However, courts allow employers to be held liable for harassment carried out by non-supervisory employees if there is evidence suggesting the employer knew about the harassment and failed to prevent it. For this reason, it is important to report any instance of workplace bullying.Reach Out to an Experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are currently the victim of workplace bullying, it may be more than just bullying; it may be harassment. If so, you have a legal right to file a claim against your employer, the workplace bully, or both. At The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, we represent workers—and only workers—in all types of California employment cases. We’ve handled a wide range of sexual harassment cases, as well as race harassment, religion harassment, and sexual orientation harassment claims. We offer all prospective clients a free consultation where we will answer your questions, explain your rights, and discuss how we can help. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles discrimination and harassment lawyer, call 800-700-WAGE (9243) today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.