Workplace Bullying: Tips for Prevention, Intervention, and Legal Action

Explore our comprehensive guide on workplace bullying, including legal options and support. Learn how Waltman Employment Law can assist you in addressing and combating workplace bullying effectively.

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Workplace bullying refers to continuous pattern of mistreatment from co-workers that causes physical or emotional harm. It can include such tactics as verbal and nonverbal attacks and psychological and physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression can have serious detrimental effects on an employee’s health, well-being, and productivity. Examples include spreading malicious rumors, withholding necessary information, and unreasonable work demands that sabotage the target’s work performance, occupational health, and reputation.

The need for experienced legal guidance becomes crucial when addressing issues of workplace bullying. Many employees may not be aware of their rights or the intricacies of legal provisions related to psychological harassment to discourage bullying at work. Understanding the legal status of bullying in the United States is the first step in combating this issue successfully.

As an employment retaliation law firm, Waltman Employment Law recognizes the complexities of workplace dynamics and the devastating impact bullying has on employees. Our mission is to stand up for those who’ve been wronged in their professional environments, ensuring they receive the respect and fairness they deserve. If dealing with workplace bullies has forced you to see a mental health professional, then it’s time to stand up against such abusive conduct.

Types of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is a challenging issue that can manifest in various forms, deeply impacting the lives of employees. Bullying in the workplace is broadly classified into two categories: physical and non-physical.

  • Physical Workplace Bullying: This includes any form of physical intimidation or harm or workplace violence against a reasonable person. Examples might be blocking someone’s way aggressively, physical altercations, or tampering with a person’s work equipment in a manner that could cause harm. Such actions are not just abusive, but they could also lead to wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation if the victim decides to speak out.
  • Non-Physical Workplace Bullying: This type is more prevalent and encompasses a wide range of behaviors, such as the following:
    • Verbal abuse like name-calling, mocking, or threats.
    • Social isolation or deliberately excluding individuals from group activities or conversations relevant to their work.
    • Professional undermining, such as habitually taking credit for someone else’s work, setting impossible deadlines, or providing insufficient resources.
    • Psychological intimidation, which includes spreading rumors, undermining an individual’s decisions, or creating an environment of constant surveillance.

Our law firm strives to protect our clients against such abusive behaviors of co-workers. Bullying in the workplace is not only unethical, but it also can have long-lasting effects on an individual person’s career, health, and well-being. Our team has handled situations in which personal attacks escalate to a point where they intersect with harassment or lead to discriminatory practices and retaliation for reporting such acts. Our commitment is unwavering when it comes to providing tailored advocacy for workers and standing firm against workplace injustices.

Is Workplace Bullying Illegal in California?

In California, while workplace bullying itself is not specified as illegal under state law, certain forms of it may infringe upon regulations covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That is, when bullying crosses over into harassment or discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender identity or sexual orientation, national origin, or religion, it becomes a legal matter.

For example, bullying behaviors that target an individual due to a protected class and create a hostile work environment for no reason can be actionable under the law. A hostile work environment occurs when unwelcome conduct interferes with an employee’s ability to perform their job. Under the FEHA, harassment is prohibited, and employers must take reasonable steps to avoid or correct wrongful behavior in the workplace.

It’s crucial to recognize that employers can be held liable if they allow a hostile work environment to persist, especially after they have been made aware of it. This liability extends to situations where workplace bullying and harassment are pervasive enough to meet legal standards.

For comprehensive guidelines on harassment prevention and employer responsibilities, you may refer to detailed publications by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Additionally, information on job discrimination and harassment can be found through official government resources such as USA.gov and the EEOC. These resources provide clarity on matters related to legal and illegal workplace behavior.

Signs of Workplace Bullying

Bullying in professional environments can be identified by certain behaviors and patterns. The following are common indicators that an employee may be facing bullying at work:

  • Persistent criticism that seems unwarranted or irrelevant to work performance.
  • Social isolation, as when an employee is intentionally excluded from team activities or meetings.
  • Abuse of power, with supervisors or peers using their position to intimidate.
  • Intentional withholding of information necessary for successful task completion.
  • Overbearing supervision or micromanagement that is not in line with organizational standards.
  • Unreasonably heavy workloads designed to set an employee up for failure.
  • Subjective punishment, such as receiving unjust poor performance reviews.
  • Humiliation, both in private or public settings, through aggressive language or actions.
  • Threats regarding job security without any substantial justification.

Being subjected to such treatment can lead to significant psychological and physical stress for the victim. This can manifest in ways, such as anxiety, depression, and even physical and mental health problems. Workplace Bullying Institute is also a good reference to learn more about bullying behaviors.

How to Respond to Workplace Bullying

We at Waltman Employment Law advocate for employees who have been wronged in the name of workplace bullying. If you recognize these signs, it’s essential to take measured steps to address the issue. Documentation of incidents is critical. Keep detailed records of all interactions that reflect bullying, as this evidence can be valuable. 

Following your company’s internal complaint processes is also a key step in formally addressing the issue. Moreover, seeking legal advice can provide guidance on how best to protect your rights and interests in such troubling circumstances. Remember, no one deserves to be bullied at work, and we are here to stand with you in fighting against such injustices.

Waltman Employment Law: Your Ally Against Workplace Bullying

At Waltman Employment Law, we understand the devastating impact that workplace and bullying behavior can have on an individual’s life. We recognize that bullying goes beyond mere incivility and can escalate into a severe workplace harassment issue if unaddressed. Our legal team, led by Rick Waltman, is thoroughly experienced in navigating the intricate relationships and power dynamics that contribute to abusive work environments.

We commit to safeguarding your rights and providing seasoned legal advice tailored to your unique situation. Our approach blends compassion with a resolute determination to assert your legal rights. We also cover a spectrum of employment law issues including sexual harassment, and ethical workplace bullying cases.

Victims of workplace bullying deserve to have their voices heard and their dignity restored. Addressing your concerns with seriousness and the utmost discretion, we carefully analyze your case, advise on the best course of action, and offer steadfast representation when you decide to confront bullying in your workplace. 

Contact Waltman Employment Law Today.

If you’re feeling victimized by workplace bullying or if you are a witness to such unacceptable behavior, it’s crucial to address these issues head-on with the support of legal professionals. Our mission is to stand up for employees who’ve been wronged, enabling them to move forward with their careers and lives in a positive and respectful work environment.

Get in touch with Waltman Employment Law for a consultation to learn more about your rights and how we can assist you. Our dedicated team is ready to fight for you against abusive workplaces and ensure that justice is served.