Samuel J. Cordes & Associates
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One third of U.S. employees report bullying on the job

Many Pittsburg readers may be surprised to hear that over one-third of workers in the United States have reported that they have experienced bullying on the job. Bullying at work can include social exclusion, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, or other similar behavior.

While many people who experience workplace bullying are effectively intimidated out of reporting the incidents, employees should not have to tolerate this type of work environment. While bullying in general is not necessarily prohibited conduct, employees can seek recovery for workplace harassment if it leads to a hostile work environment that causes them to have to leave their job. In other situations if the bullying is related to a protected category such as religion or nationality there may be a remedy under a theory of illegal workplace harassment.

Some employers have voluntarily banned workplace bullying by including it in the employee handbook. In those situations, employees who are being bullied at work can seek help from their human resources representative.

If an employee makes a proper complaint to human resources or the bully's supervisor and the conduct is not dealt with, it is important to continue to seek redress through the proper channels. Sometimes this may include pursuing a legal action if the bullying has harmed job performance, caused emotional distress, or lead to physical manifestations associated with severe stress. Some experts advise keeping records of incidents and reports to supervisors in cases where bullying is ongoing and an employer does not intervene or reprimand the employee who is perpetrating the bullying.

Source: The Associated Press, "Tips for dealing with workplace bullying" March 1, 2013

More information about employee rights can be found on our Pittsburg employment law page.

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