When it comes to workplace conflicts, bullying in the workplace exists in a grey area — but that doesn’t mean that you should do nothing about it. The laws that govern workplace bullying vary from state to state, but in most cases, behavior that qualifies as bullying does not cross a threshold into discrimination or creating a hostile environment. This behavior is childish and frustrating, but in many cases is not illegal.
So, what can you do about it? Even though there are relatively few methods of legal recourse, you do have options. One proactive step you can take to gain control of the situation is to educate yourself about what constitutes a hostile work environment or discrimination. In broad strokes, if a person is careless enough to be a bully in the first place, there is a good chance that he or she is not always going to keep his or her behavior within the bounds of what is technically legal. Often, bullies believe that they can flirt with the boundaries and get away with things that others cannot, which can be their downfall.
Also, although this is a tricky situation to handle, you should consider going to your employer’s Human Resources (HR) department. In general, the HR department is not there to help you as much as protect the company, so this is a delicate move. However, if the problematic individual does act in a way that is inappropriate, HR generally should have the opportunity to deal with the issue internally.
When you stand up for yourself, you also stand up for hundreds of other employees who feel walked over in the course of their jobs. The guidance of an experienced attorney can help you understand the nuances of the law and how to fight for your rights and fair treatment.
Source: Findlaw, “Can You Stop Workplace Bullying?,” George Khoury, accessed June 09, 2017