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Helpful tips to deal with workplace bullying

While anti-discrimination laws work to protect employees in California from unscrupulous actions based on race, gender or religion, there are no current laws to curb workplace bullying. Just as bullying has become a national discussion topic in schools, a recent survey suggests that it is prevalent, and apparently tolerated, in American workplaces.

A 2011 survey received more than 16,000 responses. Of those who responded, 64 percent indicated that they had been bullied or even physically hurt by another employee. Others had been psychologically abused where their work performance had been affected. Another 16 percent indicated that they had seen other employees bullied.

Indeed, bullying, by itself, is not against the law. However, employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for employees, and if an employer fails to do so, or does not make adjustments to maintain safety after being notified, the employer could be held liable for the injuries suffered by an employee. In essence, workers can be injured by much more than foreign objects or slippery floors. Constant berating and bulling can lead to harmful psychological injuries.

With that said, it is important for employees who are under siege to make sure that their supervisor knows about any harassment or bullying that is taking place. If the bullying is from a supervisor, then ensuring that the company’s human resources department is aware of the treatment.  Also, if you have received medical treatment for physical or psychological injuries, maintaining records of such treatment is important.

Finally, discussing your situation with an experienced employment law attorney can help in understanding your rights and options. 

Source: “Workplace bullying issues a worldwide concern,” May 27, 2014

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