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Is Bullying Unlawful in the Workplace?Client-Focused & Passionate Representation

Is Bullying Unlawful in the Workplace?


Bullying in a workplace can be debilitating for employees who are targeted by it, and it can affect the entire workplace — including the productivity of other employees who witness the bullying or must work in an environment where bullying is common. Generally speaking, bullying on its own is not specifically unlawful. In other words, there are no state or federal laws that specifically address workplace bullying. However, in many circumstances, bullying is unlawful because it is actually a form of unlawful harassment under state or federal law.

Our Palm Beach Gardens employment law attorneys can explain more about distinguishing between bullying that is not actionable and bullying that constitutes unlawful harassment. And if you are experiencing workplace bullying, we can assess your case today to determine whether you may be able to take legal action.

Understanding Workplace Bullying 

Bullying in the workplace generally involves consistent and abusive behavior that is intimidating, undermining, humiliating, or threatening, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may include singling out an employee for unfair criticism, publicly embarrassing the employee in front of co-workers or clients, mocking an employee’s safety concerns or health issues, making unfair demands of an employee, excluding an employee from workplace activities, or micromanaging an employee in a manner different from other employees.

If any of these behaviors, or other bullying behaviors, are due to the employee being part of a protected class under state or federal law, or in retaliation for an employee exercising rights under state or federal law, bullying may be actionable as unlawful harassment.

Harassment Under State and Federal Law 

If bullying occurs or is connected with any of the following, it may actually constitute unlawful harassment that is causing a hostile work environment:

  • Race;
  • Ethnicity;
  • Sex;
  • Gender;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Religion;
  • Disability;
  • Age; or
  • Retaliation in response to the employee’s exercising of rights under various laws such as wage and hour laws, workplace safety laws, or whistleblowing laws.

In other words, if you are being bullied because of your race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, or disability — or another characteristic that makes you a member of a protected class — then the bullying may be unlawful discrimination. Further, if bullying is occurring in retaliation for your decision to exercise certain rights as an employee, the bullying also may be unlawful. It is best to have an employment law attorney assess your case and help you to discuss actions for moving forward. When bullying does rise to the level of unlawful harassment that creates a hostile work environment, it may be possible for the targeted employee, as well as another impacted employee, to file a claim.

Contact a Palm Beach Gardens Harassment Lawyer 

As we have discussed, depending on the circumstances, some types of bullying may be unlawful harassment for which you can take legal action. It is important to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced Palm Beach Gardens harassment attorney at Sconzo Law Office as soon as possible. Contact us today to learn more about bullying and harassment, and to find out about your options for addressing any workplace bullying that you are experiencing.




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3825 PGA Boulevard
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Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410