Palm Beach Gardens Workplace Bullying Attorney
Workplace bullying is a problem faced by thousands of Florida workers each day. Most bullying is not physical but rather psychological and emotional in nature. The targeted employee faces a pattern of conduct intended to threaten, humiliate, or intimidate them.
In some cases, workplace bullying is illegal if it creates a hostile work environment based on a certain protected characteristic, such as the employee’s race or sex. A qualified Palm Beach Gardens workplace bullying attorney can advise you further on this subject. At the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., we represent individuals who have been illegally subjected to a hostile work environment by their employer.
When Is Workplace Bullying Against the Law?
There is no specific law in Florida that prohibits workplace bullying. But there are both federal and state laws that forbid workplace discrimination based on specific traits, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. And “discrimination” under these laws also covers workplace behaviors that create a hostile work environment.
So while workplace bullying per se is not illegal, if that bullying is based on your membership in a protected group, then that presents a possible case for discrimination based on a hostile work environment. To give a simple example, if you have a boss that frequently yells and screams at everyone, that may be workplace bullying but not a “hostile work environment” within the context of anti-discrimination laws. But if your boss only yells at female employees, or uses racial slurs when yelling at Hispanic workers, that would be evidence of sex or race discrimination.
At the same time, isolated incidents of workplace bullying may not be enough to prove discrimination. In general, courts will examine the following questions when determining whether a hostile work environment based on workplace bullying exists:
- How frequent was the discriminatory conduct?
- How severe was the conduct?
- Was the conduct simply a mere utterance or did it involve physical threats or humiliation?
- Did the conduct unreasonably interfere with an employee’s work performance?
Based on the answers to these questions, the employer can be held liable for discriminatory workplace bullying if they did not take reasonable measures to prevent or correct the problem once informed. Keep in mind, an employer may try to argue the employee did not take advantage of any anti-bullying or anti-harassment policies in place to report the offending conduct. So it is important to keep records of any workplace bullying and utilize any search internal procedures before taking formal legal action.
Contact the Sconzo Law Office Today
At the same time, you should never hesitate to contact a Palm Beach Gardens workplace bullying attorney if you have questions or concerns about your treatment at work. The team at the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., can review your situation and advise you of your legal rights and options. In many scenarios, simply having a lawyer by your side will get your employer’s attention and prompt a discussion of how to address the underlying bullying problem. So if you need to speak with someone right away, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.