Is Bullying at Work Illegal?

Harassment at work, by itself, is not illegal. For harassment in the workplace to be illegal, it must be based on an illegal factor. You can see a list on our discrimination FAQ resource page. To simplify though, an employer cannot legally harass an employee because of his or her race, disability or other protected characteristics and beliefs. However, a California employer may harass a worker because he or she just does not like the employee, as long as the harassment does not involve discrimination based on federally protected classes.

It may seem that harassment laws side with the workplace bully who makes negative comments that are not discriminatory. However, employees experiencing workplace bullying still have legal rights. A harassment lawyer at our firm can review your potential work bullying harassment claim for free. We can then discuss what options may be available under federal and California laws to make the bully stop.

Examples of Other Forms of Workplace Harassment

If an employer treats an employee badly because of race, it is racial harassment. If it is because of sex or gender, it is sexual harassment. Yet, while stressful, there is no law against general “harassment” or bad treatment of an employee.

Bullying at work may not be illegal in California, but there are many times where a workplace bully may cross the line between what is legal and illegal discrimination at work behavior. For example:

  • Is the work bully targeting you because of a protected class, such as your age or gender?
  • Did the bully retaliate because you recently took Family and Medical Leave or filed for workers’ compensation?
  • Is the workplace bully making you fearful that he or she will physically harm you, or has the bully already hit you?

At our employment law firm, we investigate a number of possibly illegal harassment, discrimination and retaliation issues for which the workplace bully may be at fault. During a free consultation, an employment attorney can help you determine the distinction between legal and illegal workplace harassment.

Workers’ Compensation for Harassment at Work

If an employer treats an employee badly enough, that employee may be forced to take a stress leave for work-related mental anguish. This may result in a worker filing for workers’ compensation or even a disability claim.

If the workplace bully chooses to continue harassment because a worker files for California workers’ comp or disability, the victim of workplace bullying may have a disability discrimination claim.

Talk to a Los Angeles Harassment Lawyer for Free Advice Today

Were you the victim of harassment in the workplace? If so, then contact a Los Angeles harassment lawyer at our employment law firm today. We can then set up a free attorney consultation. We help employees by giving them information about what to do after harassment at work.