Bullying in the Workplace

by George Barron

Scut Farkus. Recognize that name? He was the neighborhood bully in the movie “A Christmas Story.” He terrorized the neighborhood kids until one fine day when our hero Ralphie brought him to justice. In case you need a refresher:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvijyBIgazE

Hopefully Scut Farkus grew up to be a decent human being. Unfortunately, some bullies never do. They just grow up to be bigger bullies. And what might have worked in a schoolyard in the 1950’s will have a very different outcome today at the office.

Bullying in the workplace is a very real problem, and I get more calls than you might expect from people who are being bullied by their boss or even their co-workers. Unfortunately, there are no federal or Pennsylvania laws that prohibit bullying. Bullying is certainly unfair, but that does not always mean that it is illegal. 

What matters is why the bully has chosen a particular target. If the target is chosen because of his or her race, religion, disability, age, gender, etc. then the bullying may be unlawful harassment. And if an employer permits such bullying, the employer may be liable for permitting a hostile work environment.

If you are being bullied at work, there are some things that you can do. Report it in writing. Keep any bullying emails, texts, etc. Make a record of what is happening and what you have tried to do about it. Call and employment discrimination lawyer and know your rights.

I know it’s hard, but don’t handle it like Ralphie did. Let us fight for you.

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