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This is a complicated subject, but the short answer is Yes, you can.
Some studies have shown that nearly half of Americans have been subjected to workplace bullying, at some time in their career. It isn’t acceptable. Let’s first look at what workplace bullying actually is.
What is workplace bullying?
- it’s when you’re subjected to repeated hurtful remarks, attacks or jibes – both verbally and in writing (such as email)
- it’s sexual harassment, including touching and sexually explicit language
- it’s when you’re left out of activities or when you’re prevented from working with people or groups
- it’s psychological harassment
- it’s when others ‘gang up’ on you
- it’s intimidation
- it’s when you’re given meaningless or unrealistic jobs
- it’s when your work environment or working hours are deliberately changed to inconvenience you
- it’s when you’re deliberately excluded from receiving information
- it’s physical violence
- it’s being threatened
- it’s being discriminated against, for reasons of race, creed, nationality, sexual preference, or any other reason
- it’s deliberate sabotage of your work
Can you sue?
Bullying is not actually illegal. But certain behaviors associated with bullying are. Physical violence is an obvious one, and so is sexual harassment. Defamation is too. A legal professional can advise you on your particular situation – make the call. Lawsuits in the U.S. are bound by existing laws, but they can be expensive and take a long time. Your privacy and history will be scrutinized and made public.
It could be an arduous journey.
Look for an attorney who specialized in this subject. They will be sensitive and understanding to the issues I have described, and know how the legal system works specifically in this subject.
Are you being bullied in the workplace?
Please share your story – you can do this anonymously – by leaving a comment below or starting a conversation in my community forums.