You may have dealt with a bullying boss or supervisor if you’ve been working for a while. Unfortunately, some people make themselves feel more important by belittling those around them. If your boss yells, screams, threatens, issues threats, etc., you are probably dealing with a bully boss. Some bosses may choose to act more passive-aggressively, but can be just as stressful to deal with.
Bullying bosses can make your life utterly miserable. You will spend your time while at work miserable, and your time off work dreading going in to work. Your job performance may diminish as a result, which can hurt your career. You could suffer from stress-related health problems because of dealing with your boss, such as ulcers, migraines, or heart problems. You may not be able to leave your job because you have a family who is financially dependent on you.
If you are dealing with a bullying supervisor, there are some steps you should take. Document every encounter with the boss in writing, including what the boss says, when it occurs, and who else is present to witness the exchange. You will also want to record other instances of bullying, even if they don’t involve you. You may consider asking your co-workers to tell you what they have seen and heard for additional documentation.
As part of your documentation, you should be especially alert for any indication on why the harassment is occurring. You could have a strong case against your boss and your company if the harassment occurred because of your sex, age, race, sexual orientation, color, nationality, religion, or other similar reasons. Discrimination based on certain characteristics is illegal under state and federal law. If your boss makes slurs against people of a certain race, or harasses you because you are a female, you should document those actions. You should also understand how your company handles complaints about bullying bosses. If there is a certain procedure to follow which is documented, you should examine it to understand what the best course of action is, and provide it to your employment attorney.
Unfortunately, it may in many cases be tough to bring a legal case against a boss who is a bully. Many people are jerks, and that, while unpleasant, is generally not illegal. In some cases, however, the behavior is extreme enough to warrant legal action. If the behavior is intentional and extreme, and you were harmed as a result, you could have a legal case for intentional infliction of emotional distress, or your company may be found to not have provided a safe workplace for you.
In some cases, you could also have a case for illegal harassment, if the abuse occurred because of your race, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, age, handicap, or similar reasons. That behavior is illegal under state and federal law. You do not have to tolerate abusive behavior in the workplace, even if it does come from a supervisor.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employers should treat their employees fairly, and if employees are bullied they should explore their legal options. Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco employment law attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 if you are dealing with a harassing or bullying boss or supervisor. She helps employees seek compensation or other remedies in employment law cases. Call her today to learn more.