Can anything be done to stop workplace bullying?

I have worked in this Social Security office for 3 years now. I have been dealing with bullying and intimation most of that time. I have documented and spoken with management about my co-worker trying to intimate me by waiting in the parking lot for when I come in or go home. And for the comments of wanting to destroy thing in my cubicle. I have addressed the fact that my husband (now ex-husband) has been called at his place of employment by her and/or a friend of hers. This has affected my health. What, if anything, can be done?

Asked on July 14, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If the coworker has been targetting you because of your membership in a protected category (e.g. race, sex, religion, age over 40, disabled), then it's workplace harassment and your employer *must* take action or face liability.

2) If the coworker is doing anything--as it sounds she may be--that could give rise to either criminal or civil (i.e. a lawsuit) liability, then again, you employer may be vicariously liable for their actions. Making threats, against your property or your self, for example, could give rise to liability (threats of violence are prohibited).

If (1) or (2) is the case and your employer does not take action, they could be exposing themselves to legal risks.

By the way, if you are being threatened or stalked, you may also call the police, since it may be a criminal act.

(3) However, if you're not being discriminated against, and the coworker is  not doing anything that could give rise to a civil or criminal cause of action, then they may be nothing you can do--there is no law that employees must be respectful of each other, or that an employer must force them to be.


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