What can be done about a sales manager who is a bully and harrasing an employee?

I worked for my company for 7 years. I work in the customer service department. The Sales Manager for our company has an office in our building. He has been the sales manager for the state of Michigan for 3 years. He is not my boss but he has a team of sales people under him. Every time he would come to our department he would be very disruptive and very vocal, very loud and verbally abusive to customers and other employees in the department. We had asked him to stop several times but he always thinks it’s funny and he would just leave. We had asked our manager to talk to him and she said that she did but he hasn’t stopped. One time, I was walking back from the bathroom and he was in the hallway; out of nowhere he pushed me in the wall and walked away laughing. I told my boss as well as the HR manager. They both said that my boss’s boss will talk to him. That was more than a month ago and nothing has changed. Today at work, he came over to my desk and I asked him what he needed and he said oh you’re grumpy and punched my arm with a water bottle. I emailed my boss and my boss’s boss about it. I can’t take it anymore I want to quit my job. No one seems to be listening to me or trying to help me.

Asked on September 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In order to have a legal claim regarding an harrassing or "hostile" work enviornment, it must be one in which a worker is prevented from doing their job in a reasonable manner. In such a setting, by either behavior or actions, a co-worker creates an environment that is counterproductive to an employee performing their job duties. That having been said, such treatment must not be due to merely rude or boorish behavior. They must be "discriminatory" in nature which means that they must constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. be based on race, religion, national origin, age (over 40), disability, etc.). Therefore, and unfortunately, if the verbal abuse is merely obnoxious, while unprofessional it is legal.


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