Can anything be done to stop workplace bullying?

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2010

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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