How do I protect myself from workplace bullying and abuse?

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How do I protect myself from workplace bullying and abuse?

On multiple occasions a coworker has spoken to me publicly in an aggressive, loud, hostile, angry, demeaning, blaming and disrespectful manner in front of customers, other co-workers and my manager. He has lied and accused me of things I did not do. Although being on the receiving end of his verbal abuse has felt violent, he has not threatened to inflict physical violence against me. He has also not touched me or made any sexual comments toward me. It is not sexual harassment but it does feel like bullying and abuse. I have made a formal complaint to my HR manager. Several of my co-workers have also filed complaints with HR about similar incidents. Our managers have been unwilling or unable to do what it takes to get this persons behavior under control. He is the top earning sales associate and it is my sense that he is receiving preferential treatment and they do not want to discipline him. What can I do to prevent this bullying from continuing?

Asked on May 6, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while unprofessional, this treatment does not constitute any form of legally actionable discrimination. This means that no law has been broken. Accordingly, unless these actions violate the terms of any existing union agreemrnt or employment contract, you have no claim here. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). 


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