Is it legal for a manager to verbally insult an employee and constantly target them?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it legal for a manager to verbally insult an employee and constantly target them?

I quit my job today after 2 months of constant bullying and concentrated bad attention from one of my managers. I worked in a medical office building and one day I of course being human, made a mistake. Though I do understand the need for discipline, I do not agree with nor understand why she spoke to me the way she did. There was a point where she referred to me as “stupid” and also telling me that I lack common sense. Then again, last week, I had a disagreement with a co-worker. When I was called to the office, again it was 20 minutes of her scolding me like a school child. Each time I asked if I could defend myself, she responded by saying, “Just don’t talk, your only digging yourself deeper” or “Just stop now, your only getting yourself in more trouble, you’d think you’d get that by now but apparently not”. Her body language and manner of speaking to me continuously got more disrespectful and unprofessional. I left her office crying hysterically and so physically upset I ended up having a severe panic attack. This happened again 3 times in the same week thus leading to my resignation from the position this morning.

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Workplace harassment has to do with creating an environment that is so hostile that it prevents an employee from performing his or her job duties in a reasonable manner. In such a situation, a superior or co-worker, either by behavior or actions, creates an environment that is counterproductive to an employee's performing his or her duties. 

However, typically these behaviors must be "discriminatory" and not just a result of unprofessional or even rude conduct.  In a workplace setting, discrimination is action taken against an employee because they are a member of a "protected class" (i.e. their treatment must not be based on a person's race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, etc). A hostile work environrment also includes retaliatory action and sexual harassment.

Unfortunately, based on the facts that you have presented, while this manager's behavior was most unprofessional, it does not appear to rise to the level of an actionable claim. Unless that is, there was a stated company policy covering your situation, or there was an employment/union agreement to the contrary, or again, if yoursituation was due to some type of discrimination, etc.

However, you can consult an employment law attorney. Go over all details of your case with them. They can best advise at you your rights and remedies, if any.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption