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Workplace bullying and discrimination

As with bullying at school, bullying in the workplace can have strong, negative effects on the individuals experiencing it and those around them. Though in some cases bullying can be physical, it is usually mental and emotional in nature for most people, which can cause the effects to last longer.

For this reason, different organizations and companies are trying to crack down on such instances, but parties that experience it must still make this fact known. For this reason, it is important to understand a few key aspects of workplace bullying and discrimination.

Bullying

In short, workplace bullying occurs when an employee experiences harassing behavior consistently from another party and feels defenseless or trapped in the situation. Bullying can come from both superior and subordinate parties, as well as males and females. However, studies show there are certain characteristics that may increase the chances of bullying:

  • Occupational characteristics
  • Rate of poverty
  • Skill level
  • Gender

Along with these characteristics, additional personal character traits may play a role, such as a person being soft-spoken or very nice.

Discrimination

It is important to understand that bullying and discrimination are two separate classifications. Therefore, not all bullying meets the discrimination classification, and vice versa. For bullying to be discrimination, it must occur due to the bullied party's differences, such as gender, race, age or religion. 

Reporting

When employees experience discrimination or bullying, it is important to report it immediately. It is always a good idea to keep records of the incidents. In particular, they should note the date and time of the incidents, the happenings, and all parties involved. If it is possible to obtain witness statements, that can help to strengthen their claims as well.

Understanding these facts can aid in classifying and properly reporting bullying or discrimination issues. It may also be helpful to review the legal rights of employees to aid in determining the best path of recourse.

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