A Florida woman claims she was subjected to such harassment in the workplace that she felt it was necessary to quit her job.
Normally, this would sound like illegal workplace practices. However, the problem for this woman, and that of approximately 53 million other Americans, is that the harassment was not based upon discrimination because of her race, color, sex, national origin, age or disability. Instead, it was a form of workplace bullying, which is not officially prohibited by any state or federal laws.
According to the woman, she had worked for a Florida-based insurance agency without problems for two years. Then suddenly things changed. One of her supervisors began to criticize her and subject her to verbal abuse. The bullying supposedly went on for three months before the woman just couldn't take it anymore and she handed in her resignation.
The bullying included:
- Cutting off support systems
- Threatening to fire the employee without cause
- Humiliating the employee in front of co-workers
In general, these are all pretty common complaints of bullying. In some cases, the bullying can get so bad that it actually affects a person's health. That was reportedly what happened to the Florida woman, who claimed she ended up in the emergency room with an anxiety attack that had been building up for weeks.
After resigning and moving on to find a new job, the same woman is now the coordinator of the Healthy Workplace Bill campaign, which aims to include bullying as a form of workplace harassment.
However, for the time being, even without a bill making bullying illegal, it is important for employees to remember they do have rights. This is why it's important to bring any workplace harassment concerns to an attorney with experience in employment law to see if there are any legal options available.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Workplace bullying is all too real, victims say," Oct. 30, 2012, Greg Dawson