It seems that news outlets are reporting on cases of bullying more and more often. Of course, when these stories break, they typically involve a school-aged child suffering due to the malicious actions of his or her peers. However, bullying does not just affect kids and does not only happen in schools.
As an adult who performs well at your job, you may have experienced bullying in the workplace. Though the actions may make you uncomfortable -- and possibly even frightened --, you may think that you simply have to put up with the mistreatment from your co-workers. However, their actions may constitute harassment, and if your employer does not make efforts to put a stop to those actions, you may have reason to file a lawsuit.
"Workplace mobbing" is a term that refers to a group of people who collectively bully another worker, especially one who may have received a promotion or otherwise performs his or her job at a highly proficient level. Typically, the goal of this bullying is to get the high performer to leave the job.
Again, though bullying may seem like a more prominent issue these days, it is not a new problem. One report indicated that workplace mobbing has taken place as far back as the 1940s when factory line workers would bully a high-achieving co-worker out of fear that their bonus rates would be cut.
Is bullying harassment?
While bullying itself may not seem like an illegal behavior, workplace mobbing falls into the category of social harassment. Additionally, people of color, women and workers considered "different" often bear the brunt of this type of unfair treatment. Unfortunately, this harassment can become so prevalent that you may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mental distress. You may even consider leaving your job just to escape the toxic environment your co-workers' behavior creates.
When faced with harassment in the workplace, you should have the ability to file a report with a supervisor, manager or other individual in a position of power. If the harassment continues after making your claim, you may want to look into your legal options.
You do not have to simply sit back and allow others to mistreat you to a point where your work and your life suffer. Knowing you have options may allow you to better understand what steps you could take to effectively address the situation as well as to seek justice and restitution.