Hostile Work Environment vs Workplace Bullying

November 15, 2021

Distinguish between a hostile work environment and workplace bullying in Florida. Read more from the experts at FGBO Law.

Recognizing the difference between workplace bullying and a hostile work environment helps individuals understand their rights when a toxic work culture is a reality in their life. An estimated 48.6 million Americans are bullied at work, with 30 percent of the workforce being directly bullied and an additional 19 percent witnessing the wrongdoing, according to the 2021 Workplace Bullying Institute’s U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey. Even in a remote, virtual work environment, bullying occurs 50 percent of the time in meetings and 9 percent over email, noted the WBI survey. When abusive conduct goes from a one-off occurrence to pervasive, regular incidents of workplace discrimination and you are a protected class, legal action can be taken to protect yourself.

Victims of workplace abuse should consult their employee handbook and refer to the guidelines for reporting workplace bullying in Florida as well as discrimination. Every employee is due to a workplace environment that is safe and healthy. Actions that include intimidation, isolation, minimizing, gossip, lies, fear, insults, putdowns, unnecessary criticisms, and more are hallmarks of the workplace bully, whether you work in a setting together or virtually as a remote workforce. Documenting the date, time, and all the details of the incident will help when going to HR or other relevant departments to report the misconduct.

However, only when you are a member of a protected class can your workplace harassment concern rise to the level of a discrimination lawsuit. This includes claims of harassment based on age, gender, sex, race, color, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, religion, disability, or HIV status. Workplace bullying victims are often from these protected classes and when any reasonable employee would view the actions as pervasive, severe, and disruptive of being productive at work, the employer should be held liable for not doing something about the toxic workplace practices. 

Speaking to a highly experienced employment lawyer will help you navigate the steps ahead, as you must show how you went through the proper internal channels to report workplace bullying and discrimination and the company did not adequately address it. Then you can get legal guidance on reporting through the appropriate federal or state commissions before proceeding with workplace harassment or discrimination lawsuit. With the complexities of these cases, deadlines for filing, and protecting your rights, victims of workplace discrimination need a strong trusted legal ally by their side.   

Contact Us If You Are a Victim of Workplace Bullying And Discrimination In Florida

The employment lawyers at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens are dedicated to protecting Florida’s workers from hostile treatment in the workplace. They are known for providing high-quality legal services, being board certified in labor employment law, and exclusively representing workers against their employers. If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, please contact our office for a free consultation or call us at (727) 254-5255.

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