TSLF Employment Blog

Addressing Workplace Bullying: Legal Remedies for Virginia Employees

Workplace bullying is an unfortunate reality that can take a toll on employees’ well-being and job satisfaction. It can take various forms, such as verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation, and exclusion. Some behaviors cross the line into harassment, which may be subjected to legal recourse. You may be eligible to recover damages if a reasonable person would consider your work environment as intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

If you are experiencing a toxic work environment as a result of bullying tactics, speak with the employment lawyers at The Spiggle Law Firm for an assessment of your case. We will help determine your best legal options to seek justice for the psychological or physical harm you suffered in the workplace. However, non-sexual harassing behavior not based on a protected characteristic is legal under the law. If it is based on a protected characteristic, then you may have to file a lawsuit against the bully and the employer.

Bullying vs. Workplace Harassment 

While bullying tactics alone are not grounds for legal action, others cross the line from bullying into harassment in the workplace. Often, coworkers or management may use humiliation, threats, and intimidation to have power over the victim. In some cases, victims have their work sabotaged and are verbally abused over a period of time. While this is detrimental to a safe and secure work environment, no state or federal laws discuss workplace bullying. 

Bullying and workplace harassment may appear like identical transgressions, but they are handled differently under the law. If the behavior is non-sexual in nature or not based on a protected characteristic, it may be legal under the law. However, if it is based on a protected characteristic, you may be dealing with a toxic work environment. According to the EEOC, toxic behavior is “severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.”  

Some examples of protected characteristics include: 

Harassing behavior may include offensive jokes, slurs, physical assault, intimidation, and insults, as well as interfering with a victim’s work performance. 

What Legal Remedies Do Virginia Employees Have? 

If you are a victim of bullying that does not extend into harassment, you may only have the option to seek workers’ compensation. However, if you are bullied due to a protected characteristic, you may have legal options to seek damages in the form of a harassment lawsuit.  

Your first step should be to document any experience of bullying and harassment you are subject to. This may include gathering evidence of the following: 

  • Copies of correspondence between you and the bully
  • Eyewitness statements 
  • Image or video footage or behavior or injuries 
  • Copies of complaints to HR 

Filing a complaint to the Human Resources department may be necessary to stop the behavior. If the HR department does not address your complaint, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

You may also be qualified to file a lawsuit against the bully and relevant parties. While you are the victim, you have the burden of proof to prove these allegations are true. At The Spiggle Law Firm, we will conduct an extensive investigation into your claim and build a solid case on your behalf for the most favorable outcome. 

Speak With the Employment Lawyers at The Spiggle Law Firm 

If you are a victim of workplace bullying that results in a toxic work environment, speak with the employment lawyers at The Spiggle Law Firm to understand your best legal options to obtain justice. We handle all aspects of your claim, from proving the frequency of the bullying and harassment to the severity of the conduct. We treat you with compassion and care. 

For a free case review, call our office at (202) 449-8527 or fill out a contact form today.

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