Q:

What are some laws regarding bullying at work?

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Quick Answer

As of June 2015, there are no federal or state laws that specifically address workplace bullying. Bullying that includes physical violence, threats of physical violence or sexual harassment is addressed under other laws specific to those actions, however.

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What are some laws regarding bullying at work?
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Full Answer

Complaints of bullying in the workplace are usually handled according to individual company policy. Employees may also bring a civil lawsuit if they feel the company did not handle the situation correctly. However, there are no specific laws to address things like verbal bullying and personal insults.

Other laws may come into play if physical violence, threats of physical violence or sexual harassment comes into play during the bullying. Minority groups may also have protection under anti-discrimination laws, but this depends on the source and the nature of the bullying.

Exactly what constitutes bullying is not currently defined by any law, and it is up to individual organizations to form a definition in their company policy if they choose to. Many companies do not have any formal policy on incidents of bullying that fall outside of established laws. A study by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that the most commonly reported incidents of bullying involved false accusations of errors, nonverbal intimidation, repeated negation of thoughts or ideas in meetings, and "the silent treatment."

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