We've heard a number of stories concerning bullying on the schoolyard. It appears that such behavior is occurring in the workplace as well where offensive work conditions may exist.
An Indiana hospital worker was actually attacked by his supervisor, an open-heart surgeon, while the two were in the operating room. The surgeon apparently made some threat that the worker was finished. What occurred instead was that the worker won a $325,000 verdict and was being called a victory for victims of "workplace bullying" in the courtrooms.
Such stories are occurring throughout the country, but the extent of such workplace bullying is receiving relatively little attention. Supervisors may require unreasonable and arbitrary work or hourly conditions, make constant threats about letting people go, lose their temper in front of the workers and sometimes engage in violent behavior - though many states do have statutes adopting zero tolerance for violence at the workplace.
Often this goes on while workers have nowhere to go to have their grievances addressed. Workers dread going to the office and view it as a place to be feared. If fired from their job, the supervisors will often place on the employee's record that they were fired with reason.
Since the Indiana verdict came in, there have been other verdicts like that as well. However, since the area of workplace bullying is relatively new, it would be best to locate an attorney experienced in employment law before actually pursuing such a claim. Such attorneys can provide a number of options for such workers to pursue that may help them deal with an otherwise intolerable situation.
Source: City Pages, "Bad bosses beware," by Jessica Lussenhop, May 16, 2012