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True Stories of Workplace Bullying: Case Examples to Help You Understand Your Rights

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Do you think you’re being bullied at work? If so, your workplace bully could be violating California and Federal law due to their harassing behaviors. While bullying itself is not unlawful, there are anti-bullying legislative measures being brought to the forefront all across the country, including the Healthy Workplace Bill. In addition to anti-bullying legislation, the Workplace Bullying Institute is also striving to eradicate bullying on the job by dedicating their efforts to anti-bullying education, research, and consulting for individuals, professionals, employers, and organizations.

Workplace bullying comes in many forms and can be unlawful if this type of harassment is based on an employee’s national origin, age, gender, disability, or other protected characteristics. Bullies also typically engage in these unlawful behaviors more than once rather than in isolated incidents.

workplace-bullying-real-case-examples.jpg

Do you think you’re being bullied at work? If so, your workplace bully could be violating California and Federal law due to their harassing behaviors. While bullying itself is not unlawful, there are anti-bullying legislative measures being brought to the forefront all across the country, including the Healthy Workplace Bill. In addition to anti-bullying legislation, the Workplace Bullying Institute is also striving to eradicate bullying on the job by dedicating their efforts to anti-bullying education, research, and consulting for individuals, professionals, employers, and organizations.

Workplace bullying comes in many forms and can be unlawful if this type of harassment is based on an employee’s national origin, age, gender, disability, or other protected characteristics. Bullies also typically engage in these unlawful behaviors more than once rather than in isolated incidents.

In the spirit of the Workplace Bullying Institute’s Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, we’ve decided to offer some insight into real workplace bullying, retaliation and discrimination cases from around the country that can help you understand your own rights when it comes to employment harassment.

Real Workplace Bullying Case Examples

Microsoft to Pay $2 Million in Workplace Bullying Case

AUSTIN, TX – After seven years, Michael Mercieca finally saw the courts order Microsoft to pay for workplace bullying that almost led him to the breaking point.

The Texas employment labor law case judge, Tim Sulak, found Microsoft guilty of “acting with malice and reckless indifference” in an organized program of office retaliation against Mercieca.

“They (Microsoft Corporation) remain guilty today, tomorrow and in perpetuity over egregious acts against me and racist comments by their executive that led to the retaliation and vendetta resulting in my firing,” said Mercieca.

Previously, a jury, by unanimous agreement, found that Microsoft knowingly created a hostile work environment that led to Mercieca’s constructive dismissal. Mercieca was a highly regarded member of the tech giant’s sales department and had an unblemished record, but found himself trapped in a workplace conspiracy where his supervisors and coworkers undermined his work, falsely accused him of sexual harassment, and expense account fraud, marginalized him, and blocked his promotions. These harassing behaviors began when Mercieca ended a relationship with a woman who then went on to become his boss. Human relations at Microsoft did nothing to stop the bullying, either.

“Rather than do the right thing, the management team went after Michael by getting a female employee to file a sexual harassment complaint and a complaint of retaliation against him,” says Paul T. Morin. “Microsoft could have taken Mercieca’s charges seriously and disciplined the senior manager but instead it engaged in the worst kind of corporate bullying.”

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King Soopers to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

DENVER, CO – Dillon Companies, Inc., owners of the King Soopers supermarket chain in Colorado will pay $80,000 for bullying a learning-disabled employee who worked at its Lakewood, Colorado store.

According to the EEOC’s disability discrimination lawsuit, two store supervisors repeatedly subjected Justin Stringer, an employee who worked at King Soopers for a decade,
to repeated bullying and taunting in the workplace because of his learning disability. The EEOC alleged that the bullying resulted in Stringer’s termination.

“Employees with disabilities must be treated with the same dignity and respect as all other members of the work force,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The EEOC will continue to enforce the ADA to protect the rights of disabled employees and applicants.”

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DHL Global Forwarding Pays $201,000 to Settle EEOC National Origin Discrimination Suit

DALLAS, TX – Air Express International, USA, Inc. and Danzas Corporation, doing business as DHL Global Forwarding, will pay $201,000 to nine employees and provide other significant relief to settle a national origin hostile environment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC charged DHL Global with subjecting a class of Hispanic employees to bullying, discrimination, and harassment due to their national origin. According to the suit, Hispanic employees at DHL’s Dallas warehouse were bullied at work by being subjected to taunts and derogatory names such as “wetback,” “beaner,” “stupid Mexican” and “Puerto Rican b-h”. The Hispanic workers, who included persons of Mexican, Salvadoran and Puerto Rican heritage, were often ridiculed by DHL personnel with demeaning slurs which included referring to the Salvadoran worker as a “salvatrucha,” a term referring to a gangster. Other workers were identified with other derogatory stereotypes.

Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, stated, “Bullying Hispanic workers for speaking a language other than English is a distinct form of discrimination, which, when coupled with ethnic slurs, is clearly motivated by prejudice and national origin animus. Sometimes job discrimination isn’t just about hiring, firing or promotion; it’s about an employer promoting disharmony and disrespect through an unhealthy work environment.”

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Wal-Mart to Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Age and Disability Discrimination Suit

DALLAS, TX – Wal-Mart Stores of Texas, L.L.C. (Wal-Mart) has agreed to pay $150,000 and provide other significant relief to settle an age and disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged in its suit that Wal-Mart discriminated against the manager of the Keller, Texas Walmart store by subjecting him to bullying, harassment, discriminatory treatment, and discharge because of his age.

According to the EEOC, David Moorman was ridiculed with frequent bullying and taunts at work from his direct supervisor, including being called “old man” and “old food guy.” The EEOC also alleged that Wal-Mart fired Moorman because of his age.

“Mr. Moorman was subjected to taunts and bullying from his supervisor that made his working conditions intolerable,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark. “The EEOC remains committed to prosecuting the rights of workers through litigation in federal court.”

Under the terms of the two-year consent decree settling the case, Wal-Mart will pay $150,000 in relief to Moorman under the terms of the two-year consent decree. Wal-Mart also agreed to provide training for employees on the ADA and the ADEA, which will include an instruction on the kind of conduct that could constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment.

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Everyone deserves to work in a safe, supportive environment and workplace bullies should be dealt with accordingly. If you are being bullied at work, contact our expert California employment lawyers today for your free consultation.

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