I have been bullied at work – do I have a case?

Does having a tough boss at work means one is being bullied and harassed or is it just matter of perception.  Management may be demanding, unsympathetic or even insensitive, but that alone does not afford employees the right to launch a lawsuit or render the company liable for inflicting mental distress.

In his latest article in the Globe and Mail Is your boss just tough, or a bully?, Toronto Employment Lawyer, Daniel Lublin writes about few cases of bullying and its misconception.

Employees sometimes believe that their employers wanted them gone; and therefore refused to follow manager’s directives which will cause them to be placed on probation.  They might suffer a serious mental breakdown and leave work never to return.  Thinking that they are being bullied by their boss and employer they sue the company, its management and the boss for damages claiming that they deliberately or negligently inflicted mental suffering on them.

The harsh lesion learned is that workplace law does not provide compensation for every stress suffered by employer or the management.

Sometimes employees might be successful in their legal claims against their bosses who crossed the line by expressing their performance expectations forcefully and sometimes with outburst of anger while calling employees “names”.  Judge might find that they were bullied.

Bulling can happen on both sides.  In some cases managers will be the one who are bullied by aggressive and offensive co-worker.  In any case employer has an obligation to provide harassment-free workplace and treat its employees with civility, decency, respect and dignity.  Human rights tribunals also define and prohibit harassment, except that it must be based on specific personal characteristics, such as gender, age, race, color or religious beliefs.

If you have been bullied at work the best is to consult with a lawyer who will determine what your rights and options would be.