Workplace bullying and discrimination
Bullying in the U.S. workplace is not illegal. However, if you file discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), EEO laws prohibit punishing job applicants or employees for filing charges with the EEOC. The same laws apply for filing discrimination charges with a state-level agency that handles discrimination matters. If you report illegal or fraudulent activities to a federal agency, you may also have protection laws that cover you if you are retaliated against for filing charges against your workplace.
The EEOC enforces laws against discrimination on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, equal pay/compensation, disability, genetic information, national origin, harassment, pregnancy, religion, race/color, retaliation, sex, and sexual harassment. You can learn more about discrimination and retaliation for filing EEO allegation at www.EEOC.gov.
Retaliation for filing discrimination charges
It is illegal to be retaliated against for filing discrimination charges against your workplace or against a company/agency you applied to for employment. According to the EEOC, retaliation is the most alleged basis of discrimination in the government sector. Here are some examples of retaliation in the workplace:
- Receiving a “false” poor performance evaluation
- Being mocked at or embarrassed in front of others in the workplace
- False charges against you that lead to “unfair” termination from you job
- You may receive a higher workload than your peers
- Intentional false counseling/disciplinary actions against you that are unfair
- Transfer to a less desirable work position
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Threats against you
Resources for you
If you are experiencing bullying or discrimination in the workforce, it is important to get professional help and get support from someone you trust. Reach out to a Life Coach, mentor, clergy member or spiritual leader for emotional and spiritual support. Find a mental health professional or counselor you can talk to about your feelings and emotions. Your medical doctor, mental health professional or medical staff can support you and document the emotional or physical abuse you are experiencing in the workplace. Medical records that reflect physical or mental harm may come in handy later if you seek a hearing with the EEOC or equivalent agency.
Know your rights and become empowered. You can learn more about standing up to workplace bullying and discrimination at Workplace Bullying Support Blog and request a complimentary 20 min consultation about your workplace issue at Work Place Bullying Contact.
Dawn Marie Westmoreland, Speaker, Author, Mentor & HR Consultant
Dawn has authored two books, is an international speaker, and a certified professional coach. She is a highly skilled Human Resource Manager consultant with 27 years of experience and distinguished with commended performance results. She provides a “How To” system to eradicate workplace bullying and discrimination to executive teams, global leaders, political teams, government leaders, attorneys, mental health professionals, and employees. She creates a harmonious values-based culture for a safe and respected work environment.