Equal Opportunity Bullying in the Workplace?
The law does not protect workers from "equal opportunity" bullies.
Federal law and Texas state law protect individuals from workplace discrimination on the basis of certain characteristics. For example, an employer cannot treat a worker unfairly because the worker is of a particular gender, race, or religious affiliation. But the law does not protect workers from “equal opportunity” bullies.
For instance, an employee may believe that he is being mistreated at work because his immediate supervisor teases him and makes rude and obnoxious comments to him. However, rude comments alone may not be enough for a discrimination claim. If the comments are not directed at a protected characteristic of the employee (such as his race) and if the supervisor treats all employees—even those who do not share the same protected characteristic—in a similarly demeaning way, the employee cannot prevail on a discrimination claim.
While courts will not impose a civility law on employers, many employers elect to create simple personnel policies that require employees to treat each other with respect and courtesy. While such a policy may not stop all workplace abuse, it could provide a toehold for an employer to discipline a bully and it may help promote a general sense of civility in the workplace.
To speak with a Texas employment discrimination attorney or for assistance in drafting personnel policies, please contact the employment law lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at email@example.com.