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Bullying and harassment may go hand-in-hand

Some people are bullies. That's true when you're in grade school, college or the workplace. These types of individuals do not just disappear because you hit a certain age. We often think of bullying as something that happens to young people, but you could have decades of career experience and be in your 50s when you encounter a workplace bully who tries to push you around to get your way or just to make themselves look better.

In some cases, bullying can turn into illegal harassment. It depends on the reason for the bullying and the form that it takes. Remember, it is illegal for people to harass you based on your:

  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Pay
  • Skin color
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy
  • Gender/sex
  • Sexual orientation

Beyond that, if you file certain types of complaints with government agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), they can't discriminate you or harass you based on that filing. For instance, if your boss makes sexual advances toward you, you report them, and then they start docking your pay, that could be illegal, as well.

Bullies often look for things that make people stand out from the crowd, and then they try to use those things to belittle people or put them down. When they pick one of these protected classes, though, it's more than simple bullying. Now it is discrimination or harassment, and it violates your rights as a worker in the U.S.

If this happens to you, learn how you can take legal action against this workplace bully.

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