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Got a "mean" boss? See 'em in court



We've reported before (here and here) on the campaign by activists to establish a cause of action arising from "workplace bullying". Efforts to get the courts to create such a right have not fared well, but the National Law Journal reports growing interest around the state legislatures:

Connecticut, for example, wants to outlaw "threatening, intimidating or humiliating" conduct by a boss or co-worker and would ban repeated insults and epithets. The proposal doesn't specify a penalty, but would only give workers the grounds to sue.

New York's anti-bullying legislation targets malicious conduct by supervisors that hurts employees either physically or psychologically. Mental health harm could include humiliation, stress, loss of sleep, severe anxiety and depression. The bill also would punish retaliation of the complainant or anyone who helps the complainant.

As management lawyers warn, enactments of this sort could result in a large new volume of litigation; the ample scope for differences of opinion about what constitutes hurtful sarcasm or a humiliating memo style could turn the courts into ongoing "superpersonnel departments" dispensing financial balm for injured feelings in the workplace.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.