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Hostile Work Environment: 10 Things Bully Bosses Do to Cause Lawsuits

Undercover Lawyer is a defense attorney and enjoys helping people learn how to use the law to fight back against a hostile workplace.

Review 10 things that bully bosses do that cause lawsuits—and what they should do instead to avoid getting sued.

Review 10 things that bully bosses do that cause lawsuits—and what they should do instead to avoid getting sued.

Since I’m a defense lawyer by day, I want to offer you the latest legal information from "behind the lines.” This article will cover a topic that top employment lawyers cover in seminars for their biggest corporate clients. You, as an employee, can now learn what the most expensive lawyers say to managers about what they should and should not do in order to avoid getting sued.

10 Ways That Bad Bosses Cause Lawsuits

Each of the following 10 points starts as a nugget of advice for a manager or a boss about what they should do to avoid being sued by employees. So for each point, not only can you see what your boss should be doing, but you can flip it around in your head and see how you can use the advice to your own advantage.

  1. Sloppy Documentation
  2. Not Following the Company's Own Policies and Procedures
  3. Inflated Employee Appraisals
  4. The “Higher Up” Managers Shrug-off Employee Complaints
  5. Managers Who Change Their Story
  6. “Papering” an Employee's File
  7. Being Rude and Mean-Spirited
  8. Careless Statements to EEOC Investigators
  9. Firing Employees Too Fast
  10. Lack of Legal Knowledge
Always speak and write as though your comments will be held up before a jury someday.

Always speak and write as though your comments will be held up before a jury someday.

1. Sloppy Documentation

Most discrimination cases are not won with some kind of smoking gun evidence that proves the entire case. A single E-mail or an audio recording of manager yelling and swearing at an employee rarely carry the day for employees who file suit against their boss. Usually, discrimination cases are proven with circumstantial evidence. Although you may have heard someone on television dismissively say “that’s circumstantial evidence,” circumstantial evidence is still evidence. And it can be very powerful evidence. You can use it in court and you can win a case using only circumstantial evidence.

There's an old lawyers' example: Suppose that you are walking through the woods and find a turtle on top of a tall stump. You don't have any direct evidence that somebody put the turtle on the stump, but you have pretty persuasive circumstantial evidence for it. All of this is to emphasize the importance of documenting the little things as they happen, because all the little things can be powerful circumstantial evidence of something much larger—like a company-wide decision to get rid of older employees.

One very successful employer-side attorney warned a group of managers that when employees sue employers, they often use documents, particularly E-mail, to show the jury that the manager was acting toward the employee with discriminatory intent. So, the attorney advised, “Always speak and write as if your comments will be held up to a jury some day.” This is something that I tell employers and managers all the time as part of my “day job” as employer-side attorney. “If you’re going to write something to an employee, imagine that it’s blown up to poster size, and then set on an easel in front of a jury.

So likewise, as an employee trying to protect yourself from a bully boss, you should also imagine what your written words will look like to a jury when when you are responding to your boss's E-mails. Make sure you use a calm, professional sounding tone. Imagine a jury reading your words and then deciding who is the good guy in this situation: Is it you, or, is it the manager? Way too often people spout off and lose their temper in E-mails. It will only come back and bite them in the courtroom.

2. Not Following the Company's Own Policies and Procedures

Rules aren’t used only to hold you, the employee, accountable. You can often spin the company's own rules around and use them to hold your manager accountable. Also, employee manuals frequently promise more than what the law requires. As a result, you can hold your manager to the personnel policies your company has issued, even if your manager isn't aware of those polices. Courts expect managers to know what your organization’s policies and procedures are. If a manager tells you that the policy is “A” and it's actually “B”, then it will look like your manager is making up rules in order to get you in trouble.

Let's say, for instance, that your manager says you must call in by 7:00 am if you’re going to be late for work. But the policy actually states that employees must call in 30 minutes before their shift starts. If your shift starts at 8:00 am, then a jury is going to view your manager as being purposefully deceitful, not just forgetful. It can make your manager look like he’s out to get you, which he or she probably was. Your manager should review a policy, double check that he or she has it right, and check with HR before taking disciplinary action against you.

If you know, then, that your manager has taken disciplinary action against you that contradicts company policy, then make sure that you carefully document what happened and get a copy of the rule your manager did not follow. You will have a nice piece of evidence.

3. Inflated Employee Appraisals

This happens all the time. A manager spends years avoiding a confrontation with an employee that the manager believes is under-performing. Rather than go through the uncomfortable situation of giving a long-term co-worker a bad appraisal, the manager just gives the employee 4s on a one to five scale—with five being excellent.

The manager might give a few 5s, and even a few 3s, but that is as critical as the manager will be. Now let's say your manager has given you some 3s. On a 1 to 5 scale, 3s are “satisfactory.” When you’re in front of a jury, what does satisfactory mean? It means satisfactory. It means average or meets minimum acceptable levels. It doesn’t mean “needs improvement or will be fired.” On a 1 to 5 scale getting a 3 overall means you’re doing a good enough job.

If your manager consistently gave you a 3, or an appraisal of satisfactory, and then claimed that you were terminated for poor performance or that you were in trouble for poor performance, then your manager was contradicting himself or herself. This will undermine your manager’s credibility. In front of a jury in court your own attorney can say, “Look, here are years and years of positive appraisals that this manager gave my client” [you]. “And sitting here today is the same manager saying that my client has a history of poor performance.” Your attorney probably won't bother drawing the conclusion for the jury, but allow them to draw if for themselves: the manager is now lying to try to justify getting rid of the employee.

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Read More From Toughnickel

If your personnel file is less than all “Excellent” status, don't worry. But do work hard to keep your overall review score at least at a level of 3 or Satisfactory, Average, or whatever is the middle of the road score at your organization. In truth, this should be fairly easy to do with most (but not all) managers. Do it, and you will have another powerful piece of evidence that the “real reason” you are being disciplined or threatened with termination is not your job performance.

4. The “Higher Up” Managers Shrug-off Employee Complaints

If there’s anything that I hear over and over again it’s that an employee complained about a bully boss to a higher level manager, and the higher level manager just shrugs it off, taking no action whatsoever. Defense-side lawyers are trying hard to train managers not to do this, but they do it anyway.

So what does this mean for you as an employee? You should complain to your manager, your HR person, or your boss’ boss. However, expect them not to do much, if anything, about your problem. You should carefully document that you did make these complaints. Send the boss's boss an E-mail confirming that you had a conversation with them. Briefly summarize the key points and blind copy yourself to a personal E-mail address outside the company before you hit send.

This way you will have a copy of the E-mail that shows it was sent to your manager's boss with the date and the time. It will then be the company's burden to show (in court or in front of the EEOC) that it responded to you. Will they have? Probably not. Often a boss responds with comments like “I’m not a babysitter” or “boys will be boys” or “I want everyone here to act like adults.” They think that such a cursory response is enough, but it’s not. Their lack of responsiveness to good faith employee concerns is a big cause of employee lawsuits, and a big reason why employees win those suits later on down the road.

5. Managers Who Change Their Story

Bully bosses change their story. In an organization, sometimes the story of why an employee was terminated changes multiple times. When this happens, the company's credibility is shot.

At first your boss will claim that you are having performance problems and that you face discipline or even termination because of these supposed problems. When, however, you address those performance problems, your boss will change course, and say, “oh well, there are the attendance problems you have been having lately.” Then you address those supposed problems. Then your boss (now probably with H.R. Involved) will say, “Well, we’re laying you off because your position is being eliminated.” Does it look like “layoff” is the real reason you've lost your job, after management proffered all these different reasons, and keeps changing its justifications?

No, it looks like the real reason was some discriminatory motivation and your boss was determined to get rid of you no matter how thoroughly you shot down each performance issue your boss raised. That’s why your bully boss changed his or her story—because he or she was determined to get rid of you no matter what.

So although this can be horribly frustrating to you when it’s going on, take heart in knowing that courts frown upon companies that flip-flop on why an employee was let go. Defense lawyers and companies both know that story-swapping by bullying bosses just causes the company to lose lawsuits. That's why defense lawyers are out in the business world training bosses not to change their story around once they start disciplining an employee with an eye on termination.

If this happens to you, there's no denying that the short term battles with your boss will be agonizing and frustrating. You'll probably feel like you are caught in a cycle where you lose no matter what you do. But you will know that the bully boss is unintentionally giving you the upper hand in the long term. You are the one who is going to win the war.

Did your bully boss suddenly fill your file with mountains of paper.

Did your bully boss suddenly fill your file with mountains of paper.

6. “Papering” an Employee's File

The sixth mistake managers make that loses lawsuits is papering an employee’s file. Lots of managers hear the mantra “document, document, document, document everything.” I tell that to supervisors when I provide training about discipline done the right way. And when I leave my day job and advise employees as “the Undercover Lawyer” I also tell the employees to document everything. But some managers seem to be under the impression that if they generate 100 pages of disciplinary actions against an employee then there is little chance the manager will get sued, and zero chance the manager will get sued and lose.

Such a manager could not be more wrong.

You see, despite the constant mantra of “document everything,” it is possible for a manager to over document, especially if you have years of positive performance appraisals in your file. What frequently happens is that an employee receives a steady stream of positive appraisals from one manager. Then that manager retires, is transferred or gets promoted. Then a new manager comes in and is red hot to show the world what a great manager he or she is. Suddenly the new boss is putting a steady stream of documents into your file about every little thing you do the slightest bit differently than what the new boss wants (and the new boss can't explain what he or she wants when you ask). And then, bam, the employee is fired.

A look back on the employee's documented history with the company shows a long paper trail of positive evaluations and no performance problems, followed by an intense burst of negative documentation, and then a sudden termination. This pattern does not look good for the employer or the new manager.

Courts and juries see right through this pattern. It's obvious that the manager can't manage at all, but is just some bully who is determined to get rid of you. This new manager/bully is really just building a case against you by over-documenting trumped-up infractions and sticking every possible negative piece of paper into your file. There are strategies for stopping these gung-ho bully bosses before you lose your job. For the purposes of this article, you should know that “papering your file” is not some foolproof plan a bully manager can use against you. In fact, it's not a smart move at all and will only help you, the employee, prove that the real problem was the new manager and not your (proven over the longer term) ability to do a good job.

7. Being Rude and Mean-Spirited

Yes, being rude and mean actually is a bad thing for bosses. I know it sure doesn't appear that way to many people, who feel like bully bosses get rewarded by company executives for ruining the careers of regular people. But consider this: The bully boss does not come across well in court.

An employer can have the best case in the world, but if on the witness stand a supervisor comes across as a rude, insensitive jerk, then the jury simply will not want to depart from the golden rule. The jury will not do unto you what they would not a jury to do unto them. In other words, the jury is not going to want to bring back a verdict where the jerk wins and the kind, every-day employee loses everything.

Juries will almost always side with the person with the most sympathetic story, who also comes across as being honest and not fake. And it doesn't matter all that much what the law says, and I say that as a lawyer.

I know this happens. The lawyers on both sides know juries act this way. That's why defense lawyers put on seminars for managers and tell the audience “Sure, it's not illegal to be a jerk, but it's not smart. Your employees can't sue you for being rude, but if you are rude it will help them win the discrimination and harassment claims that they can sue you for."

So look at this point and spin it around. An angry, vindictive employee will not get the sympathy of the jury, even if that worker was discriminated against. That’s why it’s so crucial that you always come across as the reasonable, level-headed employee who was trying all along to do the right thing. Even if your boss isn't taking this advice (especially if you boss isn't taking this advice), you should.

8. Careless Statements to EEOC Investigators

The number eight mistake is careless statements to EEOC investigators. Yes, managers get interviewed by EEOC investigators after you file a claim with the EEOC. Managers often will spout off, vent to the investigator, and say all kinds of careless things. You can bet that you can use those against your manager later in court. It’s a great strategy, a way to see what your boss's side of the story is, and get your boss to respond to you before they bring a defense attorney in for help. You will get an unfiltered version of your boss's story and you can use it against him or her later on in court, or immediately in the EEOC case.

This is a secret way to get raw facts out of your employer, and you should use it to your advantage. And again, this trick is so powerful that defense attorneys go around training their clients to be really careful, to not respond to the EEOC on their own, and to always get company's attorneys involved early. If you boss is cocky enough to believe that he or she is always in the right, then your boss may be just the type to make all kinds of statements to an EEOC investigator that having nothing to do with your performance and make it look like you were terminated or retaliated against for nebulous, suspect reasons like “not a team player,” “attitude,” or “not being a good fit for our culture.”

If you were fired with little or no warning, your boss screwed up.

If you were fired with little or no warning, your boss screwed up.

9. Firing Employees Too Fast

This is one mistake that managers often don't realize they are making, even if all the employees can see that it's a mistake as plain as the sun in the summer sky. The boss doesn't try to improve the employee’s performance (in other words, doesn't “manage”) and it makes the boss appear insensitive and potentially discriminatory. Employers who take a long time to try to improve a negative situation with an employee, and who can show gradually increasing discipline over that time period are the ones who will look better in court. Juries like it when it looks like the employer went well beyond the minimum legal requirements and tried everything possible to “save” the employer-employee relationship, but despite the boss's training and coaching the employee just refused to do the work. THAT is the protocol which good defense lawyer train managers to follow. But again, the reason “firing employees too fast” is on this list is because it is one of the things bosses most frequently get wrong.

While “at-will” employment is still the rule (“at-will” meaning it’s not illegal to terminate at any time), firing employees too fast does make employers look bad. So if you’re someone who was fired right away when a new boss came into your department, or you were fired with no real warning, then that will be one strike against the company. You should explore other areas where you might be able to build on that foundation and develop a good case that you termination was not, in fact, legal even under the “at-will” employment rule.

Over and over managers, especially the bullying type of bosses who are not close to HR, think they know the law. But actually they don’t. For instance, the ADA changed dramatically as of January 1, 2009. The COBRA laws also changed dramatically. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another very powerful tool that bosses and even H.R. people don't completely understand.

So if you take the time to learn your workplace rights and master the laws that your boss doesn't understand, then you will be the one who is doing what defense attorneys say the managers should do. It's you, and not your boss, that will be way ahead in the game.

What happens when a bullying boss doesn't know the law? In that situation your attorney will be able to argue to the jury that the company should know the law. The company (meaning your boss) will be held to a high standard, which is why the company's own lawyers are saying “If you don't want to lose in court, you need to learn the law.” Employers should constantly keep up on what the new laws are and how to apply them. This is not unfair, it’s just part of being an employer in America.

If your company or your boss doesn't bother to learn the law and just acts like “I'm the boss and what I say, goes” then the negative effects of making legal mistakes will fall on them, not you. So keep up on the law. Stay a couple of steps ahead of your bullying boss. Hopefully I’ll be able to help you do that in an engaging, straightforward and even sometimes entertaining way that is easy to understand.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Dotti Goss on August 31, 2020:

Need advice, need help now...i am located in central Louisiana. Hurricane Laura hit us Thursday morning, around 3am I lost electricity. My manage texted everyone we would close the shop down, will let everyone know when to come back. There was a group message Friday, no electricity at the shop, will let everybody know. Some of my fellow worker were texting (bc they live in different city's, ) is any stores open? They needed supplies. I texted back 2 stores i knew of, and gave them google maps of where to find them, and my phone died. Here it is Monday, i have not had a phone, no clean close, sweating, trying to take care of my 2 year old daughter and us get through this. I had no way to get an update or call anyone. I just got electricity at 7:30 tonight! The first person i call is my manager. I was so excited, i had been worried about work, let him know i am going to wash clothes and will be there tomorrow....he better....that was it, i have had enough, after all we have all been going through this past week...this is not the first time of him talking to me like that, but this is the last straw!!! That is not what i needed to hear ! Email me for the rest of my side of me being so upset right now. I dont want to go to work tomorrow to go into a disrespectful place!!!!

GEM on July 25, 2020:

I was bullied for 3 years at work. At first I had no idea. I eventually got a lawyer and spoke with the EEOC. In the end, I did not get anywhere. The EEOC disagreed. I was fired and applied for unemployment (at company 23 years). I was taken to Unemployment Court. Almost lost because my mind went blank, when asked former jobs. I finally started remembering and got unemployment. Would not get unemployment if not enough jobs in my field (my field was tapering). I was told I could never take the business to court. Bullying was/is not against the law. I lived 3 years of nightmares, became mentally ill, could not work anymore, and now on disability. So sad I allowed this to happen, as did others. There were over 100 others at work that were bullied. This was done so they would quit and new employees were hired to save money.

I thought a civil suit could be done?

Liliane on July 22, 2020:

This is a powerful article that all employees must read. How much has changed since the global health crisis started?

Anonymous employee on May 19, 2020:

My boss has threatened to demote and send me to another store on 3 separate occasions, all within this last year. She even tricked me just yesterday, when I first clocked in, into going into her office where her boss was waiting for me, yes he also threatened to demote me. All these threats over me asking why I have to work late shifts all the time and agreeing to come in on a day off to help out until 11 at night, but not agreeing to stay until 2 in the morning(again,on my day off) when she decided to change what time she needed me. I am looking to leave this place but before that, I want her to know she can not threaten employees without consequences. What can/should I do?

JET76 on December 28, 2019:

Years ago, when my wife was forced to sue her employer for a hostile work environment, it was the organization's own documentation that helped her win the case. There was an email stating that they had to demote her for filing a complaint with a proper authority. Their story continually changed as to why they were taking adverse action and they consistently violated their own company policy. Their own paperwork contradicted their narrative and that came out in the depositions. Several of their key witnesses came clean in depositions and said that they were told to say what they said initially.

Unfortunately, it took three years and untold emotional turmoil to resolve this.

Charles Drum on November 18, 2019:

Arms Length - First of all I am sorry you had to endure such hostility. I would speak up and tell him to stop discriminating against you. This is an HR issue. Sounds like he needs to be fired. This is not your fault and is highly unprofessional on his part. (obviously, he hates his life and the only way he feels worthy is to lash out at others) sad really. What a pathetic specimen of a human being he is. Assert yourself with no fear.

Arms Length on October 22, 2019:

On 4 separate occasions my boss has belittled me by screaming at me in front of coworkers and a Temporary worker. The last time it happened he was actually shaking his finger about 2 inches from my face as he was gritting his teeth with the most fierce look on his face as if he hated me, and as I tried to move he accused me of wanting to get an audience. I went to HR and they said that they could set up a private meeting for him and I alone to talk about it, I refused. I am not about to get retaliated against. I was afraid if they went to him he would retaliate, I told them if it happened again I would file a formal report with the company. For me this angry man scared me, and it brought me back to the days of being abused by a spouse. It caused me to be afraid and sick for weeks. I was on the verge of quitting my job if it wasn't for going to another shift where seeing him meant only a short while between shifts. I stayed because I need to pay my bills. The other day I was speaking to a new coworker who had gotten moved to another company location, still under this manager after he reported to HR that this manager screamed at him. This is appearing to be a pattern and it seems as though this manager is bullying certain employees. And, then I have actually heard him talk poorly about this man he screamed at to employees who are not on the management team. I would really like some advise.

Tonya on July 14, 2019:

Is my boss allowed to talk bout a sexual harassment case I filed

Christian on June 28, 2019:

My old work terminate

carolyn cowan on June 25, 2019:

who do you recommend for me

Chris Kingsly on May 26, 2019:

Then you have managers who are passive aggressive, who have the approach that they want to work with you all while finding a way to hurt and punish you.

cynthia on May 20, 2019:

i was harraseeed discriminated against and when i wrote grievance she had another manger supposbly write a bunch of write ups on me the next day and i got fired i keep calling all this numbers but i shouldve just took it and not said anything now i dont have a job and no one did anything

Frank on April 04, 2019:

Fact is most managers are idiots. Their managers are also usually idiots or just using them for their own agenda. It takes a special kind of moron to act as a middleman and berate your employees.

At the end of the day even at the largest companies HR is at best sloppy and at worst completely negligent. It’s so easy to sue these clowns because of their behavior.

Elfqueen123 on March 15, 2019:

Great info. What are the laws regarding a store manager on salary ?

Example only showing up 4 hours.

At a time and a few times a week?

Also what is the law regarding a boss who is asking supervisors or other associates to inform him of anyone who is complaining about his work ethics or handling of issues ect?He basically wants to know who is not happy with his preformance....

rkoza9596 on December 26, 2018:

I have definitely noticed as of late especially, that my manager has been doing some of the things in this article. I recently found out that she had let a former employee know of an incident that had occurred between she and I, at work. I am not sure if this is legal but it definitely raised a red flag for me.

agnes on November 05, 2018:

i had a abusive caller who cursed at me with the F word & i advised him that i will not tolerate the abuse & bid him good night & released the call. bully boss said i HUng up. I forewarned the customer & release the call

Amelia 15 on November 01, 2018:

I recently had a very negative experience with my boss in which they told me that my difficulty with memory and disability with math is no excuse for the mistakes I have been making at work. Everyday it seems that I am being told that I did something wrong. This individual has been overheard telling employees some things about other employees. i am afraid to say anything about this to my manager's boss, simply because I have gone to that person before with issues regarding this same person, only for nothing to be done. Any advice could be helpful.

Ty Black on November 01, 2018:

My supervisor straight up called me the office hoe in front of my manager today who froze. She thought she was being funny...Meanwhile the real funny part is I haven't even had the supposed pleasure of being a real hoe in real real life & this woman has dubbed me the office hoe!!! She didn't even try to correct herself later on when it was just us working the late shift together. That means she meant that shit!!! I loved my job this shit sucks. Damn!!! I can't help it I'm voluptuous most of the women in my family are!!!! :_(

Noel on November 01, 2018:

My boss doens’t believe what I tell them. Accuses me of not doing my job but also tells me that I’m the best that’s been at that position since they were there. My boss bad mouths everyone to whoever will listen, including her own boss and the company CFO. They like to throw the word terminate or fire around a lot, I guess as a show of power. I’ve had this person laugh in my face when I’ve told them that my daughter’s school went on lock down for various reasons. I don’t get their attention when I try to speak to them about work or decisions. I’m told to make the decisions in my office but I’m not the manager nor do I have the knowledge they do. How can I proceed knowing my boss clearly disrespects me and seems to be out to fire anyone that doesn’t sit right with them? I’m looking for work elsewhere but I’m concerned that I could lose my job before I find something else. The owner doens’t even acknowledge that I’m there most of the time. Any advise would be great. I’ve got emails and I’m sure I could get video of some of the interactions.

Help Please.

Stephanie Volz on October 08, 2018:

Today i go into work feeling like it is going to be a good day. It was and i got to see 2 familiar faces that i have not seen in a while. I work at a mobile photography company in customer service. I have been there for about a year and 7 months. I love me job and the people i work with. The owner recently flew him and his family to Costa Rica to open a photography studio with one of my co-workers who paid up front to see if this could potentially be a money making service. Well the owner comes back and decides to cut hours for anyone who isn't a manager and either fired the cleaning crew or told them we wouldn't need them for a few months. I feel like he is regretting his decision to do that. I take my break today, unpaid, mind you i don't get me 2 15 minute breaks that i should. I go into the lab and spend MAYBE 5 minutes in there and then go to our waiting section and sit on the chair on my phone. Then the owner comes out and yells at me for engaging in conversation with other employees that are paid hourly. 2 were salary based managers and the 1 person who was hourly was getting her jacket on and getting her purse to take her break. My specific manager and the HR was on my side. Anything i can do? Every encounter I've had with the owner has NEVER been positive.

Jack5435 on October 02, 2018:

So I was accused of writing something on a wall and HR was someone came forward and accused me of this I denied it all. I’ve been getting written up as well all in the same week for a no call no show and I did call in I have the call record. Next my vacation was denied same week. Next hr told me that no one came forward and that they had me hand writing analysis check to see if it was mine. It wasn’t. I feel very uncomfortable with this situation. I have nothing on my record that in the past that they can speculate that I do things like this in the past. Do I have a case. Any help I’ve been at this job for 5 years

Av on September 21, 2018:

I been at my job for a year now within the first 3 months i was threatened and picked on and getting names called about me this also happened around my 5th month to same guy i told management and hr they did nothing eventually i went to the guy and i knew he wanted to beat me up but before anything happened we talked it over and now we just dont talk to one another other employees called me names aswell and would just stand in my way so i couldn't get my work done when asked. Another employee he was my forklift trainer and coworker every time i needed help because the work load was alot because i always was asked to do everything and bring in and out everything but when i asked he just said he was busy and sat on his office all day they're was afew times where he called me stupid for doing something in the wrong way and was yelled at by him told management and hr about all this as well. Now every now and then 2 managers will talk down to me yell and just be disrespectful to me and just the other day 3 managers and the hr guy was talking because something happened were i reacted back injury and was going fill worker comp paperwork but was told they wouldn't cover me due to it was a old injury first and then out of nowhere one manager tells me that i cant have a coffee mug no more because i carry it with me since i dont have a desk or office but he said that its to Ridiculous that he see me with a mug what can i do

TRose on September 17, 2018:

Evidently there has been some mishap at work, I’m a Property Manager who started over a month ago, I was left to run the job by myself without guidance, however, something happened to the annual recertifications, and the CFO/HR Manager barged into my office and stated twice that she and I was going to have a POW WOW in the office tomorrow in front of another employee! I felt embarrassed, and humiliated, I took it as a threat and do not feel comfortable going back to work, what can be done?

Amber on August 28, 2018:

I was threatned at work by an employee in front of management twice, now i cant work missing funds until management figures out what to do. I think management may fire me instead of the person who made the threats towards me. What are my options

Omarosa on August 17, 2018:

Mariko K, you have to prove discrimination of some sort in order to support a retaliation claim. For example, prove that they singled you out repeatedly over a reasonable period of time about things that others were never singled out about... the fraternization could work out in your favor if your partner/coworker was even slightly your supervisor... not necessarily in title, but if you can prove that in some way, shape or form that he/she was given duties shared by superiors that could have given him/her the illusion of being your supervisor, that's probably good enough to support a lawsuit... Y'all need to step up your game (if you're in a one-party consent state only) & purchase a tape recorder...

Mariko K on July 19, 2018:

I was terminated and actively have an open investigation against my former company. I had an affair with my supervising physician for several months but became guilty and requested a sudden transfer which I stated was due to personality differences to my manager. She met with the M.D. and then the next day met with me. She stated he said I had an unwanted crush on him. I became panicked and told the manage the truth. She said she believed me but that this was serious and the M.D. could lose his job. I told her I just wanted a transfer and couldnt work with him not get him im trouble. So she said we should stick with the crush lie so he doesnt get in trouble and she transfered me to the next hallway over. About two weeks later I got a write up that would lead to my termination after following the same group x 12 years. Weather my performance decreased because I was in a hostile work environment or she targeted me for the purpose to end my employmeny the fact she concealed the information from the company and advised me to do the same is wrong. The state is investigating Gender Bias but Im having trouble identifying at what point the law was broke. I truly believe it was im just not knowledgable in the legal field. My termination was wrongful and have struggled since. Im lookong to retrain away from Medical because of this.

Markisha on July 12, 2018:

Ok,im a female roofer that works for a subcontractor crew,well my boss on the job always complaining and accusing me of not doing my job,when ive clearly told him im not the one wh is slacking,he pays me cash weekly,so i dont have anything on file, but i did get some videos of the others standing around watching me work and i told the boss yet they still didn't get discipline or lectured. He continued to harass me and even went as far as asking me why im talking so much. I feel he was a sexist and being a bully.this behavior with him continued for days,before i decided to quit due to the stress and unfairness. What can i do to get this brought to court,? Please help

Need help! on June 19, 2018:

Im in las vegas. Does anyone know of good attorney i can talk to? Its a few years of things going out of control n im at the end! I cant deal with it any longer. Multiple people have quit because of the stress and everything else involved. My issue i think is to long to post! But im lost! N feel i have no where to turn! Thanks!

GovermentBulliesInLowsyAlberta on June 18, 2018:

It's aggravating knowing how many people are bullied at work, myself included. Unfortunately with the #MeToo movement, while it brings more discussion forward, it also creates more and more instances of greedy types being paid to "make this go away" so that bad names are not published. There is NOTHING anyone can do when working for a vindictive boss that has you as their target...NOTHING. They will sabotage your name, your performance, your career, etc. and there is no stopping them. Trust your gut, if it's telling you something is wrong, then something is wrong. Additionally, get ready to go through an emotional roller coaster, especially if and when you work for another bully boss that reminds you of the previous bully boss. I read some comments below, and my heart goes out to all of you going through the unfortunate infested evilness that goes on in workplaces. Bully bosses are everywhere - the more insecure they are, the more they plot. I can only talk from my own experience.

Nadiazayas on June 06, 2018:

I was terminated after my manager talked about a new policy that was going to be active at a later date but he told me and only me to do that policy that day and when I refused and explained that I would have to prepare for it and that I would do it the date that the policy was supposed to be active do to a medical issue, he made fun of my medical issues and told me to clock out. The next day I received an email saying I was terminated. I’ve tried to call HR but they don’t answer my calls.

Please help I don’t know what to do ?

Nadia on June 06, 2018:

I was terminated after my manager said we were going to have have a new policy at a later date, but he asked me and only me to do this policy that day, when I refused and explained that it was due to medical Issue and that I would prepare for it and do it on the day that the policy is supposed to be active. instead he made fun of my condition and told me to clock out.

Please help I’ve tried to call HR but they don’t answer my calls. What do I do?

smooth on May 30, 2018:

can a new manager write you up for attendance that the previous manager didnt and give you a final warning

Me on May 24, 2018:

Can a supervisor talk negative about you to other co-workers?

Anthony mullins on May 22, 2018:

My supervisor and my human resource manager has for years harassed me and now it has escalated over the last year , for instance yesterday I got written up for something that everyone has done then I was cussed out by my human resource manager and he told me he was going to f-omg fire me, pls help it’s getting out of hand

Ok on May 17, 2018:

What about when your team doesn't have enough help to keep a folder s empty when manger s tell you were getting you help but never do

Toya on May 02, 2018:

I called off yesterday from work and my boss told a Manager He will give me less days on the New schedule cause I called off was my boss wrong for saying that what should I do

adriana on April 17, 2018:

i work at a assisted living .

everyday is usually very busy , sundays and monday im usually by my self adminastering meds and i take my break inside the office in case of emergencies. so yesterday i was taking my break and someone came looking for me and since they coukdnt find me my boss ask the concierge to look for me in the cameras to see where i was at. but i had let the concierge know i was taking my break. was this ok coming from my boos?

Marie on April 11, 2018:

I don't know where to turn to. My boss has made my life miserable physically taking a toll. I did not know why he hates me other than the fact that I did make a comment to someone when he first came to our department that I thought he was an ass. is not relented for the last 3 years even after having me talk to the superintendent within a half an hour of this comment., my union rep missed the grievance filing date and I do not know where to go or who to turn to. Please help me.... I'm 64 and would like to make it just for one more year.

Jules on April 06, 2018:

I am terrified of my supervisor. He pounds his fists on my desk and makes me go tell our staff things that he won't. Recently he came into my office and terrified me again but getting in my personal space and pounding his fists on my desk again, then followed me around and then when i asked for space he stalked my by watching my office as he paced on the opposite wall, i resigned 2 days later because I was terrified of him and what he would do to me. They did nothing and still works there.

Angel on March 07, 2018:

The company i work for now just open their branch here, and i get hired recently we are still on our probation period, and i notice that my manager in our department dont really like me, she see all my mistake, even If its not my mistake i get blamed for it, i got yelled from time to time in front of other people. I talk to one under her, to just tell her my concern to please not yell or made me feel like im not doing my job properly, other employee even from different department, always tell me i work hard and i was nice, and honest. I dont understand why she always picking on me. The day after i told my concern, my boss treated me worse. She see me on coridors ouside our department but she lòok up like she didnt see me when i was just infront of her. She was trying to blame me for something that it could caused by the machine not me. And i felt that i will get fired soon, because there are mistake from the cash register, with the amouny that even me, i cant figure out i made that mistake. I was the one who sign the paper before i leave, but there are other people who was on that register too. So the blame was on me again. That day i made that i made a huge shortage at the register is the day that she was so mad at me. I felt that something ia not right and there will be thia kind of event in the future. I already anticipated that that register shortage will happened soon. She cant get rid of me because i was neven been late, never absent and i try to work hard, i even dont take my break sometimes because i felt that they needed me on that time.

Glen C on February 25, 2018:

I feel I was terminated from work after an altercation with a Senior Superintendent texted me a message implying that my job was at stake. I wrote a email to the Human resources dept. stating that for the past year there was bullying and harassment at the work place from this senior superintendent and asked to be moved to another job site. In return, when they met with me, they immediately terminated my employment and said I wasn't a good fit. They did not want to hear anything about the Bullying or harassment from the Senior Superintendent at the job site. Is this against the law to constantly Swear, shout , Scream at employees to the point of humiliation? Please advice?

Nicky Holman on February 01, 2018:

I've told my employer at 10 am on Feb 1 2018 that I quit I'm in training to drive 18 wheeler now if I was to leave there load it's a case against me but I've been here all day at a truck stop and it 109 am and no one has came yet is it something I can do about tthis

Curious on January 26, 2018:

Curious, if have a person with a broken arm and doctors note said may come outside for pe or recess but no participation until further notice and administrators say that person can walk around socialize in a designated area without a parents note overriding the doctors note, and task being followed per administrators, but employee asked because of the changed policy now allowing sick or injured to be designated area to walk around and socialize, since it violated the doctors instruction and no parental notes saying the giving permission to go against doctors orders, employee asked to have a email or printout of copy of change in policy stating this for sick or injured kids can now socialize and walk in a designated place. Administrators said really loud, "No, you'll do as I say because I'm your boss or you can be fired!" Then employee states "I dont feel comfortable going against Doctors orders no participation for recess or pe and the parent hasnt wrote a note to override the doctors note. " Then, escalates, which the administor even misunderstood, the employee goes to head administrator advising that uncomfortability not following the doctors orders and employee needs a copy of policy change staying all kids sick or injured may walk around and socialized in a designated place to cya for recess. Administrator said if administration advises of this change you dont need paper just do it. So then, what? If this child gets more hurt for just walking around.

Big corporation issues on January 23, 2018:

My manager and HR did every one of those things not to do. I have a very detailed trail (emails and recordings) of the work sabotage, retaliation, bullying, harassment and hostility that happened to me over the last year up to my termination. How does a top performer with kudos and rave reviews get fired for performance just a month later for performance for the same thing I receive a positive review for? Because it's not illegal to treat people like this, I am having a hard time finding an attorney. Ugh, what to do next??? on January 08, 2018:

Very informative thank you

Lisa on January 03, 2018:

Thank you so much for writing this information down. I have a great case.

BohemePDX on December 21, 2017:

"Courts and juries see right through this pattern. It's obvious that the manager can't manage at all, but is just some bully who is determined to get rid of you. This new manager/bully is really just building a case against you by over-documenting trumped-up infractions and sticking every possible negative piece of paper into your file. There are strategies for stopping these gung-ho bully bosses before you lose your job."

What are the strategies for stopping these people before you lose your job?

Sylvia on December 21, 2017:

HR Chief and Employee had problems against the white man not liking blacks even though she was married to a white man and used this to achieve success. She caused an employee to commit suicide and got a way with this, use the church to claim she was religious, removed the VA Chaplain out of the Agency and the was never any replacement. She only removed other blacks to destroy them and never followed any ADR agreements. In 2014 she was found not to be doing her job and took a quick relocation to cover the wrong doing up and denied others a relocation and claim not to be doing the job. She allowed the employee to lie, call the individual racial names and the member was a union member the President did not assist in any way because he was busy on his wife's situation. HR alter information and lied every way possible. She also hide the Privacy sector ADR that founded the problem to be the employee in the chief and they used an innocent employee and slander the person reputation in the VA and the community.

Where is the Justice

Betty on December 15, 2017:

Over time, employers or managers get too confident and sloppy and are eventually caught in their poor management practices!

Isabelle Narayana on October 27, 2017:

Most employers with a lot of bully managers know the law and know exactly how to fire employees unfairly.

Tyler on October 11, 2017:

Last year I worked at a private for-profit post-secondary school. I found the work environment to be very toxic and I was often threatened, talked down to or told I was unprofessional for occasionally being unable to carry out my duties (while the people making these comments were themselves unprofessional for being rude, and at times failed to give me proper training, preparation and support). Eventually a false complaint was made against me, and a member of HR moved me to my bosses campus (I of course had not choice in this). In the last few months I worked there, my boss had suprise performance reviews with me in his claustrophobic office, calling me out for both imaginary employee complaints as well as major, but in reality, minor issues he personally took with my performance while I was alone (he had been voyeuristically watching me on security cameras I soon found out).

Eventually I was given the choice of probation or being fired without cause with a departing wage package. I was forced to sign a form by the same HR member as before, declaring I could not sue over my negative treatment, which was clearly bullying on part of my bosses almost pychopathic behaviour.

It is clear they have done this before and will continue to treat their lower level staff this way. Of course, because this was a corrupt private institution, I was unable to file any breach of rights report to a watchdog.

Diana on October 08, 2017:

I've worked for a dentist for 23 years. We tell each other personal things. Last week we were talking about my son's wedding. All of a sudden the dentist started screaming at me and smoke was coming out of his ears. My co-worker heard it. He left for lunch and sent me a text saying he was sorry. I haven't returned to work. He was very abusive for no reason. Can I get unemployment?

Jessica on September 29, 2017:

I'm curious...I was fired by my boss less than two weeks after filing a workman's comp claim. My boss became instantly hostile towards me after the claim was filed, and then out of nowhere, I was fired. I was told what a great employee I was one moment, and then the next, I was fired. I don't even know who to talk to about this. My boss was always hostile and dishonest, and even has a conviction for fraud on their criminal record (among many other things), and I'm at a loss of what to do. I was in my probationary period still when I was fired, so I don't know what my rights are.

Richard on September 18, 2017:

Hi I work for a company where I was hired by the best bosses both now gone, and since the new boss has arrived I'm now being called into the office continually and I'm disabled! Lately I have been yelled at for following store policy on a sign that states, "15 items or about at a self check out machine," and yet my new boss says let people still go through even though the sign is up! Secondly, this new boss stated that he doesn't believe in me, then months later changes his words and says I'm an asset to the company, then months later I try to apply for a lead clerk position but at the time my computer said the application didn't go through then I tried to resubmit the application and then that week my boss pulls me in and says he's disappointed in me for not applying for the position and this time around months later I do and he now chooses another person and tells me that he didn't choose me because I was unprofessional by not helping on go back items and supposedly just standing at my register and that I don't clean at all and yet I do clean every chance that I get! Plus in order to do go backs a manager or customer service has to tell you to shut off your light and go do the go backs but I never get asked to do them! So what can I do about this boss who bully's me and treats me good for a moment then the next brings me down to a low self esteem point to where I can't focus and I just feel like crying?

John on September 13, 2017:

I am currently working for a company that i have been with for 11 years consistent it once was a cooperation and now broke off to be a franchise. My General Manager has ben there almost two years he is always drunk and drinks in the bar in front of guests. After we broke off as a franchise there were really no new rules in place its kind of a play it by ear. Get through the shift motto type. Now that this General manager has ran off around 40 employees due to his altered state of mind breaking the code of personal conduct. Not only is he breaking the interity of the company by drinking the alcohol from the bar he is not abiding by the code of ethics in busines. He is careless manager he has ran assistent mangers off through pressure and misconduct. Now he has made two people assistant managers that one has been there two weeks but has lef the company three times before with 5 years of experiance and the other one two years prob deserves it but neighter one has gone thrugh management trainng thats 6 weeks and they both work for tips as a bartender when ever they want. so if you get my flow we have a bunch of mircomanagers that are changing the policies according to there ways. They are so called key managers. I feel as i am in a very hostile work environment and have been harrassed numerous times and i have already addressed the issued in the past once with a manager that has left and everything stopped but now it has started back up again i just feel as so many laws and codes are being broke that they are tring to set people up so they can throw acountability on them. I am working on tape recordings that i have documents for 3 months so far and working on videos

What should I do on September 02, 2017:

I got fired today after two weeks ( with notification of any bad behavior ) he started off the conversation by saying he was told I'm a downer ( not bad ) but he said this multiple times and I had to ask who said this bout me .. when he told me my mouth went agape and I was like "are you serious .. you can't be serious" ( I know I shouldn't have but this person has been starting issues behind my back and I explained this to him ) he proceeeded to tell me from that conversation I have a a bad attitude , no bad personality . He continued to vacate me and tell me I wasn't cut out for that job and kept making snips at my personality which from previous conversations he's never had an issue with and in fact couldn't wait for me to start. I apologized for how I reacted about the one lady and he mocked me .. saying what I said in a childish voice and then said that was a bullshit ( his words ) apology ... he again made a comment about how horrible my personality is ( the hr lady in the room knows I'm bipolar and he was egging me on ) and I went wrong by yelling at him as I was leaving .. "are you fucking serious ?fuck you!" And then he made a gesture to my comment in a way that he was saying "see this is my point " kind of thing ... I'm not the first employee he treated like this ... and I'd like to mention he changed the department schedule this morning after I took a picture of the finalized one last night ( which I did have hours on )

Laura clarke on August 31, 2017:

My boss slaps or pinches the girls at work all the time most are contract works from other country's

sarah on August 09, 2017:

my husband's boss is retaliating and out casting him after he put his 2 weeks notice in after 8 years due to things in the work place. she texted him the same day threatening him to just quit . she also has and continues to breach confidentiality and breaks protocol . advice ?

Dueene zoller on July 13, 2017:

Hum that's all very interesting , I actually started a journal back in January , everyday I would come home and write down everything that happened that day, good or bad when I would go to my boss he would tell me I don't wAnt to hear it . He wouldn't do anything I know he was out to get me and he told me he was gonna write down everything I didn't do. He was out to get me for sure no doubt in my Minde. Lost in South Dakota

Linda on June 14, 2017:

I work at a dry cleaners as a "team leader" we were hired to tag in clothes and send them to the plant to be cleaned. That was basically it. All of a sudden they are moving presses and washers and dryers in our store and told us we had to wash and clean households (i.e....blankets, sheets,pillows sham,etc). I wasn't trained nor did I ever say I would do this. Now they are telling me I have to that it's a part of my job.

Shawn on June 07, 2017:

Hi, I drive a gasoline tanker. The other day one of my hubs blew out and came very close to catching fire. " Under the tanker". I pulled over and hit it with the fire extinguisher Then limped the vehicle to safe location.Then called my boss to tell him what was going on.

I was immediately put down being called incompetent and every other word in the book. The whole double wheel assembly was wobbling and ready to fall off and the bottom part of the brake was still laying in the road. I took pictures of the damage and sent them to my boss via text. Smoke still comming off the axel he responds" take the load to customer and offload it" I responded i can't move the trailer the wheels are falling off. He responded again for once just do what I SAY. I refused again. Had I would have done this I would be dead right now along with anyone near me when the wheel caught fire and blew up the 10,500 gallon gasoline tanker. I told him if you will not send somone out to take the wheel off and chain the axel up then I will have to drop the trailer where it is now and bobtail back to the yard which was 40 miles away. I received no response. So that is what I did. I find out tomorrow weather I am to be terminated or not for insubordination.

great snow ball on June 03, 2017:

Hi! My mother used to work at a Tim Hortons about a year ago, but she quit because her boss was yelling at her and the other employees all the time. Now she works at another Tim Hortons, and gets complaints about where she used to work all the time. Her old boss is quite literally bullying his employees. How can I help her and the employees that work there.

Denise on May 04, 2017:

I work alongside 8 others and have been tasked with jobs where 5 of the 8 are doing nothing. My boss won't take anything off my plate and I've been stressed to say the least. I had been trying for 3 years to get pregnant and my boss made a negative statement about my trying to another supervisor. I'm wondering if all this induced stress is their way of trying to keep me from achieving my plans to get pregnant. Another comment made by this same person was "I wish her @$$ would just leave" needless to say, I don't have much lover for this so called "leader".

Angelica on April 08, 2017:

Our school principal uses email to shame employees in front of coworkers. She is very calculating when in person and is a constant eye-roller, I thought to myself I should even give her a small basket for christmas to catch them should they completely roll out of her head one day. She is a first time principal with a seemingly long time penchant for highschool clique behavior. Sadly, she earns a healthy six figure income which doesn't equate the obvious lack of real skills. I watch, observe and wait. I believe that later on down the line the universe and Murphy's law will reign down a plethora of troubles that will eventually catch up to her and consumer her and her supposed "career". So to everyone who has a problem with bully bosses, know in your heart that what they have done to you and others will be paid right back to them and tenfold. So you continue on Your path, be strong, move forward and know that the bully is just a speck of dust that you can simply brush off your shoulder...and you, just laugh it off.

Deborah on March 31, 2017:

01/15/2017 whie at work, doing the job of 2 people for the past month I might say. I got hurt. The Executive Director has need Retaliating, SHREWD, NASTY, DISRESPECTFUL, CONDESCENDING, talking DOWN to me, VERY SNAPPY as well.

I have written & protected myself by recording how & what is said to me from not only her, but co-workers. Now I'm being threatened with taking my documents & recourdings to court.

I answered, o.k. see you in court then.

DOm on March 29, 2017:

I have been working for a company for 4 years now. At least 3 times a week i get harassing phone calls about something i did or didn't do. I do my job to the best of my abilities and do what is asked on a daily basis. My boss constantly fines things to scream and swear at me for because of a bad day hes having or his company isnt making the money he would like. I get told that i have a smart Efffing mouth because i say i wont work for free. For example i am told in texts and voicemails that i need to drop the paperwork off an hour away from my work and home every friday when i get out, I have to do it on my own time, use my own vehicle and pay for my own gas. I am not allowed to put down my hours and if i don't do it i get threaten with my job and threaten in general. I get harassing calls on my days off about something that happened at work that doesn't even involve me. I use my own phone for the company which i am expected to answer regardless of what i am doing. If i cant come the phone and i am busy i am told that this company comes first he doesn't give a eff what i have going on that if i don't answer when he calls ... you guess it ill lose my job and so on. I get hours that i work taken off my check every so often and when i ask why i was shorted hours i'm told i'm petty . If i have an emergency i'm not allowed to take a day off or even be late but when i show up to work there is a chance he will short me hours. I am also expected to stay late on certain days for free as well. If i ever stand up for myself i am told that i will get fired and that they will deny my unemployment, there was a lot of cases to where they would fire an employee and then have another employee get on a conference call with the unemployment office and say that the employee quit and was not fired, that this place was a great company to work for and is not hostile at all towards anyone , you might guess that the employee that's willing to lie will get some type of benefit, vacation days, sick days, insurance, a raise . This is a union yard i work for and there is barely anyone in the union here but somehow they get away with it. They expect you to labor and do whatever they want but wont pay union wages, when you call on them to the union BA's it just gets worse for you .They pay someone under the table and nothing is done about it. Instead he will have you sit home and cut your hours enough to the point you cant pay your bills and enough hours you cant get unemployment. If you do file for unemployment they lie and say that they offered you work and you denied it. Is there something i can do? i have been saving timesheets and check stubs as well as