I am being bullied at work by my boss. What do I do?

| September 26th, 2017 | No Comments »

Question: I am being bullied at work by my boss. What do I do?  She yells at me daily.

She has asked me things like; can you read? Are you deaf? Are you dyslexic? Do you know how to spell? If she misplaced something I get yelled at. If a client doesn’t read a document I asked them to read I get yelled at. I have been yelled at and talked down to in front of clients.

I actually have a breakdown every Sunday at the thought of going in on Monday.  I have left work crying numerous times.

What do I do?

Answer: Just like many have learned on playgrounds as children, you have to stand up for yourself and stand up against bullies.  However, as many have also learned, standing up to a bully directly can cause a lot of pain and suffering, and there is usually a better way.

In the context of workplace bullying, there is a better way.  In most cases, you can empower yourself by taking timely and detailed notes of each instance of bullying and, within limits, even recording conversations with the bully.  This is often the first step, as the notes and recordings make it easier for you to explain the situation to your HR department, your bully’s manager, or even a lawyer.  It may also be worthwhile to get a doctor’s note; if the stress is too much to bear, you may be able to take a temporary leave of absence (sometimes paid, sometimes unpaid).

You should also do so knowing that the law protects you from mistreatment in many ways.  Harassment is prohibited by both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and, for certain kinds of Harassment, the Human Rights Code.  Further, if the environment really has become toxic, you may be allowed to leave and start a constructive dismissal claim.


At Whitten & Lublin, we have been successfully standing up to bullies and protecting employees for many years.  If you’re experiencing workplace bullying, call us for help!

I have been bullied at work – do I have a case?

| August 16th, 2012 | No Comments »

Does having a tough boss at work means one is being bullied and harassed or is it just matter of perception.  Management may be demanding, unsympathetic or even insensitive, but that alone does not afford employees the right to launch a lawsuit or render the company liable for inflicting mental distress.

In his latest article in the Globe and Mail Is your boss just tough, or a bully?, Toronto Employment Lawyer, Daniel Lublin writes about few cases of bullying and its misconception.

Employees sometimes believe that their employers wanted them gone; and therefore refused to follow manager’s directives which will cause them to be placed on probation.  They might suffer a serious mental breakdown and leave work never to return.  Thinking that they are being bullied by their boss and employer they sue the company, its management and the boss for damages claiming that they deliberately or negligently inflicted mental suffering on them.

The harsh lesion learned is that workplace law does not provide compensation for every stress suffered by employer or the management.

Sometimes employees might be successful in their legal claims against their bosses who crossed the line by expressing their performance expectations forcefully and sometimes with outburst of anger while calling employees “names”.  Judge might find that they were bullied.

Bulling can happen on both sides.  In some cases managers will be the one who are bullied by aggressive and offensive co-worker.  In any case employer has an obligation to provide harassment-free workplace and treat its employees with civility, decency, respect and dignity.  Human rights tribunals also define and prohibit harassment, except that it must be based on specific personal characteristics, such as gender, age, race, color or religious beliefs.

If you have been bullied at work the best is to consult with a lawyer who will determine what your rights and options would be.