While it is widely understood that workplace bullying is still not punishable by California law, it does not mean that one may exploit the lack of workplace bully prevention and harass everyone who comes his way. Despite the legislative body’s disagreements with the definition of abusive conduct, it may still constitute a punishable harassment provided that it was inflicted against a person belonging to a protected class. One should just prove in court that the offended party was harassed with regards to one’s race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or physical disability.
Defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests,” abusive conduct clearly threatens civility at work so as to jeopardize the legitimate business interests. Acts such as continuous infliction of verbal abuse, degrading remarks, insults, or any other forms of physical or verbal conduct which an employee may find threatening, intimidating or humiliating constitutes abusive conduct which violates the law.
If proven in court to be abusive, then there is no longer a need for a form of bullying or abuse to be inflicted into persons under a protected category to constitute an offense.
Nevertheless, organizations may prevent cost of suit or having its reputation jeopardized by adopting a respectful workplace corporate policy.
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