Today is National Boss's Day. We are forever grateful to be our own boss and also to have had some great bosses and mentors when we worked for larger firms. But what if you have a horrible boss? Is there anything you can do? Unfortunately, the answer is often no. There is no law against generalized workplace bullying or retaliatory or bullying behavior by your boss (or coworkers, for that matter).
Workplace bullying or singling out may become illegal when it is based on your protected status – for example, being harassed sexually or because of your race or disability. Retaliation is only protected when the law protects the type of complaint you've made or activity you've engaged in. For example, when you've complained about sexual harassment or you've taken a protected leave of absence like FMLA leave, your employer theoretically is not permitted to retaliate against you.
Being a “bad boss” is actually a common defense in employment discrimination cases. The idea being that if a boss is bad to everyone, it is less likely that you were targeted for a protected reason like your gender, race, religion or disability.
It takes an experienced employment attorney to ask the right questions and determine whether your boss is targeting you for a protected reason or whether there is unfortunately little you can do. If you believe you are being singled out by a bad boss, give us a call. We are happy to help.