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When bullying hits workforce, expect legal fallout

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

Some schoolyard bullies grow into workplace bullies. In most cases, their behavior won’t lead to a lawsuit. But that’s not always the case.

Recent case: Patricia Averette worked in a laboratory. After she was fired for alleged poor performance, she sued.

She claimed a supervisor and a co-worker had bullied her so much it caused emotional distress. She told the court that her equipment was sabotaged and that her co-worker walked around in a swimsuit and flip-flops. She painted the workplace as chaotic and unproductive.

The court, however, said none of the conduct was outrageous. That’s the requirement under North Carolina law for bullying to constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress.  (Averette v. Diasorin, No. 311-CV-203, WD NC, 2011)

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