An NFL-commissioned investigator issued a report this week finding that several Miami Dolphin football players contributed to severe workplace bullying and harassment of fellow team members. At first glance, the thought of grown men making fun of each other in a locker room, exchanging trash talk and perhaps engaging in light hazing could seem harmless in the context of an NFL sports team locker room. But the report issued by the NFL investigator revealed something much more serious—racial intimidation, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and physical bullying and hazing—all of which led the bullying target to even contemplate suicide.
Would this type of workplace bullying behavior be illegal in Connecticut? Absolutely, as it provides the grounds for civil lawsuits to be brought against the bullies and the employer. Is it criminal? Possibly, and in today’s sensitive and vigilant anti-bullying climate, you can expect law enforcement to take bullying and hazing complaints like this very seriously.
Ask any of the best bullying lawyers in Stamford or Greenwich: Connecticut law prohibits employers from creating a hostile work environment for its employees. And in many cases, the law holds employers responsible for the acts and omissions of all of its agents and employees, from executives down to entry-level employees. Therefore, if a supervisor or senior executive decides to start harassing, intimidating or bullying a subordinate employee, it is critical for the bullied employee to speak up and report it to both their Human Resources department and their supervisor, and to memorialize the complaint in writing as soon as possible. This creates a paper trail that puts the employer on notice of the bullying threats, and forces the employer’s hand to take affirmative action to correct and rectify the escalating situation.
Once a complaint is made to Human Resources, the ball is now in the hands of the employer to investigate and administer discipline. As a victim of workplace bullying, if you feel that your complaints are being ignored, or if you feel you are being retaliated against for making the complaints in the first place, then you should immediately contact a top Connecticut employment harassment attorney to help you pursue your rights against your employer. There are state and federal anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation laws that can protect you.
The alleged threats and harassment in the Miami Dolphins case were sexually and racially explicit. They were physically threatening and allegedly caused the victim to be fearful of going to work. We have often seen similar cases emanating from Connecticut offices and workplaces where our clients have been physically or sexually intimidated. Connecticut state and federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment provide many types of remedies for victims, including damages for pain and suffering, and forces employers to make accommodations to eliminate the harassment. So if you are being sexually harassed by your boss, colleague, or subordinate, then you should contact a top Connecticut sexual harassment attorney who can explain your rights to you and work with you to pursue criminal charges against your employer or colleague who is sexually and physically threatening you.
If you believe are the victim of discrimination, racial or sexual harassment or bullying by a Connecticut employer, you should consult a top Connecticut employment lawyer to discuss whether you should immediately file a lawsuit in state or federal court, or whether you should file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (the “CCHRO”). In either case, the filing of the lawsuit or complaint itself is a pre-emptive strike against your employer, especially if the employer is trying to wrongfully terminate you. With a claim or lawsuit filed against them, they will think twice before terminating you, as it could lead to more problems for the employer in the form of a retaliation claim.
So if you have recently been the victim of a workplace bullying or hazing episode in Connecticut, you should contact an employment lawyer at Mark Sherman Law. We represent employees in Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, Wilton, Darien, New Canaan and throughout Connecticut. We will aggressively take your employer to task for its involvement in the bullying or its complacency in allowing it to happen. Call us today.