is work harassment illegal

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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is work harassment illegal

My fiancee is being harassed by employees training to be manager and 1 of the managers herself. I don’t know what to do. I’ve contacted law enforcement and they seem to think workplace harassment isn’t illegal. From what I understand any bullying and harassment is illegal. My fiancee has brought the problems to the general manager’s attention and he continues to let the problems continue. What legal angles can we take to solve the issues she’s having at work? She is being paid $7.95 an hour that’s not enough money for anyone to go to work on a daily basis just to dress walking through the front door because she knows she is going to get bullied and harassed.

Asked on July 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Bullying and harassment is not illegal: the law does not regulate how adult treat each other. Obviously, threats, theft or vandalism, use of violence or force, etc. is illegal, but that's because those behaviors are themselves crimes; bullying which is not accomplished by illegal behavior is perfectly legal. Furthermore, employment is "employment at will"--that means not only that the employer can terminate employees at will, for any reason, but an employee not happy with her job can quit or resign at any time, for any reason. That is what the law believes you should do if you don't like your job or working envirnoment: leave and go elsewhere, especially for only $7.95/hour.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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