Anticouni & Ricotta | Leaders In Employment Litigation Serving Clients Throughout California.

Why some employees can get away with harassing their boss

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Sexual Harassment |

Most employees treat their managers with some amount of respect. Even if they don’t personally like them, they keep their feelings to themselves. They certainly don’t say disparaging things to or in front of them. It seems like that would be a quick route to unemployment.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Managers and supervisors at all levels have been the victims of discrimination and harassment by people who work for them. It’s not always a simple thing to require these employees to stop or to fire them – especially if those in upper management condone the behavior.

In cases that have been reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). supervisors have reported that their employees harassed them based on gender and race, exhibited “volatile behavior,” undermined their authority, spread rumors about them and generally subjected them to a hostile work environment. The cases made it to the EEOC because the employers either did nothing about it or penalized the supervisor instead of their employees.

Why some employers allow this behavior

Employees are more likely to engage or continue their discrimination, harassment and other unacceptable behavior against those to whom they report if they know they have the support of those even higher up – or at least see that they won’t do anything about it. Often, those higher up agree with the discriminatory words or actions.

Sometimes, it just seems easier for an employer to reassign or even terminate one supervisor than deal with a whole group of employees. And, since there’s strength in numbers, it’s more likely that multiple employees will engage in discriminatory or harassing behavior than a single person. However, when employers allow illegal workplace behavior to continue after they learn about it, they’re just as complicit as if they were doing it directly. 

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment by a subordinate. It happens more than most people realize. If it’s happening to you, you need to report it to your own manager or to your human resources department. If they don’t do anything to resolve the issue, it’s wise to find out what your outside options are for protecting your rights, your well-being and your job.

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