Welcome to the Meyer Employment Law blog, where we explore crucial issues affecting workplace environments and employees’ rights in Portland and across Oregon. Today, we are focusing on a prevalent issue that many might underestimate in its severity: bullying in the workplace.

What Constitutes Bullying in the Workplace?

Bullying in the workplace can manifest in various forms, ranging from overt acts of intimidation to subtle psychological abuse. It often involves repeated incidents intended to belittle, threaten, or undermine an individual’s performance, confidence, or standing at work. Recognizing the signs of a workplace bully is the first step towards addressing this misconduct.

Examples of Workplace Bullying:

  1. Verbal Abuse: Frequent, unwarranted criticism, shouting, or use of offensive language.
  2. Social Isolation: Deliberately excluding someone from work-related activities or conversations without just cause.
  3. Manipulation of Work Role: Changing someone’s responsibilities unreasonably, setting impossible deadlines, or withholding necessary information.
  4. Public Humiliation: Criticizing or ridiculing someone in front of colleagues.
  5. Threats and Intimidation: Making threats about job security without basis, or physically menacing behavior.

These actions not only create a toxic work environment but can also impact an employee’s mental and emotional well-being.

Legal Protections Against Bullying in Oregon

While Oregon does not have specific laws that address “bullying in the workplace” as a standalone issue, several laws protect employees from behaviors often associated with bullying. For instance, the Oregon Safe Employment Act obligates employers to maintain a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. This can be interpreted to include severe cases of workplace bullying.

Furthermore, if the bullying is based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, disability, or age, it could violate state and federal discrimination laws. Employees suffering from such discriminatory harassment have the right to file complaints with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Dealing with a Workplace Bully:

  1. Document the Behavior: Keep a detailed record of incidents including dates, times, what was said or done, and witnesses.
  2. Report the Conduct: Follow your company’s internal procedures for reporting harassment or bullying. If there are no clear procedures, report the behavior to a supervisor or the human resources department.
  3. Seek Support: Consult with colleagues who may also be experiencing or witnessing bullying. There is strength in numbers, and a collective voice can be more influential.
  4. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with the company’s policies on workplace conduct and your legal rights under Oregon law.
  5. Professional Advice: If the situation does not improve, or if the bullying is part of a broader pattern of discrimination or harassment, it may be advisable to consult with an employment law attorney.


At Meyer Employment Law, we understand how challenging and disheartening it can be to face a bully at the workplace. We are committed to providing the necessary legal support and guidance to ensure that your rights are protected and that workplace environments are safe and respectful for all employees. If you are dealing with workplace bullying in Portland or anywhere in Oregon, do not hesitate to reach out to us for professional advice and representation.

By addressing bullying in the workplace proactively, we can help foster a culture of respect and dignity at work, ensuring that all employees can perform their duties in a safe and supportive environment.

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Discrimination law in the workplace includes unequal treatment based on age, national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, injury, disability, and  more.

Read more about Oregon discrimination law.

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