David Yamada, law professor at Suffolk University Law School, has written extensively on workplace bullying. He writes the blog on workplace bullying at Minding the Workplace. He published a seminal paper on workplace bullying in the Georgetown Law Journal in 2008. See that paper here. Mr. Yamada has drafted a model bill entitled, Healthy Workplace Bill. Several states have considered portions of his model bill. A few states have adopted portions of the bill. Massachusetts came close to adopting the entire bill in 2020, but the covid pandemic intervened.

Prof. Yamada defines workplace bullying and deliberate and repeated mis-treatment of an employee by co-workers or supervisors. Mr. Yamda found hundreds of cases in which an employee sued their employers for intentional infliction of emotional distress and the courts were just not interested. Many of the claims were dismissed before ever reaching trial. See ABA Bar Journal here for more about Mr. Yamada and his work.

The challenge with workplace bullying occurs when it is not connected to discrimination. When bullying is motivated by personality conflict  or simple dislike, there is very little the employee can do about it. Unless Prof. Yamada’s bill is adopted somewhere.