Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Nurse Wins Huge Case in Fight Against Workplace Bullying

By Dan Atkerson on August 31, 2016

Director yelling at the assistantA Dallas area woman has recently won a settlement in her case against workplace bullying.

Back in in 2011, Patricia Hahn, a 60-year-old nurse working at the Grapevine Urology clinic, filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She claimed that her employer had shaken his fist and shouted at her after she had been unable to move a patient. The incident frightened her so severely that she developed an acute case of stuttering which persists to this day.

After the woman had expressed her concern with the screaming incident, her boss scheduled a follow-up appointment with her and another employee. In the appointment, the doctor screamed at her again in front of the other employee, claiming that he needed to demonstrate what actual screaming sounded like. This type of behavior continued for months. At one point the doctor even swung his fists within inches of the woman’s face.

The doctor’s attorney claimed that the case was really about getting back at the doctor for his refusal to assist the nurse with a professional development opportunity, but the court very much disagreed. The nurse was awarded a settlement of $440,000.

According the Workplace Bullying Institute, the following are all examples of workplace bullying:

  • An employer or coworker threatens, humiliates or intimidates the victim.
  • The bully interferes in work and obstructs the victim’s performance.
  • The bully verbally abuses the victim.
The organization also stresses that unlike schoolyard bullies, workplace bullies often target people who are popular and well-liked. Typically, the victim is more skilled or experienced than the bully. Many attribute this to the fact workplace bullies are often acting out because they feel threatened by their victims.

Another important note is that 45 percent of all workplace bullying victims suffer from stress-related health issues. This means that it is hardly surprising that this woman suffered from medical issues as a result of her employer’s repeated verbal abuse.

No need to tolerate bullies

The law has protections in place to help victims of bullying, discrimination and other situations that create a hostile work environment. If you are the victim of workplace bullying and your employer has not intervened, you should seek the counsel of an attorney.

Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment attorney who fights for victims of a hostile work environment and forms of employment injustice.

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