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Victimization in the Workplace

A person who suffers aggression, harm or is disadvantaged in a crime is said to be victimized or subjected to victimization. There are several characteristics or symptoms which include, deep embarrassment, humiliation, shame, being dehumanized, feeling resigned due to prolonged exploitation, sexual assault, etc. Secondary or post crime victimization is related to being victimized further following the original incident. Sexual assault victims being traumatized by responses from individuals and organization is also an example. Victimization can range from burglary, assault, internet crimes and identity theft to hate crimes and homicide. Below, Legal Experts have responded to some of the top questions on victimization in the workplace.

What legal recourse does a pregnant employee have that was suspended for bullying and intimidating a co-worker by joking when the employee feels the employer is trying to avoid maternity privileges?

Unless there is a contract to the contrary, your employment may be terminated for any or no reason at all. However, such termination must not be discriminatory — based on race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. It is also illegal to terminate an employee for asserting his/her statutory rights — Trade Union activities or requesting maternity/paternity leave, holidays, etc. 

If your termination was on discriminatory grounds, you could be protected against unfair dismissal if you were employed with your current employer for more than 12 months. If that is the case, you may file a claim with the employment tribunal and provide evidence of your discrimination. Unless you were terminated for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to be paid your contractual notice period. In the event that such a contract does not exist, you would still be entitled to minimum statutory notice period of one week if you have worked between one month and one year. 

Your suspension is only a means for the employer to investigate the allegations against you, before taking any action, if at all needed.

Can a person claim damages if he/she has evidence of victimization but it does not fall into the category of illegal discrimination?

Your immediate action should be to notify relevant authorities or senior managers and HR of any harassment or victimization you are facing at the workplace. Your employer has the liability to ensure that you are able to perform your duties without harassment or being victimized. 

An employer has the responsibility to correct any situation of harassment or victimization that has been brought to its notice and protect the employee from such acts. Failing to do so makes the employer liable to compensate you. You may also sue for “repudiation of contract” if you have strong evidence to show that the employer did not correct the situation despite the harassment being brought to notice. In case you have made it sufficiently clear that you are unable to continue working under these conditions, you may leave without notice and file a claim against your employer.

What should one do when they are receiving phone calls because a previously convicted criminal keeps reporting Child Protection Service (CPS) because he/she cooperated with the DA office in the case against the criminal?

You have a strong case here and may even be able to recover damages. You may have to contact a local attorney to bring a suit of “malicious prosecution” — this relates to an agency prosecuting you civilly or criminally for false reasons — against the CPS, which is sufficient to get their attention. The court may then order the prior convict from ever contacting you or your family. Often, a stern demand letter and a draft petition included with it from your attorney are sufficient to resolve such cases.

Can a patient sue a psychologist who was manipulative, lied, said he loved his patient and used her for sex knowing she is bipolar?

As a legal recourse, you may hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you with filing a complaint against your psychologist with the state’s Division of Consumers Affairs, Board of Psychology. Once the Board rules in your favor, you may sue the psychologist for civil damages in a superior court. Such a ruling will also make it easier to obtain a settlement offer from the psychologist.

How to stop being victimized by a local competitor trying to grow his small business by threatening manufacturers who do business with other local retailers?

Since mere allegations will not suffice in the event that you bring a case against your competitor, you will have to gather circumstantial evidence for your claim. For this, you may get a manufacturer to submit information on how exactly the intimidation was carried out. You may also convince the owners to provide information on your competitor’s actions. Of course, a collective action involving all concerned would make the chances of success very strong. You may file a suit for “tortuous interference with business relationships” and/or “tortuous interference with contractual relations.”

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) classifies aggravated assault, rape, sexual assault and robbery as serious violent crimes. Theft, household burglary and motor vehicle theft are included as property crimes. Most victims undergo post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which indicates that criminal victimizations have both immediate and long-term psychological effects. The most important step for a victim of any sort of criminal intimidation is to report the crime and seek justice. Victims may benefit from contacting a Legal Expert on their course of action.

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