Bullying in the Workplace Can Lead to PTSD

Bullying in the workplace can be so severe it can result in a PTSD diagnosis.

Posted: May 10, 2017 6:05 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 8:55 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Bullying in the workplace can be so severe it can result in a PTSD diagnosis.

NewsWatch 12’s Danielle Craig talked to several people who says they’ve been bullied in the workplace, but no one wanted to go on camera. Most were concerned about their future employment.

One person agreed to shared, with a disguised voice, to help empower others being bullied in the workplace.  

What started out as small jabs here and there turned into a list of growing concerns.

This kind of case is familiar for Tom Petersen at the office of Black Chapman Petersen and Stevens Attorneys.

Petersen says most bullying or harassment cases are sexual, but not always.

“If an employer is just making your job difficult by maybe making you do things that don’t make sense or calling you out on things you haven’t done in order to affect your employability there or in the future, you may have some right of action. It doesn’t have to be sexual,” says Petersen.

The bullying victim says just walking into work was nerve-wracking. “After a while I just got to the point where I’d keep my head down and do my job every day, but keeping a low profile wasn’t enough.”

Years later, the impact is still there. The victim says he has a diagnosis of PTSD from a physician.

“It can cause anxiety as a result of some sort of life threatening event and so if you've got a life threatening event which is my job, making money, am I going to be on the street? What’s going to happen to my family?” says Petersen.

The victim says there was nothing they could do, but there are things others can do.

First, ask yourself if you’re really being bullied, how often it happens and if the bullying discriminatory? Finally, it’s important to note that even witnesses can be considered victims.

The number one thing a person can do is write everything to do. Next, file a written complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

“The bureau will send out an investigator… they have the right to talk to employees, talk to the employer, get both sides and many sides to make a discovery for you,” says Petersen.

One expert says if a person is still dealing with workplace bullying after a year, it’s time to quit. In some cases, workplace bullying can become a criminal issue.

See Oregon's definition of harassment here. To look at laws in place to protect employees in the workplace, click here.

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