Is workplace bullying illegal? Depends. In California, workplace bullying itself is not specifically illegal, but if the bullying behavior is rooted in illegal reasons or based on your protective activities, you may have a viable legal claim against your employer.
So, if workplace bullying is based on your race, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, etc., then such behavior is clearly illegal and expressly prohibited by California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA):
Or, if you are being bullied because you complained about not being paid correctly (or other similar complaints that are considered protected activities), such bullying behavior is also illegal.
What constitutes workplace bullying? It typically involves continuous or repeated malicious behavior such as deliberate insults, threats, demeaning comments, constant criticism, overbearing supervision, and profane outburst. It may also include blatant exclusion, being overworked, or simply not communicating with colleagues.
More subtle forms of bullying can include sabotaging projects, passive-aggressive behavior, blocking promotions, providing unclear or contradictory instructions, or demanding that you do unnecessary or tedious work.