A Dallas jury just held that a doctor is “liable for his workplace bullying, returning a $1.08 million verdict against the doctor and the clinic for sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and retaliation.”

The verdict included $348,889 against the doctor individually.

The plaintiff, a nurse at the urology clinic, claimed that the good Doc created “a hostile and threatening work environment, testifying that on three occasions [he] had screamed at her with his hands raised and fists clenched, ‘Just shut up. Just shut up, I’m sick of you.’ On one occasion, he threw punches at her in the air, although he never touched her.”

Moreover, after she complained to HR, he apparently called her into his office “and gave her what he described in trial testimony as a ‘demonstration’ of what screaming was to prove that he had not screamed at the nurse.”

After the verdict, the parties settled for $440,000.

Takeaways:

  1. The fact that an individual was held liable is noteworthy – this would not be the case under Title VII.
  2. “Bullying” is not against the law in any state, at least the last time I looked. The news articles which reported on this case quoted plaintiff’s attorney as lambasting the Doc’s “bullying”: he warned all bosses that “they cannot scream, demean or otherwise bully their employees.” I guess since the action was grounded in sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and retaliation, he likely used the term “bullying” as a general description of what took place. Nonetheless, bullying and demeaning though the behavior undoubtedly was, the news articles reported nothing that indicated the harassment was based upon sex or gender.

If any has seen the complaint or has any greater information I would welcome your feedback.

I posted in May that “Unless and until there are anti-bullying laws, any uncivil or intimidating behavior in the workplace – unless covered by other laws such as, perhaps, dealing with battery or defamation, are not actionable unless the acts fall into or are directed against people in protected categories under, for example, Title VII, the ADA or the ADEA.”

But that does not minimize the damage done by the likes of this boss.

  1. This is some doc, alright – would you want him sticking a catheter up …