Bullying has received enormous attention in the media during the last 12 months.
States have enacted anti-bullying rules in the schools, and the Department of Labor and the state Human Rights Commissions have long been interested in eliminating bullying from the workplace.
In the business setting, bullying directed at employees by employers has been a staple at the table for years. Bullying directed at employees by other employees, often ignored as office drama by employers, also exists in abundance. The government, the courts and the media are all focused on these bullying issues.
The government and the court's position is that employers cannot do too much to protect employees. They can do too little (they can underreact) and that will get them in trouble. But they can't do too much to protect employees while they are on the job. The expectation is that employers will take a comprehensive approach to providing a completely safe environment for their employees. If the employers cannot or will not do this, they face the wrath and ire of federal and state governments.
If sexuality is involved, it's called sexual harassment. If sexuality is not involved, it's just called harassment, but can be equally serious on several levels. The existence of bullying in the workplace could clearly be labeled a hostile work environment. If it is perpetrated from management to employee, it could even be labeled Disparate Impact, which is the belief that an employee is subject to greater on the job scrutiny than other employees. In any event, harassment will usually attract the attention of the government, and it's not the attention management ever wants or needs.