Work isn’t always a bowl of cherries

A superior who repeatedly and directly criticizes an employee does not commit workplace bullying when the employee must be considered atypically sensitive, even if individual allegations may be not fully justified. (Landesarbeitsgericht München, October 30, 2014, docket no. 4 Sa 159/14).

The plaintiff sued his employer for damages due to workplace bullying by his superior. He claimed that critics from his superior that he should not skive off work, that he possibly does not fit into the team, that he would never receive a promotion as long as he supervises him, etc. constituted workplace bullying. The court of first instance dismissed the case on basis that the superiors action cannot be considered workplace bullying. The court of appeal confirmed this finding. The court described the superiors leadership style as rather direct concerning expectations, problems which occur but did not find any fault in it. It further explained that the plaintiff must be considered rather atypically sensitive and possibly less resilient than in average. On this basis the by the superior admitted behavior cannot be considered workplace bullying under the German law. Work isn’t always a bowl of cherries…