How to Get Your Boss Fired for Harassment or Bullying

How to Get Your Boss Fired for Harassment or Bullying

Reviewed by: .

Your workplace should be a space where you feel safe and supported, but this is impossible if your boss is harassing or bullying you. This is unacceptable behavior and should be addressed. Unfortunately, depending on your company, the corporate structure, and how much evidence you have, it can be difficult to find the right way to get your boss fired for such behavior. 

Here are a few tips to get your boss fired for harassment or bullying:

  1. Understand what constitutes harassment or bullying.
  2. Discuss the situation with your HR department.
  3. Remain calm and try to be professional at all times.
  4. Be prepared to leave the company if nothing changes.

Navigating this situation is tricky, but, unfortunately, not uncommon, as 30% of workers have reported feeling bullied at work. Let’s take a closer look at the details about what to do in this circumstance.

1. Understand What Constitutes Harassment or Bullying

There is a big difference between behavior that is harassment or bullying and behavior that is merely annoying or bothersome. It is appropriate to complain about toxic behavior. Still, if you complain about your boss for reasons that don’t warrant an investigation or termination, you risk losing your job. 

Here are examples of toxic workplace behaviors that absolutely justify complaint: 

  • Boss who makes racial, sexual, or otherwise inappropriate comments or “jokes.” There is no excuse for this kind of behavior or “humor” in the workplace. In fact, calling someone a derogatory name or joking about someone’s gender or religion is against the law
  • Your boss exhibits abusive and/or aggressive behavior. Employees should be treated with respect, and screaming at an employee for making a mistake or not meeting expectations is unacceptable. If there is physical aggression involved, this is absolutely grounds for termination and should be addressed immediately and urgently. 
  • Your boss plays favorites. If your boss isn’t giving everyone equal opportunity to grow within the company and instead rewards those he likes best instead of the most qualified, this is unacceptable.
  • They have unrealistic expectations for your work performance. If your boss demands that you come to work early, leave late, work weekends, or otherwise set unrealistic and unfair expectations for how often you work, this is unacceptable. 
  • Your boss steals ideas from you or other employees and passes them off as their own. This is intellectual theft and is grounds for termination.  
  • They blame others for their mistakes. Some bosses don’t want to admit their mistakes or flaws, so instead, they blame those beneath them in the power structure. This is not okay and will only foster a toxic work environment. 
  • They spread rumors or gossip. Not only is this immature, but it also makes it difficult to get work done and makes for a bad work environment. Everyone gossips a little sometimes, but your boss should be setting a positive example and abstaining from this kind of behavior. 
  • They are engaging in illegal behavior. If your boss breaks the law, they are putting the entire company at risk.
  • They touch their employees inappropriately. Any kind of sexual harassment is absolutely unacceptable and should be addressed immediately. 

Here are some circumstances that are certainly frustrating but may not warrant a complaint to human resources (HR): 

  • Your boss regularly turns down your ideas. It can be difficult not to take this personally, but there’s a chance your ideas just aren’t a good fit for the company at the time, and your boss is simply looking out for the bottom line. 
  • They don’t compliment you or your accomplishments. It can be extremely disheartening to work hard on a project, present it to your boss, and not get much or any positive feedback in return. This is not enough to try to get them fired, though. Some people just don’t give out compliments, and some managers adopt a tougher leadership style that doesn’t include vocalizing appreciation often. 
  • They, with reason, change your assignments, workload, or job duties. If they assign an unreasonable or impossible workload, that is a different issue. However, sometimes a change in workload is necessary, and it’s your boss’s job to assign work as they see fit. 
  • They take reasonable disciplinary actions. If you’re late to work every day, your boss will probably have something to say about it. This isn’t harassment; this is management. 
  • Your boss just isn’t likable. Not having a great personality is not a reason to get fired. Your boss may be grumpy, cold, slightly rude, or otherwise unpleasant, but this is not enough to get them terminated. 

Since complaining about your boss is risky, you must do so with good reason. Harassment and bullying are never okay and should be addressed. However, not every unpleasant action your boss takes is bullying; sometimes, they’re just performing the unpopular but necessary duties of leadership. You must know the difference.  

2. Discuss the Situation With Your HR Department

Once you’ve determined that your boss’s behavior is inappropriate and not just frustrating or annoying, it’s time to bring your complaint to the HR department. 

The most important part of addressing your boss’s toxic workplace behavior is gathering evidence. Without a record of exactly what your boss is doing, it will be extremely difficult to convince your company to fire them, especially if they’ve worked for the organization for a long time. 

Most workplaces have security cameras that can be used in an investigation, so if your boss’s behavior is something visible (such as inappropriate touching or yelling), you can use the security cameras to your advantage.

You should avoid gathering evidence or discussing the situation on a work computer for your safety. Some of these computers have shared networks, so it is possible that your boss could catch wind of what you’re doing before you have enough evidence to go to HR. 

One way to document your boss’s behavior is to write down the date and the incident in a journal with a detailed description of what your boss did. You can also use the camera on your cell phone to take pictures if the situation allows. If your boss sends you inappropriate texts or emails, take screenshots of these messages. If they are forcing you to stay late, collect evidence of this.

While you’re recording all this behavior, it is essential that you also keep up with your regular duties. You don’t want to give the company any excuse to fire you instead of your boss. 

Once you feel you have enough evidence, assemble a report to bring to Human Resources. The more professional and thorough your report, the better your chances of getting your boss fired. 

Request a meeting with the Human Resources Manager and present them with your report and your evidence. Try to keep your emotions in control and focus on the facts rather than your feelings about them. You should also be clear about what you expect from HR: if you want your boss fired, you should state that.

If you work for a smaller business that doesn’t have a Human Resources department, you’ll need to arrange a meeting with someone higher in power than your boss. This may be your boss’s supervisor or the owner of the company.

3. Remain Calm and Try to Be Professional at All Times

Complaining about your boss can be scary and emotional, but it is essential that you keep your emotions under control. You’re more likely to be taken seriously if you are straightforward and maintain professionalism throughout the meeting with HR and the following investigation. 

You need to convince HR that you are complaining out of genuine concern and not out of some vendetta, and the best way to do this is to remain cool, calm, and collected. 

4. Be Prepared to Leave the Company if Nothing Changes

Unfortunately, there is a chance that your complaints will go nowhere and your boss will remain at the company. If this is the case, you need to be prepared to leave. It is essential that you feel safe and supported in your workplace, and that is impossible if you have a bully for a boss. 

The best-case scenario is that you keep your position at the organization and your boss gets fired, but it is best to mentally prepare yourself for a different outcome. It is also a good idea to update your resume and send out some feelers for positions at other companies. 

How Likely Am I to Get My Manager Fired?

You can get your manager fired, but you will need to speak to the right people and have evidence of toxic workplace behavior for a chance of success. Even if you have evidence, you may not be successful due to company power structures.

In a perfect world, anyone behaving inappropriately at work would get fired, regardless of their status within the company. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and organizations have power hierarchies. Your manager or boss is a level up from you, so there is a 90% chance that you will be unsuccessful if you try to get your boss fired because your boss has more power than you do. 

This is especially true if your boss or manager has been with the company for a long time. Some organizations truly value loyalty, or perhaps your boss knows too much information, so they may be hesitant to fire someone who has seniority at the company, even if they do behave inappropriately. 

This does not mean that you shouldn’t try, though, especially if your boss’s behavior is harmful and impacts your feeling of safety and security at work. 

How To Complain to HR About a Toxic Boss Without Getting Fired

The most important part of complaining to HR without getting fired is gathering enough evidence, so make sure that you have done your due diligence and have clear examples of your boss’s behavior. 

If other employees feel harassed and/or bullied as well, there is more power in numbers. If you can get them to join you in your pursuit, you have a better chance of success.

If you experience retaliation from your boss after bringing the issue to Human Resources, you should immediately let HR know. Your boss cannot legally punish you for filing a complaint, so this is further evidence that your boss isn’t up to the job.

You must keep your expectations realistic. If you have rock-solid evidence that your boss is harassing or bullying employees, you may be able to get them fired. However, there are some situations where the individual is not fired, despite inappropriate and toxic behavior. If this is the case, you should be prepared to leave the company, knowing that you did what you could.

How Bullying Impacts the Workplace

This is an important issue because bullying and harassment in the workplace have extremely negative effects. Let’s take a look at what this behavior can do to a workplace and employees: 

  • Employees may experience physical and psychological health problems. Bullying is a stressful experience that can lead to high blood pressure, panic attacks, ulcers, headaches, insomnia, and other anxiety-induced health problems. This behavior also often harms self-esteem, which can influence performance at work.
  • Employees may have lower productivity. If you’re stressed about getting bullied, you may not be able to focus on your tasks, thereby reducing your productivity and leaving you vulnerable to further harassment and/or criticism.
  • Quick employee turnaround. This is not good for the company because they’ll have to train new employees regularly and spend money recruiting.
  • Overall decreased morale. If bullying and harassment happen regularly, no one will want to be in the workplace. This will create a potentially hostile environment that lacks morale.

It is best for everyone involved, the company and the employees, that bullying and harassment are addressed and taken care of quickly and efficiently.


You should feel safe going to work every day, so if you have a boss that harasses or bullies others, you should take action to get them fired. However, you should know that doing so is risky, and it is essential that you have evidence and compelling reasons for your complaints, or else you may lose your job instead of getting your boss terminated.