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While proposed statutes may fuel an increase in lawsuits against employers who allow bullies to work for them, right now it’s not illegal to be a jerk at work, according to employment practices liability experts.

“As far as I know, there as yet is no legal cause of action for workplace bullying in the United States,” says Irving Geslewitz, a principal with the firm of Much Shelist in Chicago.

But that could change with 10 states considering statutes that outlaw bullying in the workplace.

“The plaintiffs’ bar is just waiting with bated breath for those laws to get passed,” says Joni Mason, senior vice president, employment practices liability insurance product manager for Chartis in New York. “Once that happens you’ll see an uptick in [bullying] claims, and I’m sure you’ll see a retaliation component paired with that as well.”

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