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I wasn’t sure if this was best fit for here, on law.se or highereducation.se but since it primarily happened at work, I decided here.

I just graduated from university. I completed the co-op program. I had one co-op placement where there was extreme bullying and the environment was very toxic.

I reported this to the co-op department. They white washed the situation and said things such as “if it was so bad why didn’t you quit?” In fact they told me if I complained it would be violating my NDA.

Yesterday I met with a co-op coordinator to say goodbye. He mentioned that another co-op student had filed a law suit against someone at the same office due to bullying. I would like to support this and make known my experience. The co-op coordinator said he wasn’t really supposed to talk about it, so any suggestions on how to proceed? I would like to contact the other student who may be filing the law suit but don't know how?

As an aside I had to see a psychologist and I have a note written from her that the workplace was very negative. But I prefer not to tell people I saw a psychologist.

Also the way the bullying was done was very hard to catch or keep a record of.

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    Where are you located? depending on location, bullying may be illegal. An NDA can never override national law. – Jay Aug 30 '16 at 12:07
  • Unless the other person is filing a class action suit, the best you can do for him is be a witness to whatever supposed bullying is going on. In the end you don't help yourself, and only burn the bridge. While I don't know what you mean by "bullying" perhaps it wasn't as bad as you thought. – Dan Aug 30 '16 at 13:13
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    @Dan there are other options like filing his own suit, becoming a coplaintiff, etc. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 30 '16 at 14:06
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    what sort of bullying? I had a guy accuse me of bullying when I yelled at him for continually making the same stupid mistake. – Kilisi Aug 30 '16 at 19:46
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    @Kilisi many different types, such as belittling people, intimidation, purposefully sabotaging to make others fail their task etc. – greenbean Aug 30 '16 at 21:04
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Court filings are public record. If you're concerned, you can go down to the county courthouse and ask for a list of any recent filings, get the lawyer's name from the filing, and contact the lawyer handling the case directly.

If it's serious enough to file a lawsuit over, it's serious enough for you to get involved. Evil prospers when good people do nothing.

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    Most courthouses actually have websites that make it possible for you to see the things filed on active cases. The jurisdiction would most likely be the county the work was performed in, but if you signed an agreement its possible that designated an alternate juristicion. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 30 '16 at 14:09
  • @Chad excellent point! – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 14:36
  • IANAL, and the lawyer you would find using that advice is not YOUR lawyer. They are perfectly free to advise you to testify, even if your testimony will result in you being sued for violating the NDA. If you are concerned about potential legal ramifications of testifying, you should hire your own lawyer who has your best interests in mind. – user3294068 Aug 30 '16 at 14:52
  • NDAs do not trump existing law. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 15:03
  • Good advice. Would I call up the court house and describe the situation and ask if they have anything on file resembling it, or how to start? – greenbean Aug 30 '16 at 21:06
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You don't work there anymore, so unless you have a lust for vengeance there is really no reason to get involved in this anymore.

If you would like to get involved juristically, either as payback to those who bullied you or to help the person who is filing the lawsuit by serving as a witness, consult a lawyer who is specialized in employment law in your jurisdiction. Show them your copy of the NDA you signed and ask them if it prevents you from making a testimony. They will also be able to advise you if filing an own criminal and/or civil lawsuit makes sense in your situation.

If you would like to warn others, there are websites like glassdoor.com where you can rate employers. Try to avoid posting anything which might make you identifiable to not get targeted by a libel lawsuit from the employer. Depending on jurisdiction and what you wrote they might or might not actually have a chance to win such a lawsuit. But even when their libel lawsuit is completely hopeless, it would still be annoying to have to deal with it.

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    It might be worth continuing to follow up with the co-op department to make sure they don't send any more students into a place like that. – Eric Renouf Aug 30 '16 at 11:40
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    @EricRenouf I did and they don't care (because they want to maintain the political connection with the company so they can brag about successfully placing x % of students). Apparently a manager in the co-op is married to a manager in the office where the bullying happens. The adviser I trust suggested I go above them and complain to the HR of the university. – greenbean Aug 30 '16 at 11:58

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