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Can I sue PA DOC for intimidation and bullying while in training for another company?

Harrisburg, PA |

Two trainers prevented me from leaving an office on more than one occasion following a meeting in which one of the trainers and I discussed my concerns with that trainers communication with me on that day. One trainer threatened if it went any further and the Director did not believe me he would have me "tossed out" of training. I stated I was "good" and attempted to leave the office at least twice. Each time, one trainer who appeared younger, bigger, and stronger physically blocked the doorway which prevented my exit. Since then I have had high anxiety, poor ability to focus at work and home, and a flashback when I encountered a DOC guard before work. I have been seeing a therapist who says I have PTSD. Do I have standing to sue? Should Worker's Comp pay for treatment?

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Best Answer

You may also file a criminal complaint against the trainers for harassment under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2709 and/or false imprisonment under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903.

§ 2903. False imprisonment.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if he
knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere
substantially with his liberty.
(b) Grading.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an offense
under subsection (a) is a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(2) If the victim of the offense is an individual under
18 years of age, an offense under subsection (a) is a felony
of the second degree.

Thus, § 2903 requires detention that is unlawful. But you must have been physically restrained from leaving the room, meaning you could not have exited through another door without any problems.

§ 2709 (a) (3) --A person commits the crime of
harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another,
the person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits
acts which serve no legitimate purpose.


I will leave to your state's practitioners a response on the substantive issues raised here. But it may be helpful for you to realize that your description and quantification of the consequences suffered by you to this one-off event seem severely exaggerated -- and not credible for that reason.

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I think the real unanswered issue here is why the PA DOC should be involved at all. From your question it really isn't clear what's going on. If someone at your new job inadvertently reminded you of a bad experience from your past, it's not clear to me that either the person at the new job or from your past should be liable for anything.

That being said, intentional infliction of emotional distress is a viable tort in Pennsylvania, but it's *really* hard to prove. You'd need to be able to prove that the defendant intentionally or at least recklessly did something that was both calculated to cause severe emotional turmoil, that is outrageously beyond the standards of polite interaction (rather than just being rude), and did actually cause severe emotional distress (rather than a mere temporary upset). If you don't have evidence of physical injury, the claim is going to be really hard to prove. Testimony from a therapist probably isn't going to cut it either. You'd need someone more qualified.

So I'm really not sure what kind of claim you think you've got here, but you haven't really described facts which suggest that an emotional distress claim is likely to go anywhere. But the only way to really tell is to get your case evaluated, in person, by a personal injury attorney in the area.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Perhaps; but I don't see it.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


This probably is a workers comp claim. Consult with a worker's comp attorney.


If you have a work related condition, you may be entitled to workers compensation for work related mental stress that causes such bills, debilitates you or is exacerbated by your work conditions. It very much depends on the type of work factors you were exposed to and whether there has been or are any physical manifestations. You should talk to an workers compensation attorney as the facts make it unclear what is actually going on in your case. All the best.

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