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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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A Human Resource personnel came to my office and asked the

Resolved Question:

A Human Resource personnel came to my office and asked the following questions?

When are you going to retire? I did not answer the question, but ask if they were an advocate for the Controller? She say, no and her next question was, "How old are you?"
I said, "45". She said, "No, I mean in people years." I said, "Ok, I'm 47." She said in frustation, "No, I mean in people years." Finally, she said, "I'll just look it up myself!"

Are any of these questions against the law? If so, what can I do?

Some facts about my employer.
State funding has decreased to less than 10% of our budget.
Tuition has increased every year for the past 5 years.
There will be a small student population in order to provide a higher quality of education.
Administration has stated there will be less students and fewer staff.
Administration states there will be lay offs and atritions; Only sufficeint positions will be filled.

Some facts about me.
Employed since 1982; Age Age 52
I have a disability that can not be seen; but may be assumed by Human Resource, due the death certificate of my late husband.
African American Woman
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

There is no law requiring civility between employer and employer--however, there are laws prohibiting harassment on the basis of being part of a protected class. Unless your employer is harassing you on the basis of your sex, gender, race, ancestry, national origin, color, sexual orientation, religion, medical disability (including HIV/AIDS diagnosis), marital status, age (40 and over) his or her treatment of you, however disrespectful, is probably not illegal.

Typically, harassment must be sufficiently "severe or pervasive" to be actionable. Therefore, where there is a single harassing act, it must be shown to be particularly severe or egregious. Where there are numerous acts of relatively less serious harassment, the conduct may be viewed as "pervasive" in the aggregate, thus allowing a case to proceed.

It is generally not illegal for an employer to ask your age; however, if they are doing so for the purpose of discriminating against you on the basis of your age, that would be actionable. The difficulty lies in proving the discriminatory intent.

For more information on filing a claim with the DLSE for discrimination, visit this link:

I hope that this information assists you in deciding what to do. Please remember to click "accept" so that I get paid for my time. Thank you kindly.

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The only facts I know about your situation are the ones that you tell me, so please try to be specific and bear in mind that, occasionally, miscommunications will occur. I will do everything I can to clarify my answer if I have misunderstood your question. Also bear in mind that the law does not always read how we think it should. I ask that you be understanding if an opinion I have provided is not consistent with what you wanted to hear.
Finally, the information that I have provided is not legal advice. I am not acting as your attorney and my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. I encourage you to consult with a local attorney in regard to legal matters.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you ProLegal54.


What is the meaning of your first sentence, "there is no law requiring civility between employer and employer?"


This is not a single harrassing act. There are other situations.

The Controller said, "I know it is none of my business, but when are you going to retire?"

The Associate Director, my supervisor, told me, "You're not one of her favorites, I thought you knew that."


Also, there has been at least three other former employees over 50 years of color (Japanese, Filipino), two preceded me in this position, who retired before they wanted to.








Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
"What is the meaning of your first sentence, "there is no law requiring civility between employer and employer?"'

Sorry, that was just a fancy way of saying that there is no law requiring an employer to be nice or respectful of his or her employees. Being rude, in general, does not create a legally recognizable cause of action.

That said, if the comments are attacking you on the basis of your race, age ect., may may serve as grounds for a harassment claim. Forcing someone to retire by continually making remarks about their age may constitute age discrimination, but I cannot tell what what will or will not happen if you file a claim because I am not ultimately the one who decides what surpasses the threshold for "harassment."

I hope that this helps clarify.
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