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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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I am a commission-based recruiter in the state of California.

Resolved Question:

I am a commission-based recruiter in the state of California. Recently I started a job where I worked alone with a Manager who threatened to "bitch slap" me and made the atmosphere so uncomfortable by getting uptight and yelling at me when I asked questions and then wouldn't be available at other times by being gone or otherwise occupied. On the 7th working day he yelled at me for having a bad attitude. I burst into tears and left. He repeatedly used the "bitch slap" term.
One day after leaving the company overnighted a check to me for the 7 days that I worked there; I was on a draw against commission. I emailed a very short statement to the owner of the co and his operations manager stating the aforementioned.
I was quickly hired by another company.
I'm wondering if I have any recourse legally against the old company and if so, what? I definately don't want to work there again but the brief experience was traumatic and I had already begun to be successful.
Before I put this to bed, I am would like to know if there is any legal claim and if so, what would it be?
Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

What you describe is unfortunately common, and in many cases, there is nothing that can be done. This is because there is no law requiring civility between employer and employer. Typically an employer can be mean and disrespectful of his employees, but is breaking no law in the process.

This said, 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.

Most people would agree that threatening to "bitch slap" an employee, however disrespectful that may be, does not rise to a level sufficient to constitute an actionable claim for harassment unless you believe that your employer was making reference to your sexual orientation or perhaps attacking you on the basis of your gender.

To lodge a complaint with California's DLSE, visit the following link:

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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.
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