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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11896
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Is there a law in California that would protect me from retribution

Customer Question

Is there a law in California that would protect me from retribution from my employer if I sue a coworker in Small Claims Court? Where can I find a lawyer to contact my Personnel department to advise them in writing that I will not be in danger of retribution?
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. When you say that you want to sue for harassment, can you described the harassment you are experiencing in a bit more detail? More specifically, are you being harassed on the basis of your race, religion, gender, age, or something else?

I very much look forward to assisting you regarding this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am being harassed for supposed libel where he accuses me of interfering with his personal life by supposedly telling coworkers negative things about his dating/personal life.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

did you receive my reply about supposed libel? Thanks.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for your reply. I completely understand your concerns here, but unforutnately I must tell you that "harassment" has a very specific legal definition and will only be actionable if it is occuring on the basis of your race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age (over 40), or sexual orientation. Rude, offensive, or insulting behavior for any other reason is not legally actionable, despite being unprofessional.

If you had made a complaint of harassment based on one of the above-mentioned protected characteristics (i.e., race) to your employer, they would have a legal obligation to investigate your claim and take reasonable measures to prevent it from continuing to occur. Furthermore, if you had initiated a lawsuit on the basis of such harassment, the law would prohibit your employer from retaliating against you.

However, since the harassment you describe is not itself illegal, your employer has no obligation to prevent it from continuing to occur, nor do they have any obligation to refrain from retribution should you initiate a small claims acton against your co-worker. Of course, since the harassment you describe does not give rise to a legal claim in the first place, this is not a scenario you should worry about, since it would be a waste of your time and money to sue.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes and happy holidays to you.