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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11055
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Customer Question

hello,I am writing this because I believe my wife is being harrarred by her manager. she is the night shift manager at a dennys in lebec ca owned by amvee corporation.she works 4pm to 2am. her manager calls early in the morning consistently to discuss previous days situations usally before 8am. 7:15 am this morning she leaves nasty notes for her threatning to "have a sit down talk " with an upper management manager. on her days off she leaves messages on her cell phone saying if she doesn't make her self available they will have a "sit down talk" with upper management this is becoming a stressful situation for us. is this considered harrassment and what recourse is available to us ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about your wife's difficult manager.

"Harassment" has a very narrow legal definition that probably does not encompass the behavior you describe. More specifically, "harassment" will be legally actionable only where the basis for the harassing behavior is an employee's race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age (over 40), or sexual orientation.

Regrettably, and contrary to what most people believe, there is no general requirement of civility in the workplace and no law that prevents employers from being rude or even downright nasty to their employees for other reasons.

The idea behind this law is that the court cannot be the arbiter of every employer/employee dispute. If every time someone was offended or raised their voice they could go to court and sue, the courts has reasoned that we would have thousands of such lawsuits a day. This is certainly not to diminish the concerns of you and your wife, which are completely justifiable, but rather to explain the policy behind the law which may assist in your understanding.

So for example, if an employer repeatedly screamed that "latino employees are useless" that would be illegal harassment because it is attacking an employee on the basis of their race. But if the employer simply screamed at an employee "you're completely useless," that would not be a violation of any law.

Thus, I am very sorry to tell you, but unless you can link the nasty notes and other harassment your wife is experiencing to any of the above "protected characteristics" (race, religion, gender, etc.) then the conduct of your wife's manager, while reprehensible, is not going to be illegal.

I realize that the law may not be 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 to you.

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