How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question

Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6811
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

3 out of 5 people complained about the behavior of my boss.

Resolved Question:

3 out of 5 people complained about the behavior of my boss. Now they are bird-dogging me and making subtle changes in regards XXXXX XXXXX job. Also, I receive a larger To Do list than the others. Is this retaliation?

Also, is Name Calling ie "Trained Monkey" against the law?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Good morning and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about this unforutnate situation.

The subtle changes to your job you are describing certainly sound retaliatory in the sense that the changes are being made in retribution for your complaints. However, not all retaliation is legal, and retaliation in this particular instance unfortunately is not.

Taking a step back for a second, it is important to understand that employers retain a tremendous amount of discretion with regard to how they choose to run their business. There is no inherent obligation to be "fair" in the work place and, in general, employers are free to make arbirary decisions and be passive aggresive and vindictive to their employees. These are all bad managment practices, but there is no law against bad management.

There are few exceptions to this general rule and most are in the area of public policy. For example, it is illegal to treat an employee poorly for discriminatory reasons, such as the employee's race, religion, or gender. It is also illegal to take adverse employment action as a consequence of the employee engaging in certain legally protected activity, such as filing a claim for unpaid wages, workers comp, or FMLA leave.

"Retaliation" is only going to be illegal when it occurs in response to this sort of protected activity. Regretfully, the law does not protect an employee's right to complain about his or her boss, and since employers are otherwise free to make poor and unfair management decisions, there is no law against "retaliating" for complaints about the behavior of your boss

With regard to calling an employee a "trained monkey," the legality depends on context. As noted above, there is no law against bad management and no law against being rude or generally belittling employees. However, it is illegal to verbally attack an employee on the basis of a protected trait, such as race.

Calling someone a "monkey" can have a racial connotation when that term is used toward a person of African descent. Directed toward such a person, use of the phrase "trained monkey" may constitute racial harassment and thus be illegal. However, I don't think that use of that phrase toward any other ethnic group could be construed as anything other than simply "rude," implying only that the employee performs menial tasks that do not require critical thinking, and as I have stated above, it is not illegal to be rude, vindictive, or otherwise bad at management.

It is the unfortunate reality that the law strongly favors the employer in these regards. As a plaintiff's attorney who has dedicated much of my practice representing employees such as yourself, please take my word that I believe the lack of protections in this regard is frustrating and unfortunate.

However, as you are here for accurate information about the law, I have an obligation to be truthful and forthcoming about the lack of legal options under the circumstances. I trust you will appreciate my candor and explanation.

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, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6811
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    933
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    933
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    845
    JD, 16 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PI/PIExpert/2012-7-1_152453_Attorney.64x64.jpg Brandon, Esq.'s Avatar

    Brandon, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    329
    Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/phoenixrising119/2012-7-26_11214_043.64x64.jpg melissamesq's Avatar

    melissamesq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    47
    Represent clients to maximum recovery in employment cases.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IG/Iggy1001/2013-11-20_23344_JApic.64x64.jpg Joseph's Avatar

    Joseph

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    3365
    Extensive experience representing employees and management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JK/jkiani22/2013-11-18_15348_JacobKiani1copy2.64x64.jpg jkiani22's Avatar

    jkiani22

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    24
    Attorney
  • /img/opt/shirt.png Legal Counsel's Avatar

    Legal Counsel

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    32
    California Licensed Attorney- 29 years- Wages, Hours, Overtime, Discrimination, Wrongful Termination.