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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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I am a principal at an elementary school. There is another

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I am a principal at an elementary school. There is another principal on campus as well. I have documentation that he has made comments about my sexuality, and how he has tried to keep me from employment because of my sexuality. I also have proof that a parent coordinator, who is his employee, has called me faggot to parents at the front gate of the school. What options do I have?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Harassment relating to sexual orientation is illegal under CA law, and employers have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent such harassment from continuing to occur once they've become aware of it. If an employer fails to take such reasonable measures, they become "vicariously liable" for the harassment, meaning the employee can sue the employer and not just the harasser for emotional distress.

So, at this point, there are really two options. You can (1) inform your employer in writing about the harassment you are experiencing and demand that they take immediate steps to address it and prevent it from reoccurring; or (2) you can sue the principal and coordinator who made these statements for emotional distress. The problem with option number two is that unless these statements have resulted in severe and documented emotional distress (i.e. you have suffered a panic attack or been diagnosed with depression) the amount you would likely be awarded at this stage is probably not very much. So, if you were to sue, you would spend a year or more in litigation and thousands of dollars on court costs only to wind up with a judgment that would not be worth that investment of time and money.

Therefore, the first option would typically be the prudent course of action under the circumstances. The complaint to your employer should be in writing and it should specifically identify what was said, who said it and when the incidents occurred. Making this sort of complaint is a form of "legally protected activity." This means your employer will be legally prohibited from retaliating against you, and any adverse employment action which you can link to the filing of your complaint with give rise to an entirely separate legal claim for damages.

If the harassment continues after you report it to your superiors, you can sue the district in addition to the harassers themselves. Your claim will also be more substantial as the harassment will have continued for a prolonged period of time and your reports will have been ignored, resulting in an understandably greater degree of emotional distress.

I hope that you find this information helpful. 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 moving forward.

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