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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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What you can do when you are in a toxic work environment where

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What you can do when you are in a toxic work environment where there is no respect and your boss will scream at you and will call names, that will say :get out of the way" instead of excuse me... I live in San Diego. I am scared of my boss every time he call me I get very nervous and barely can speak, last week I pee myself of fear. I need the job. Please thanks
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I'm very sorry to hear about your predicament.

I'm going to assume that you do not have a contract that guarantees you employment for a specified period of time (i.e. "a 3 year contract with X Corp") and that your employment is not with a government agency. Assuming such facts, California generally regards XXXXX XXXXX "at will." More specifically, California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other." This means that your employer is generally free to terminate you for any reason or no reason, provided the motivations are not discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law. It's pretty unfair.

One notable exception is the "hostile work environment." However, the definition of what constitutes a legally actionable "hostile" environment is far more narrow than most people believe. Specifically, your employer must be harassment you 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. (See Govt. Code 12921.)

Additionally, 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.

If your employer's conduct fits into the above description of hostile work environment, you may have a valid claim. Otherwise, there is no general law requiring civility in the workplace, and your boss is free to be as miserable and unpleasant as they like.

If you want to file a lawsuit, you must first file a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue you an authorization to sue after they investigate your claim. You don't need to file with both agencies. Finally, if you decide to sue, don't miss your deadline. Under federal law in California, you have 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.

For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: For information on how to brig a claim through the EEOC, visit this link:

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that non of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Please abide by the honor code of this website by kindly clicking on the GREEN ACCEPT button if my answer has been helpful to you. Thank you very much.
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