California Employment Law
Have California Employment Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.
Many people are familiar with the term "hostile work environment" but don't know its legal context. They believe that hostility in the workplace has somehow become illegal and actionable, but generally it is not.
An employer is not violating any law by calling employees names or disrespecting them in public ways, however unacceptable, so long as he or she is not doing it for discriminatory reasons or reasons that violate public policy.
In other words, if your boss calls you an "idiot" because he thinks you are an idiot, that's permitted, no matter how hostile or offensive you might find that to be. On the other hand, if he's calling you an idiot because of your race, gender, nationality, etc., that is not permitted.
There is no law requiring civility between employer and employer.
Furthermore, unless the conduct is quite severe, a single incident or isolated incidents of offensive sexual conduct or remarks generally do not create an abusive environment. A “mere utterance of an ethnic or racial epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee would not affect the conditions of employment to a sufficiently significant degree to violate Title VII.” Rogers v. EEOC, 454 F.2d 234, 4 EPD ¶ 7597 (5th Cir. 1971),
Here are some things that someone in your position can do: First, write down all information that you believe is relevant to your claim. Dates, places, times, and possible witnesses to what happened. If possible, ask your co-workers to write down what they saw or heard, especially if the same thing has or is happening to them. Keep the record away from work so that your employer doesn't discover it. Create a paper trail. If you decide to report the discrimination to your employer, do so in writing. This creates a written record of when you complained and what happened in response to it. Keep copies of everything you send and receive from your employer.
If you want to file a lawsuit, you must first file a formal complaint of discrimination 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: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm For information on how to brig a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm
What? I have been forbidden to speak to fellow employees about this! File a lawsuit? What about the guild? I'd be banned! I'm not worried about a few insults. I'm afraid he is going to HURT ME. I don't think you read my question.
I did read your question.
If you are worried about physcial harm, you can file a restraining order with the court.
you've got to be kidding me. forget this.
I'm sorry that you are disappointed by the information I have given you, but I do not control what legal remedies would exist in this situation.
If you believe that your physcal safety is at issue, contact the authorities and request a restraining order.
In extreme cases, the kind of conduct you describe may constitute "intentional infliction of emotional distress," which is a tort actionable in civil court.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the answer I've given you, as it's not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide a more favorable answer, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.