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 socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39157
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have recently been removed from my position by a State Employee

This answer was rated:

I have recently been removed from my position by a State Employee that has been over the top hostile for over a year . Let me explain. I am in the Construction business and I held the position of Project Manager at one of the UC California campuses. I was an employee of a Construction Manager who had a contract with the University to provide Construction Management services. I was engaged as the Project Manager for the Construction Manager.
Almost immediately the individual I reported to (a UC Employee) began making threatening comments. As an example, he said " I hate you" in the first week. This type of behavior continued for over a year. This individual went so far as screaming at me and my boss "You're a f*****g idiot". At the first of February this individual demanded that my employer remove me from the jobsite and they did. Because they had no work to assign me to the laid me off. I just endure a year and 3 months of pure hell because of this individual and I want to file a Hostile Work Enviroment Claim and a lawsuit in which I want to sue this individual personally and the University of California for allowing and condoning this outrageous behavior. I have many witnesses of this behavior.

Please let me know if I have legal grounds to proceed.
[email protected]

Under Govt. Code 12940(j) and 2 Cal. Code Regs. 7287.6(b), discriminatory harassment (affirmative oral epithets; physical violence/touching; visual cartoons, derogatory posters, etc.) extends to independent contractors -- even though passive discrimination (failure to hire, termination based upon discrimination, etc.) extends only to direct or leased employees.

Given this background and your allegations, you have a claim of harassment, despite your independent contractor status, but only if the harassment can be tied to discrimination based upon your race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation. Govt. Code 12940(a).

As bizarre and unfair as it may seem, if the harassment is "personal" to you -- i.e., the supervisor simply doesn't like you personally, but not due to some underlying legally discriminatory motive, then you would have no recourse on a discrimination claim, no matter how obnoxious and annoying the oral attacks on you may have been.

There are a couple of possible common law tort actions that may apply: defamation of character; and interference with contract.

Assuming that the supervisor made statements about you as if they were factual -- i.e., You're an eff'in idiot, in front of others, then you may be able to make out a slander claim. And, assuming that the supervisor of your supervisor was aware of this conduct, then it's possible that the employer may be vicariously liable for negligently supervising your supervisor. Otherwise, your claim of defamation would be personal to the supervisor only.

And, if the motive of the supervisor was to destroy your contract with your employer, and the motive for doing so, malicious, then you could sue for interference with contract (economic expectations). These tortious claims are generally much more difficult to prove than are statutory discrimination claims. Consequently, many lawyers will decline the invitation to take the case.

Hopefully, you can identify some unlawful discriminatory motive for the supervisor's conduct, because it would make your case much easier to pursue.

For a competent employment rights attoreny referral, see this link.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you