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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I have a daughter working for a Sutter in Brentwood, CA, and

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I have a daughter working for a Sutter in Brentwood, CA, and I get calls practically nightly from her in distress over how she is being treated by the Care Center Manager of her location that made her sign a form today. It basically is extending her 90 probationary period til about mid Dec because this person listed a number of reasons she may be released, and my daughter did this under duress. She has felt harassed by this manager since the manager herself was hired not long after my daughter was hired. I advised her to please contact a labor lawyer re this, its causing her anxiety, can't function normally, and feels she is being singled out. Can you suggest something, or help me find someone for her to speak to her re this situation. I feel that is an intimidation and harassment to ultimately push her out. My daughter has worked in this field for the last 4-5 yrs, and loves it, only to be treated poorly by this new Manager that appears to be on the warpath at this location. Please advise...Thank you
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer,

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Can you tell me how the manager is harassing her?

Also, can you tell me if your daughter has any reason to believe that she is being treated so negatively and harassed due to a protected characteristic (such as race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sex)?

Finally, can you tell me if your daughter has an employment contract, is a member of a union, or an at-will employee?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



She doesn't know if its one of the protected characteristics. She along with the doctor she is an assistant to are new to this location, and both have been confounded by the treatment.


The issue began last Monday, this manager was pointing out that she is being insubordinate, because my daughter Valerie didn't receive a response from her(manager) to ok a pacemaker rep from a manufacturing co to do a routine procedure (pacemaker interrogation) for a patient that the doctor told her to schedule. This is a normal procedure that is known in this office to be done when its necessary and done thru out this organization.

Valerie sent the manager the necessary information to get ok'd. This manager never replied, and it was automatically set up, to ensure patient care, its not something that is normally needed to verify with someone else (manager) whether its ok to proceed. The doctors are the ones that request these.

Patients sometimes walk in and these reps are in/out to do these procedures and are already known to be thru out the Sutter organization.

This manager told her "she"(the manager) is my daughters boss, not her doctor she is assigned to. After that rep came to do his job at their location, the manager pulled her aside and reprimanded her over the situation.

So today, she had a list of items that the manager(that doesn't work with her side by side) had on a form stating the incident from a week ago and other things that the manager pointed out as well. My daughter would only tell her that she didn't feel comfortable signing this form, listing these allegations, and would prefer doing it in the presence of someone from HR. The manager told her it would be to her best interest to sign, and that she (the manager) had already consulted with HR, that it wasn't necessary.

My daughter kept her composure, and tried being as professional as possible, only to break down after she left the managers office.


She therefore feels she was intimidated and shouldn't have signed it. But did it under duress. Causing her terrible anxiety, unable to focus and work coherently for the rest of the day. She feels she is being harassed because even her doctor(the one she is assigned to) told her to watch herself, after last weeks incident, when she(the doctor) went in to speak to that manager and how she treated my daughter.


I have been recommending that she speak to HR, because her original probation period ended Nov 5th, and feels that this manager is ultimately going to recommend that my daughter be released by the new Dec date, and will be looking to compile more information to build a bigger case against her, when again this manager doesn't work with my daughter side by side.


She did let me know that she isn't under any employment contract, and is an at-will employee, and has been fearing that because CA is an at-will state, she can basically be fired for any reason. She feels this manager is harassing her and intimidating her enough to cause her not to do her job she was hired for as a medical assistant, and that this manager will succeed.


I hope this is what you were looking for




Hello Paula,

I'm afraid that your daughter is correct. Since she is still on probation, she is an at-will employee, meaning that she can be terminated at any time for any reason with or without any prior notice.

This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code Section 2922 and states:

"An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at
the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a
specified term means an employment for a period greater than one

So, unfortunately, regardless of whether she signed the document that she was definitely unfairly pressured to sign, she could still be terminated, as she can be terminated for a bad reason or no reason whatsoever.

(The reason I asked about whether she believed she was being discriminated against on the basis of a protected characteristic is that that is one of the narrow exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine. Giving the person who was discriminated against an act for wrongful termination and discrimination against his or her employer).

The above said, if she has a doctor 'on her side,' it would definitely be a good idea to go to HR with her complaints about her manager. It is quite possible that the manager would be found to be treating your daughter poorly (for whatever reason she singled her out) and she will receive some protection from future wrongful behavior from her manager.

She would also have a good claim for workers' compensation from the emotional distress that she is suffering from the job due to her manager's treatment of her. If she were to file a workers' compensation claim or a discrimination claim, regardless of the merits of either claim, she would also be protected from retaliated or discriminated against for filing these claims.

Unfortunately, JustAnswer experts cannot provide specific recommendations for attorneys, but the following are good websites for starting points if she wants to discuss her situation with a local labor and employment attorney.

These are:

I hope the above information is helpful.

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Thanks and best of luck!


Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the advice Joseph, she is going to seek legal help, and feels that this person is just mentally harassing her.


I did ask her if she was absolutely sure it wasn't because of her race, my daughter is half Mexican/ half African American, so she is unique in her looks, but mostly resembles my Hispanic side. At her previous location she was loved and treated wonderfully, this is really taking us for a loop.


I will give her the information you provided, even though we had an idea that yeah, "they" or in this case that manager is going to ultimately just fire her for no reason.


Its funny though, because Sutter came looking for my daughter recruiting her while she was on maternity leave, and this is how they treat her!