Just because your boss is treating you poorly, does not mean that you are the victim of discrimination or harassment that is against the law. Your employer may be treating you badly without breaking the law. A boss can legally raise his or her voice, be unprofessional, act in a way that’s bad for business at your expense, while not illegally harassing or discriminating against you.

To violate the law, an employer must treat you badly (by demoting, firing, cutting hours, making your work hard, etc.) because of an employee’s “protected class.” Those protected classes include race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, and some other specific groups. An employee must prove a connection between the bad actions and the class. For example, an employee must prove that a termination was motivated by an employer’s ill will towards an African American worker because of his race. Proving this is usually hard, as employers don’t typically say that they’re firing a worker because of his or her skin color. Proof usually comes in the form of more indirect evidence, like different treatment of different classes or name calling. Often in cases where an employer finds out about an employee’s membership in a class (like when an employer discovers that a worker has a certain disability), treatment of that employee may change and provide evidence of discrimination.

If you have experienced harassment and discrimination on the job, contact our Bay Area Employment Law Attorney John Furstenthal by filling out our online form or calling 925-284-1718