Work harrassment by store manager, possible lawsuit?

So my wife has worked with a very popular and well known jewelry store for about 2 years now. The manager who she works for has constantly almost on a daily occurrence verbal assaulting her from yelling and scream in front of other employees and customers, as well as name calling and verbal put downs. On one occasion he even hit her in the arm "to get her to move" while it may not have been closed fist it was hard enough to leave a bruise. She filed a complaint and reported this to HR and they did absolutely nothing, but it was documented. Her boss then yelled at her for going to HR. She also has other complaints and the manager has numerous amounts of complaints filed against him by employees and customers. He is being protected by the district manager cause they are friends.

My wife has witnesses to the harassment, as well as physical harassment, with 2 employees and 2 customers who all agreed to come forward. The manager is sexist, its easy to see that. Her manager has also shorted her on paychecks for no reason. She is being forced to work on days she is not scheduled and when she was sick and had to take a few days off they made her use vacation days instead of sick days even though she hadn't used her sick days at all. Also he has been taking away her breaks (which are required by law in California) on days she works 8-9 hours, California law states it is required to give employees 10 minute breaks in the middle of a 4 hour schedule. So 8 hours by law requires a 20 minute break, and working at a jewelry store with no chairs and constantly is causing agony to her feet and back. Few times I have had to help her in the house.

We want a lawsuit, we want legal action to be taken... I'm at my limit. My wife tells me she is being called stupid, retarded, called a moron and she has been hit and it takes every fiber of by being not to go down there and rip him apart. I know it would only get her fired, and throw any legal action out the window so I'd rather see him suffer in court.

Do we have a case? Is there anything here that can lead to him being fired? We're not really after money, we just want what's right.

4 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, the fact that you said that this manager has numerous amounts of complaints against him by employees and customers leads me to believe that he is a bastard to everybody. Your wife isn't the only target of his wrath and I would make an educated guess to say that it kind of takes away some ground for a lawsuit. She isn't being singled out with all this harassment being directed at her only.

    Second, suing right away probably isnt a good idea because it just takes a lot of effort and you guy could still end up with a result that is no better than what you started. Reality also makes it possible to end up with a weak, meritless, groundless or frivolous lawsuit and would just set you back if it gets like that in court. The better idea is to file a complaint with CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing for this harassment stuff. DFEH has a time period where they have to investigate the whole thing and they can still issue a "right to sue" when its all said and done. BETTER TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE CHANNELS first before a lawsuit because these admin channels just need details. Her rest break issue may be a separate thing (DFEH doesn't handle that type of enforcement) to take up with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office under the CA Department of Industrial Relations by filing a wage claim. CA law does require two 10-minute rest breaks for 8 hrs worked and the DSLE may be able to look into those paychecks being short

    Finally, the both of you have to remember that California IS an "at-will employment" state, so there is really no legal boundary that is stopping her from finding another job and bolting to it in a heartbeat. She can quit this job right now if she wants to and she not even required to give a reason. This aspect may be something the courts look at too and maybe even wonder why she doesn't just quit and try to get another job. Quitting and applying to other jobs or applying now and quit when she gets a firm offer is probably more productive than trying to waste time waiting for the litigation wheel to finish turning.

    I'm not saying that you wouldn't have a case, I'm just saying that are other more effective actions to take instead of trying to spend a lot of effort going to court. The only way a jerk like him gets fired is if the people above him actually grows a pair and do it. The state can fine the company and let you take legal action, but he may still end up being there after its done. If you want to talk to a practicing labor lawyer, that is up to you. I'm just stating my opinion that is formulated from what I can dig up

  • 7 years ago

    I am not an attorney and I know of know laws that protect people from mean bosses. Your wife's boss is mean. She may have a labor complaint for being shorted on her paycheck and being denied breaks.

    I recommend she seek out a better job. There are plenty of places that sell jewelry. If your wife has a talent for sales and racks up strong sales numbers then any store will hire her.

    People who file workplace lawsuits can find it very hard to get any job. Nobody likes to hire employees who have a history of filing lawsuits even when they are in the right to file one.

  • 7 years ago

    I have a hard time believing you are not stretching things some. I think if your wife had been struck hard enough to leave a bruise that the cops would of been notified. All things considered I am glad that your wife does not work for me. You Californians are a sue happy bunch. How about if your wife gets a different job instead of staying where she clearly in not wanted?

    Source(s): Small Business Owner
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    You can file a case against them for such action. Intentional act that caused harm to someone is still under personal injury law. You have to consult a lawyer who have a wide experience in workplace lawsuits.

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