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Harassment claim in CA (not Sexual)

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  • Harassment claim in CA (not Sexual)

    I was suspended from work for a week yesterday pending the hearing.
    Reason? Harassment- NOT SEXUAL

    Our clerk (female) Temecca, handles all the paperwork including work order processing.
    I have asked her several times in the past for advice on what codes to enter for specific jobs ( this is a new system we started using). Usually no problems, she's happy to help. We have (had ) a good rapport & tend to joke a lot to lighten the stressful time our company is going through.
    Last Wed. I asked her about codes again , & she said " it's not my job, go ask your boss" . I also asked her about certain work orders & what should be done with them in order for other shifts to know what repairs had been made etc.
    I told her I wasn't going to ask my Boss because I don't want to be be-littled again. (In the past, whenever I approached my boss about a situation or a problem that has arisen, he basically doesn't listen to my side of things & tells me that I "am lacking in wisdom" or my "common sense has left me" . "
    Rather than lose any more of my dignity, I'll try & do the paperwork myself.
    So, my discussion with Temecca lasted only a few minutes , then I left. No yelling, no screaming, no threats or violence.
    I think nothing of it until yesterday when I get called into the office & get a discipline form that states;

    On jan 18 2006, you approached Temecca ___________ asking questions regarding the DVI process. She reports that your attitude towards her was negative. This upset her, and she asked you to speak to your supervisor or manager regarding the process. She reports that you continued to bother her long after she asked you to quit bothering her. This unwelcomed behavior creates a hostile work environment & will not be tolerated in the workplace. I am unable to understand why you chose to disregard her request & seek the advice of your direct reports.

    This is the first I've heard of it. No inquiries as to my side of things, nor even a chance to repond to the allegations prior to the hearing on the 1st of FEB.
    I did get a chance to respond to my Boss after he gave this form to me, but nothing could be done until the hearing.
    I told him why I didn't ask him about it & that my immediate supervisor was not at work that day.
    I also told him that in the past I have asked Temmeca for help & she has been willing to assist me .
    I told me that maybe I didn't think this was a serious matter when it happened, but Temecca did. He also told me that I am too "direct" when I talk to people & that the men I work with let it just roll off, but women are different & you can't talk to them like that.
    Temecca has told me in the past that me being direct is what she likes about me. "I am real with people & what you see is what you get." she said.
    (Mind you, i didn't say anything harsh, nor vulgar, & my tone was not aggressive.)
    He also told me that everyone finds me offensive. I asked who specifically & if it's such an issue why haven't I heard of this before?
    He said it wasn't an issue before, but now it is.
    And who specifically finds me offensive & why?
    He said he did because whenever he calls out to me in the shop by yelling "Nathan!" I respond by yelling back "Robert". He said it was disrepectful, & I should reply with Yes Robert, or what robert. Or can i help you Robert.
    But not just Robert.

    Anyway, back to the issue that I need help with.
    Is this Legally harassment?
    I could lose my job over this.

  • #2
    Neither you nor Temecca has a claim of harassment, legally, nor does she have a legal claim of a hostile work environment. However, if your employer finds your behavior objectionable you can be disciplined and/or fired whether it legally meets the definition of harassment or not.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Thank you CBG,
      But by what standard is something deemed " objectionable"?


      • #4
        That's up to the individual employer. Barring sexual harassment and illegal discrimination, there is no legally mandated standard of what is and is not objectionable.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.