Santa Rosa, CA asked in Employment Discrimination for California

Q: laws protect certain classes from workplace abuse, why not everyone?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Francis X. Pray
Francis X. Pray
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Workplace abuse is sadly common. As much as a society would like functional and civil work environments, not all bad behavior can be regulated by the courts. The state and federal legislatures have elected to focus their credibility and resources by enacting laws aimed at the most pernicious of bad conduct: discrimination and whistleblower retaliation. The persons protected by these laws are in "protected categories." For example, if you have a disability, or if you are over 40, or both over 40 and disabled, one or both of these factors may have been weighed by your employer in deciding to harass, demote or fire you. On the other hand, if your manager is a bully with psychological problems he acts out equally upon all his subordinates (while charming his own boss), there is no law against bullyism per se. You may think such a law is needed, but the legislatures and courts do not want to take on the role of workplace police for every lack of civil conduct. The reality is that dysfunctional businesses, like dysfunctional individuals, either contribute in positive or negative ways continuously to all around them. Eventually, the law of economics may weed out the bad performers.

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