Q: Legal questions in regards to harassment, intentional misdirections to get me fired, and financial hardships & more.
Hello. So I made a list to help sum things up to allow future questioning if possible. Besides that, these are the main issues I’m curious as to what options I have to take action in perhaps a lawsuit of some sort. Hope to hear back.
1). Harassment by employee and supervisor.
2). HR giving out personal info, causing more emotional hardships.
3). Misleading information about absences (after being told I can’t return to work without fit note for missing 3 days).
4). Increased depression and anxiety. Which eventually triggered an anxiety attack that lasted over an hour. (It was so bad I had to be taken to the hospital and administered Ativan through an IV to stop the symptoms).
5). Extreme emotional and financial hardships before and after termination.
A: You present many issues that need to be addressed. This question and answer site is not the place to address such diverse and complicated matters because for each issue far more would need to be known to give you competent answers. And this Q&A forum is not the place to ask an attorney to work for you. It is to get general knowledge about legal issues. You need specific, confidential advice.
Generally what can be said follows:
1. Harassment is only unlawful if you can establish it was motivated by your membership in a protected class people or because you engaged in some form of legally protected conduct. Therefore more would need to be known about the nature and severity of the harassment you experienced.
2. There is some information about employees that is legally protected, such as medical information or your social security number. There are many things that employees might think are personal that are not entitled to legal protection. As such, more would need to be known about what it is you believe to be the personal information that was given out.
3. An employer can act on any information to carry out discipline or govern its actions, even if you can prove it was false or misleading. More would need to be understood about what was said and by whom. As to seeking a note after three days absence, there is nothing unlawful about an employer practice of requiring a note seeking fitness for duty after an extended absence. Again, more would need to be understood about this.
4. Unfortunately, unless you can establish unlawful conduct by the employer leading to the depression and anxiety, your only recourse for this, if any, is through the workers compensation system. If you have not made a WC claim and you are no longer an employee, you may already be too late to make such a claim, so it would be critical to speak to a WC attorney right away to see if you still have rights.
5. Again, unless you can establish the emotional and financial hardships were caused by unlawful conduct by the employer, your options may be severely limited at this point.
There is no doubt far more to your story. You need to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law work offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
A: You can go to https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/, which is the website for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Browse the website and familiarize yourself with what it offers. You can click the link on the home page to start the complaint filing process, which is step one in protecting your rights. After doing that, find a lawyer who handles discrimination and harassment cases such as yours, and consult with her about what you can do. You should be able to find good attorneys through your local county's bar association referral service.
Prepare a chronology of events relating to what you experienced, starting at the beginning of the harassment and taking right up to the present. Name all the witnesses, by compiling a list of all their names, phone numbers and addresses. Make a record of all the financial hardships you suffered, then Keep and save all the documents, emails, text messages etc. which relate to your story, and be prepared to provide them to the DFEH and your own lawyer when the time comes. You should be able to go from there.
Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer
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