Q: Is it illegal for my manager to call me "guedo" at work because i'm the only one who doesn't speak spanish?
it's my 1st week on the job. I believe the term means whitey or white boy and is slang. I don't know what I should do the next time she does it. I find it inappropriate. Is that a law suit? Do I walk out when she does it because I feel uncomfortable? Should I go to a laywer first or HR?
A: I know the term "guido" is defined in an English dictionary as "a man, especially an Italian American, regarded as vain, aggressively masculine, and socially unsophisticated." I do not know what it may mean in other languages.
Calling you by a race or national origin nickname or slur can be unlawful race or national origin harassment if it is unwelcomed and is so severe or pervasive so as to fundamentally alter the workplace for you, rendering it hostile to you as a member of that race or national origin. I think your first move would be to go to HR and report this conduct. If you do not get relief, it would be wise for you 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 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: Actually you are probably called Guido, which used to be how whites called Italian Americans. Thus, it was a slur against Italian Americans in the past. Whatever the case with your current manager, it is probably a slur directed at you because you either belong to a certain class of people, or you don't belong.
Nevertheless, if you believe it is a racial slur directed to you, you can file a claim for unwanted harassment based on whatever your manager perceives you to be. You can file your claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Here's the link to their website https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ which you can copy and paste into a new browser tab or window. Then click the link for Employment Discrimination https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Employment/ where you can learn how to file a claim.
If you are still unsure what to do, find an attorney skilled at handling racial discrimination and harassment cases near you. In Orange County, you can go to the Orange County Bar Association's website and look for their lawyer's referral service (LRS). Or you can look up the California Employment Lawyer's Association (CELA), since they have a lot of lawyers who handle cases like yours might be.
A: You are definitely being harassed on the basis of your ethnicity. "Guido" is as much of a ethnic slur as "wetback", "kike" or "wop." It is a word used to degrade and demean someone on the basis of a protected classification- ethnicity (national origin) Like calling a disabled person a "cripple". I agree with my colleagues. The issue re: pervasiveness is the extent to which this is being done- once? three times over the course of a year? Once a month? every week? daily? At some point it becomes "pervasive" meaning that it so "permeates" the working relationship that you cannot go to work without fearing that your ethnicity will be ridiculed. The other factor that you need to consider is what other behavior is occurring that indicates an "animus" (dislike) toward you on the basis of your ethnicity. Are other Non-Italian workers being given better and more working shifts? preferential hours? preferential promotions? more money? When you couple the slur with the other things, you may even get to a point of "severe" harassment. As for what to do, Neil is in Westminster and I am in Costa Mesa, we both handle these kind of cases, you need to contact a local attorney of your choice for a full consultation about whether you are suffering from actionable harassment, and what to do about it.
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