Employees generally want a good working relationship with their boss or immediate supervisor. After all, such a relationship can be helpful for productivity, job satisfaction and opens up opportunities for advancement. What employee wouldn’t want that?

Unfortunately, this is not what many employees experience. For these workers, a tumultuous and adversarial relationship may dominate the working relationship between supervisor and subordinate. This may lead to continual disagreements, a substantial level of dissatisfaction in the workplace, and ultimately the loss of a job. 

Whether an employee is terminated or decides to leave their employer, a disgruntled employee may want to pursue a lawsuit against his or her former company because of harassment or discrimination. Essentially, they may believe that if a supervisor is rude, disrespectful or downright mean in every dealing with them.

Unfortunately, the law does not require supervisors to be warm, kind or understanding. With that, claims against an employer for not being nice may not be actionable under California law. However, if it can be shown that this type of angst is directed towards people of a protected class, or is based on a person’s feelings about such a class, this could lead to an employment discrimination suit.

It is difficult to know for certain when unflattering statements or harsh treatment crosses the line from hard-nosed management to illegal discrimination. This is especially the case when emotions run high and judgment could be clouded. In these instances, it is prudent to discuss your situation with an experienced employment law attorney.